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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Snake Plissken Chronicles: The Tunguska Touch The Snake Plissken Chronicles
"The Tunguska Touch"
Escape from New York #7 (BOOM Studios)
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Diego Barreto
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Mike Henderson
June 2015


Snake learns the truth about the battalion's mission at Trakhanov Gulag.


Story Summary


Major King gives the 81st Battalion a run-down of their mission to the Trakhanov Gulag, where they are to free mistreated American prisoners of war. But it turns out to be a lie; the site is actually a protected fort for the Soviet Union's top scientists and weapons designers. The American brass want to kidnap Anton Bulgarov for his secrets of a cold fusion weapon. This pisses Snake off. So he grabs Bulgarov himself and they escape the old Gulag in a Soviet war contraption which finally breaks down in the cold of the Tunguska region. They are found by a strange monk who takes them to the underground Church of Tunguska where a colony of monks worships the meteor that caused the Tunguska event of 1908.


The monks believe Snake and Bulgarov are there to help them bring about God's planned end of the world.




Notes from the Snake Plissken chronology


An unknown amount of time has passed since the end of the previous issue ("Snake on a Train"), but probably not more than a day.


Didja Know?


The issues of this series do not have published individual titles assigned to them. I assigned the title "The Tunguska Touch" based on dialog by the lead monk of the Church of Tunguska in this issue and his belief that God touched Tunguska during the explosive event of 1908.




Characters appearing in this issue


Major King

Snake Plissken


Anton Bulgarov


Monks of the Church of Tunguska


Didja Notice?


Page 5 reveals a Soviet walker war machine not too far removed from the Imperial walkers of the Star Wars films, though smaller.

Soviet walkers


On page 10, Snake refers to Bulgarov as "Ivan". "Ivan" is a name occasionally used as a generic for a male Russian by foreigners.


On page 11, Bulgarov tells Snake that he has perfected cold fusion. Cold fusion is the theorized ability to achieve a nuclear reaction at room temperatures instead of the millions of degrees needed for currently accepted fusion processes such as those in the sun. Cold fusion is generally considered a fringe science by mainstream scientists.


On page 16, Bulgarov tells Snake they are almost in Tunguska, where, 70 years ago, an explosion heard for hundreds of miles downed all the trees for miles around. He says the only ones who come out to this desolation are the aliens, to which Snake skeptically says, "Uh huh. Let me guess. They're shapeshifters, they can look like anyone." The "70 years ago" part of the story is referencing the real world Tunguska event of 1908 which occurred pretty much as Bulgarov says, an immense explosion believed to have been caused by the air burst of a small asteroid or comet in the atmosphere a few miles above the Tunguska region. The "shapeshifting aliens" remark by Snake is an in-joke to the 1982 John Carpenter film The Thing, also starring Kurt Russell, about an antarctic research base that uncovers an alien in the ice that is able to assume the form of any living thing it touches and proceeds to kill them all.


On page 21, the monk in the Church of Tunguska comments on the recent signs and portents from God, including parts of America breaking off and drifting into the ocean and the American leader being outcast. These are references to the severing of Florida from the mainland in "Don't Let a Snake into the House" and the impeachment of President Harker in "Freedom Isn't Free".


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