James Bond assumes the identity of a diamond smuggler in order
to investigate and close down a pipeline operated by the deadly
not sure why this book isn't called Diamonds Are Forever,
because this story appears first and runs for longer than
the other two in this volume, From Russia With Love
and Dr No. Presumably Dr No was chosen as the
main title because of the greater popularity of both the novel
and film of the same name.
- or perhaps because of - its longer duration, Diamonds
is a rather plotless affair. The train track sequence feels
as though it is the final act, and then so does the subsequent
Queen Elizabeth bit, but neither of them are. Maybe I'm
just allowing my knowledge of the movie
plot to influence me.
As this faithful adaptation shows, the film retained only
small elements of Fleming's original novel, such as the dentist's
scene, Tiffany's underwear-clad introduction, the mud baths,
and the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth sequence. All
three stories in this collection would later became movies
starring Sean Connery, though in the case of the other two
there are few major differences between novel/strip and film.
The Russian secret service SMERSH sets a trap for Bond,
using as bait a cipher machine and a beautiful woman, who
claims to be in love with him...
Russia With Love marks writer Henry Gammidge's final use
of first-person narration by Bond. This is a good thing, because
the agent often conveys information and viewpoints that he
couldn't possibly be privy to.
artist John McLusky betrays a few limitations of his own in
terms of visualising characters. His Kerim Bey looks not unlike
Colombo in the subsequent Risico, while his Rosa Klebb
resembles Irma Bunt in On
Her Majesty's Secret Service. However, his
Donovan Grant shows how perfectly cast Robert Shaw was in
are a fair few goofs in this adaptation. In panel 513 Kerim
recalls Tatiana's whitened knuckles, even though she was wearing
gloves at the time. In panel 551, one of Bond's speech balloons
points to Tatiana. And Gammidge seems unsure whether the villain
is called Rosa Klebb or Rosa Krebs.
of you who noticed that Titan's recent presentation of Goldfinger
was missing a couple of opening panels will be pleased to
see that panel 489, which follows up on events in Diamonds
Are Forever and was omitted from some syndicated versions
of this strip, is present and correct here.
of Fleming's characterisation and background information has
been ditched in this abridged adaptation. However, the charm
of Kerim Bey shines through, and all in all this is a very
When two agents disappear in Jamaica, Bond is sent to investigate,
and faces everything from poisoned nectarines to killer centipedes...
The very straightforward plot of Dr No lends itself
well to the comic strip medium. Not surprisingly, though,
Honeychile Rider is not naked, as she so memorably was in
Fleming's original book, when Bond first beholds her.
age and rarity of these strips show in the quality of their
reproduction, particularly during Dr No. As well as
the loss of clarity to McLusky's artwork, some text panels
are so faded that they are difficult to read. I guess that
can't be helped when Titan is forced to rely on scanning from
old newspapers or even duplicates of old newspapers. However,
some of the unsightly ink blobs that appear could have been
cleaned up quite easily using Photoshop.
This volume also includes the final part of Paul Simpson's
Bond in Books article, which races through all the
Gardner and Benson novels in just one instalment. More time
could have been spent on these authors over forthcoming volumes.
In addition, there is a guide to the different 00 agents and
regional stations that have been mentioned over the years.
Unfortunately, a couple of stations (S in Rio De Janeiro and
A in Australia) are missing from the accompanying map. There's
also an analysis of how Bond has developed in different and
often divergent ways across the various media he has appeared
though these adaptations are, I must confess that I am most
eagerly awaiting the wholly original strips, the first of
which, The Harpies, can be seen in the next volume,
The Spy Who Loved Me...
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