Jim Lawrence strengthens his position as the premier Bond scripter with these tales from 1971-1973. “Trouble Spot” is a traditional tale of espionage as 007 replaces a lost agent in an effort to recover a mysterious box and prevent its falling into the wrong hands of the gloriously baroque Baron Sharck. His heroic efforts are abetted and hindered by the beautiful if morally ambiguous Olga and the blind wife of the agent he’s impersonating.
“Isle of Condors” features a rare (it is 1972, remember) black lead heroine and a kidnapping leading Bond to a plot to turn nubile young beauties into programmed assassins.
The contemporary fascination with the occult becomes grist for the creators’ mill in “The League of Vampires”, when Bond investigates a fashionable cult that is the mask for a plot to destabilise the British computer defence industry.
The volume closes with the racy “Die With My Boots On”, as 007 yet again tangles with the American underworld in search of the secret of a new designer drug that no-one can afford to ignore or possess. As usual there are thrills and glamour in abundance in plot that still form the basis for all those modern summer blockbuster movies. Sexy women, evil men and organisations, relentless action and hairsbreadth escapes make these timeless thrillers an absolute necessity for any fan of the medium.
So what if it’s not hot off the presses or top of the Best-Seller List? Is it Good or even GREAT? If it hasn’t been finally collected or re-released go on the net or get to a comic shop or mart and find it any way you can.
Titan’s reprinting (issues #13-18 of the DC series from the 1990s) of the venerable TV phenomenon continues with Michael Jan Friedman scripting capable if uninspiring comics tales illustrated by veteran Pablo Marcos, and guest artists and writers Dave Stern, Mike O’Brien, Ken Penders, Mike Manley and Robert Campanella also contributing to the licensed fun.
Friedman’s adventures involve an elaborate plot by telepaths to use the crew to assassinate delegates at a peace conference, a plot by the Ferengi to illegally strip-mine a resort world, starring Riker and LaForge, and a stellar phenomenon that draws the Enterprise into a confrontation with the Romulans just as a plague of madness grips the crew. The fill-in is another “time-traveller back to fix the continuum” tale as Wesley Crusher’s attempts to improve the Transporter system go awry. Although not the best work these creators have produced, the stories are honest entertainment that should be a welcome treat for fans and are easily accessible to anyone who has seen the TV show.
Lenore is a sweet little girl who has cute, if somewhat surreal, little adventures. She is also dead and has been for quite some time. This second collection (issues #5-8 of her own comic) features more bleak, eccentric, and darkly comic strips, stuffed with her strange coterie of acquaintances plus some new – if perhaps not so fresh – friends.
Impossible to fairly describe but so absolutely necessary to read – I personally recommend that “5 Reasons Not to Blow on your Kitty’s Tummy” be adopted as the eleventh Commandment – and fiercely steeped in the traditions of Charles Addams, this book should appeal to the same skewed and twisted audiences that follow “Squee!” and “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac”, “Gloom Cookie”, or even Giffen and Roman’s “i Luv Halloween”, not to mention the films of Tim Burton. This is an unwholesome treat for kids of all ages with a taste for the darker flavours of life. Ever so much better for you than giving poisoned candy to kids who bang on your door.
Grendel and Mage creator Wagner returns to the Dark Knight to update one of the earliest adventures (from Batman #1 no less) as evil genius Hugo Strange uses the hyper-thyroidal failures of his genetic experimentation as a means of procuring funds for further research. Since he’s evil that means lots of robbery, mayhem and half-eaten citizenry and mobsters. Set during the early days of Batman’s career, we’re also introduced to his first long-time romantic interest, millionaire’s daughter Julie Madison, who will also feature strongly in Wagner’s proposed sequel, The Mad Monk.
Solid, stylish story-telling make this a real treat for old-timers and new fans alike, and the clean, captivating art and colour is irresistible.