Modesty Blaise: The Black Pearl

Peter O'Donnell, Author, Jim Holdaway, Author, Jim Holdaway, Illustrator . Titan $16.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-84023-842-6

In the 1960s, Modesty Blaise was a mod adventuress in the vein of James Bond and the Avengers who fought evil in the comics pages of British newspapers. This oversized volume collects strips from 1966 to 1968, consisting of four separate adventures. The first, "The Black Pearl," sends Modesty and her cockney sidekick, Willie, undercover into Tibet. "The Magnified Man" has them join with French intelligence to find a gold thief, and "The Jericho Caper" pits Blaise against an entire nation of outlaws in Central America. The volume closes with a retelling of "The Most Dangerous Game" entitled "The Killing Ground." The combination of exotic locales, sexy adventurers, Eastern mysticism and high-tech weaponry are hallmarks of the '60s. Holdaway's excellent art also reflects the decade, combining bold black silhouettes with linework that's both elegant and dynamic. His style anticipates '60s comics icon Jim Steranko's art. O'Donnell's fast-moving stories are highly entertaining bits of fluff. The strangest thing about this time capsule is how perfectly it embodies the "mod spy" genre of that era while barely reflecting the real turmoil in the world then (though this isn't a defect—just a bit of irony). This volume also features an interview with O'Donnell and an essay on his parallel career as a romance novelist. (Mar. )

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
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