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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

James Bond 007
The Paradise Plot


Author: Jim Lawrence
Artist: John McLusky
Titan Books
RRP: £11.99, US $19.95, Cdn $22.95
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 716 7
ISBN-10: 1 84576 716 0
Available 27 June 2008

James Bond infiltrates a cult whose power and influence appear to hold sway even over the dead! With the world’s most valued scientists and wealthy industrialists also disappearing, can Bond and fellow secret agent Suzi Kew bring an end to a megalomaniac’s deranged vision of a new world order...?

This collection contains the tales The Paradise Plot and Deathmask, neither of which have been seen since their original publication in the Daily Star during 1981-3. At this point in the strip’s run, artist John McLusky returned, following an absence of 15 years, and his artwork has improved considerably in the interim. Possibly inspired by his fellow artist Yaroslav Horak, his lines show a greater level of detail and the facial features of many of his characters are more angular than before.

Another characteristic of the strips during this time is a concerted attempt to tie in with the contemporary Bond novels written by John Gardner. Accordingly, both strips feature Q’ute, the female member of Q Branch created by Gardner.

The strips still seek to appeal to movie audiences, too, and so The Paradise Plot features hi-tech devices such as a backpack copter, a rocket belt, a lily that sprays an anaesthetic gas, electrodes in the brains of victims of mind control, an atomic-powered dirigible (though this was a few years before A View to a Kill) and a souped-up cattle-prod. One can also detect the influence of the Roger Moore films in lines of dialogue such as: “Talk about heavenly figures!” and: “Can you blame me for wanting a closer look at your angelic details?”

Rather less successful is the cringe-worthy line: “If you dig Greek myths.”



Bond and Suzi Kew investigate an infection that causes victims’ heads to swell into hideous deathmasks! The trail leads to Crete, where mythology and madness prevail in the discovery of a real-life Minotaur. When a more deadly threat emerges, will Bond be able to stop the ticking of a doomsday clock...?

There’s more Greek mythology in Deathmask, which features a giant robot Minotaur guarding an underwater base. This sounds far-fetched, but (as I said in my review of Death Wing) it’s really just a development of the “dragon” seen in Dr No. Rather more far-fetched is a computer-controlled aeroplane protected by a lethal robot guard.

The strip continues to pre-empt the Bond films, as 007 makes a bad joke about something sounding like “bull” (just as he does at the start of Octopussy)!

Meanwhile, McLusky’s artwork continues to improve, though you can tell that he used the movie poster from For Your Eyes Only as reference material for one of his depictions of Bond. Elsewhere, he seems to forget what colour hair the character of Zoe Livyenko should have, as she changes from being a brunette to a blonde and back again.

However, the most memorable aspect of this strip is its fascinating villain, Ivor Nyborg, a classic Fleming-style disfigured baddie. He suffers from acromegaly, a hormonal condition that can cause the enlargement of bones and tissues in the hands, feet and face - and he wants others to look like him.



The book also contains an introduction by David Hedison, alias Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill (not one of the Bond girls, as stated on some online stores!) and a feature about rare and unusual Bond comics from non-English-speaking countries.

If you’re a fan of vintage comics and/or the adventures of James Bond, you may find yourself in paradise with this collection.

Richard McGinlay

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