James Bond is assigned to neutralise a Russian operative,
Le Chiffre, by ruining him at the baccarat table and forcing
have previously criticised Titan for the apparently random
order of these classic reprints of the James Bond newspaper
strip. This, the fifth such volume, takes us right back to
the beginning, with the adaptations of Ian Fleming's first
three novels, Casino Royale, Live and Let Die
and Moonraker. But could there be some method in the
apparent madness of Titan's release schedule? This collection
is in fact quite well timed, coming hot on the heels of the
announcement that the next Bond film will be called... Casino
Royale. Did Titan know something we didn't?
you might expect, the art is less refined than that of later
strips. John McLusky's work in Casino Royale is more
Jane than James Bond. Anthony Hern, in his only
script for the series, tones down Fleming's infamous carpet-beater
torture sequence, which is understandable considering the
medium in question.
may notice a possible inspiration for the character of Miranda
Frost from Die Another Day, in the shape of the original
Bond girl, Vesper Lynd.
007 investigates a gangster, Mr Big, who is believed to
be using a pirate's treasure to finance a Russian spy ring
in the USA...
Henry Gammidge takes over the writing chores for the subsequent
stories, and adopts the unusual device of having Bond narrate
the strips in the first person. For the most part, this works
quite well, but the present tense of thought bubbles might
have been preferable during some of the action sequences in
Live and Let Die.
fans will know that Fleming's original plot had little bearing
on that of the 1973 movie starring Roger Moore (who writes
the introduction to this volume), apart from the location
and certain character names. However, Mr Big's trick table
remains intact in both strip and movie, while the later films
For Your Eyes Only and Licence to Kill respectively
lifted the keelhauling sequence and the shark attack on Felix
Leiter (complete with Bond's subsequent investigation of an
Bond looks into a murder case near Dover, where multi-millionaire
Hugo Drax is building the most powerful rocket in the world...
Live and Let Die, the prose and strip versions of Moonraker
have little in common with the Roger Moore film of the same
name. However, Drax's thinly veiled threat, "Spend the money
quickly," eventually made it into the movie Octopussy,
when it was spoken by Kamal Kahn. In fact, this version of
Drax proved more of an inspiration to the makers of GoldenEye
(in which a scarred villain plots revenge against Britain
for that country's actions during World War II) and Die
Another Day (in which a man from a rival nation disguises
himself as an Englishman and constructs an apparently benign
Gammidge continues to use the device of Bond narrating the
strip. In fact, in some frames, Bond actually addresses the
reader out of the panel.
character of Gala Brand comes across very strongly in this
strip, especially in comparison to the rather feeble Vesper
in Casino Royale. Gala proves to be a competent Special
Branch officer, carrying out much of the investigation herself,
and she manages to endure as much hardship as Bond, including
being burned by a blowlamp and by steam in a ventilator shaft.
007's respect for her is evident in his narration panels.
All in all, this collection is a fascinating look back in
time, showing the early development of the comic strip series.
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