Monday, January 6, 2014

Remembering James Bond. James Bond Omnibus Volume 5.

James Bond Omnibus Volume 5. *** 1/2 /*****

There's no question that the 9 strips written in the mid 70's that make up Volume 5 are not the high point of the James Bond comic strip. Bond battles a giant ape, coincidentally in a strip that came out in 1976 the same year as the big budget King Kong remake, mechanical birds and sea dragons. The shortest strip in the entire series,  The Wizard Awakes makes no sense and some of the characters seem to completely change appearance. Also in the strip "Hot Spot" Bond saves the life of the US Secretary of State. Though unnamed it doesn't take a genius to figure out from the SOS's appearance it's Henry Kissenger. Coincidentally James Bond is such a "secret" agent that when ol' Henry is told his plane is safe to take off he surmises it was Bond who stopped the plan to blow the plane up.

However it must be said Volume 5 closes on a high note. The last 3 strips The aforementioned Sea Dragon, Death Wing and The Xandu Connection are all strong strips. The Xandu Connection in particular is a favorite of mine amongst the later strips. The 70's saw the growth of feminism and it's handled here in a way you'd expect a James Bond comic strip written and drawn by 2 men to be handled. In Sea Dragon a militant feminist group, really an all female criminal group using feminism as a guise, creates a giant sea dragon to try and kill all of the partners of an Oil consortium so they can take it over. It's actually a decent comic strip and like all of the strips contained here, and from here on out, and really since the strips contained early in volume 3 uses the "feminist" group as just a reason to draw lots of bare breasted "birds". In fact it must be said the plots of the Bond comic strips in the Express from 1970 until they ended in 1983 seem to revolve around ways to show naked breasts. Again it shows the difference in culture between America and Europe. Honestly I am not exactly sure how the drawings of topless women could traumatize our youth. Just as these stories make it plain that just coming up with reasons to draw topless women in and of itself won't make for a great story.

James Bond Omnibus Volume 5 *** 1/2 out of ***** There is one more Omnibus left Volume 6 do out later this year.

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