Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remembering James Bond. James Bond Omnibus Vol 4.

You can read my reviews for Volumes 1 2 and 3 by clicking on the prospective numbers

Two things struck me right away about the 4th volume of James Bond newspaper comic strips. 1. That it came out relatively quickly after volume 3. And 2. The model to me really looks like Ilia Calderon. This is not BTW a bad thing at all. Oddly enough you can make out her face much easier on the picture than you can when actually holding the book.

The 9 strips covered here originally were published in the Daily Express between 1971-1975. One thing about these strips that jumps out at your typical heterosexual reader is the amount of nudity they contain. The nudity is prevalent in all 9 strip. In fact it's quite amusing the way writer Jim Lawrence would plot these stories so it would be necessary to see some cleavage albeit of course penciled cartooned cleavage.

Unlike the other 3 volumes there is not one great strip here and although that may seem to be a negative statement it actually helps the overall feel of the book. Compare this to volume 3 for instance where the  Colonel Sun lay in the same volume with the Fear Face. The Brilliance of the first strip really brought out the substandardness is that a word? of Fear Face. Here in volume 4 every story is pretty much on the same level good but not great and that pretty much sums up the book as a whole. So quickly lets run through the strips:

Trouble Spot 1971: If you can get through the impossibility of a woman, even a blind woman, mistaking Bond for her husband and the shear luck of finding her through her only mark of identification he has to go on, a birth mark on her ass, in a nudist camp then this is really a solid strip. It's about on par with Star Fire and better than the 2 strips that came before that. ****/*****

Isle Of Condors 1972: It starts with a naked woman on horseback and then proceeds to a remote island where beautiful women are taught to be spies. All this and killer birds! *** 1/2 / *****

The League Of Vampires 1972: Women are being killed by a vampire cult which is all a ruse of a madman who wants to destroy his Father in law and then kill his wife. The ending as satisfactory violence oh and once again there's the nudity thing. *** 1/2 / *****

Die With My Boots On 1973: There has been a drug invented that makes one impervious to pain or as Bond say "grooves you out on cosmic highs" Ah the 70's. The mafia wants to get the stuff so they can set the price. This is a fairy lame strip and the title really doesn't fit at all what the story is about. *** / *****

The Girl Machine 1973: There has been a government overthrow in a Mideastern country and to make sure they please the new ruler of the country they offer him a present. A machine that plays porno movies, serves drinks, and shoots off perfume.   The new leader takes the machine but blows off the British's request for oil. Bond who was hiding in the machine escapes and helps put the old ruler, the new rulers nephew back in power. Yeah it's silly and not politcally correct in the slightest but it's a fun strip and one of the better strips in the book **** / *****

Beware Of Butterflies 1973: There's a new Attila who kidnaps Bond and brain washed him to kidnap Mehmet Istvan ( good name) a scientist  Bond's brainwashing never really takes affect and he spends the story half in and out of a daze. Bond kidnaps Istvan's female assistant which helps him get close to the Attila and provides him with a woman to sleep with at the end of the strip. (until the end they of course hate each other) Complex and fun. **** / *****

The Nevsky Nude 1974: A nude woman parachuting from the sky the return of King Arthur...and once again some hippies! hippies make everything better. Pretty silly strip *** / *****

The Phoenix Project 1974: Margo Arden a secretary is having horrible nightmares about a man dying my fire. It's part of a brain washing to destroy the scientist who has created the Phoenix suit which can with stand anything. The scientist who created the suit demonstrates the suit by wearing it himself and burns to death thanks to Margo Arden adding an unauthorized name to the list of journalist who were allowed to see the demonstration. Bond has to investigate. Straight forward strip and by now the plot lines start to run together. *** 1/2 / *****

The Black Ruby Caper 1975: Black nationalist! actually they're not the bad guys here. They're being used by Herr Rubin or Mr. Ruby. Bond is a dickhead in this story as he treats Mr. Ruby's girlfriend like awful. If this were a movie it would definitely be a Dalton film. Mr. Ruby is planning on putting a bomb in a sculpture that sculptor Roscoe Carver is making to give as a gift to the head of an African Country. For the second time in the comic strips the "Bond Woman"  is an African American. *** 1/2 / *****

Overall it can be said that Volume 4 contains neither a great nor a horrible strip in the 9 presented.
Trouble Spot and Girl Machine are probably the two best despite moments of silliness and a lack of plausibility in both (these are James Bond comic strips after all it's not like they're known for these things) and Die With My Boots on and Nevsky Nude are the two worst. Volume 4 pretty much stays on the same level though out good but not great. On the whole would I'd recommend it to Bond fan? Yeah it's a pretty good value for around the $15.the book cost. Not as good as Volume 2, not the highs and lows of volume 3. *** 3/4 / *****

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