When Bond is assigned to locate a mysterious and valuable
box that belonged to a dead man, Mike Channing, he soon finds
himself caught in a deadly race against the nefarious Baron
Sharck. Can 007 trust the dead man's girlfriend, the savvy
blonde Gretta, and persuade Channing's previously blinded
wife that he is her husband...?
The graphic novel collects the original newspaper strips Trouble
Spot, Isle of Condors, The League of Vampires
and Die With My Boots On. Once again, Titan has not
chosen the most Bondian-sounding title as the name for the
collection. I think the title Die With My Boots On
is much more Fleming-style. It's not as if the company has
to select the title of the first strip in the collection.
It didn't with Dr
No or Colonel
Trouble Spot is, in fact, a tenuous title at best,
presumably referring to the birthmark by which Bond has to
identify Mike Channing's widow, Folly. How convenient that
she is staying at a nudist resort at the time.
unlikely plot contrivance is the fact that Bond is able to
pose as the recently blind (but now sighted) woman's husband
without her noticing. Even assuming that his imitation of
Channing's voice is perfect, wouldn't Folly know Mike's physical
likeness intimately by touch? Perhaps, having been only temporarily
blinded, Folly's other senses are not as well honed as those
of a long-term permanently blind person would be.
chapter opener information, written by James Wheatley, Matthias
Garretway and James Page is incorrect in its statement that
M does not appear in this story. In fact, he briefly appears
on the final page. This error seems to have been transcribed
from Andy Lane and Paul Simpson's reference guide The
If you can turn a blind eye (excuse the pun) to these shortcomings,
this is a very enjoyable strip. Writer Jim Lawrence throws
us straight into the gritty action and intrigue, with Bond
meeting a mysterious visitor and being held at gunpoint even
before the end of the first page. From then on, the excitement
rarely lets up. Watch out for a movie-style quip from Bond
following a car chase. A blinder.
there's a thought: maybe Blind Spot would have
been a more suitable title.
While driving through Italy, Bond almost literally runs into
a naked female horse rider escaping from her captors. He realises
that this "Lady Godiva" may be connected with the recent disappearance
of another woman, Ghislaine Perault, and his investigations
lead him to a training camp on Isola dei Condori - the Isle
the beginning of Isle of Condors, Bond seems rather
dim when he is confronted by the naked escapee of an apparent
abduction. Rather than drive her to safety, he instead returns
her to the scene of the alleged crime, where he is served
drugged wine. However, it soon becomes clear that this is
all a cunning plan (well, apart from the getting drugged bit,
presumably) as part of an ongoing investigation.
It is interesting to observe how these strips move with the
times in which they were produced (1972). In common with the
and Let Die, which would be released in cinemas
the following year, this story features the medium's first
instance of a black love interest for Bond. Crystal Kelly
closely resembles Rosie Carver from Live and Let Die,
though in fact she gets an even stronger role than Rosie.
of Condors also covers some territory previously explored
Her Majesty's Secret Service (the hypnotic
indoctrination of a group of young women), but otherwise this
is a great story. It's certainly not "strictly for the birds"
- as Bond declares in another of his trademark quips about
his enemies' downfall.
A vampire cult is spreading across Europe, attracting young
people with its wild parties. On Corsica, 007 battles against
one of the cultists - whose bite can initiate or kill - before
he is summoned back to England, where the wife of shipping
magnate Xerxes Xenophanos appears to have been bitten on the
The similarities to Live and Let Die continue in
The League of Vampires, which involves a seemingly
supernatural cult being used for nefarious ends. Though the
title and synopsis may sound far-fetched, in fact there's
a rational explanation for the "vampires", who wear false
fangs containing hypodermic needles that can deliver hypnotic
or fatal doses of drugs.
Following on from the presence of Crystal Kelly in Isle
of Condors, a further sign of the times is the increasingly
explicit nudity of these strips (never was that word been
more appropriate). The women in these stories seem to have
almost as much trouble keeping their clothes on as the Daily
Mirror's Jane or The Sun's Axa. The
League of Vampires also features disrobing at a vampire
cult ceremony. However, artist Yaroslav Horak keeps the nakedness
reasonably tasteful, in the proper Bond style, by always concealing
the naughty bits (just about) with shadows, foliage and other
objects. Even Bond does his share of stripping, getting his
kit off at the ceremony in this story and at the nudist resort
in Trouble Spot.
A new painkilling chemical, Nopane, is being exploited as
a recreational drug, and various arms of the American Mafia
are fighting between themselves to obtain its secrets. Bond
is sent to New York to rescue Posy Gee, the niece of the scientist
who developed the drug, from Mafia boss Benny "the Barber"
Die With My Boots On, 007 also works with the blonde
girlfriend of a missing man, just as he did in Trouble
Spot. In common with Gretta in that previous strip,
Voyle's loyalties are open to question.
tale opens in spectacular style, with Bond smashing though
a high-rise window on a steel girder - a scene that would
not disgrace the pre-credits sequence of a movie.
that, though, the story becomes rather less involving. This
unusually short strip feels rather rushed, with little room
for character development, and some of 007's dialogue is conspicuously
bad. He sounds like some kind of hippie or jive talker as
he utters phrases such as "You dig this sort of thing, don't
you?" and "It can groove you out of this world on absolutely
is certainly not a cosmic high upon which to end an otherwise
splendid collection - which also contains the first instalment
of a feature about the Bond girls, comparing and contrasting
their various depictions in the books, strips and movies.