cover image James Bond 007: The Phoenix Project

James Bond 007: The Phoenix Project

Ian Fleming, Jim Lawrence, . . Titan, $19.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-1-84576-312-1

As the '60s gave way to the '70s, 007 had more difficulty reflecting changes in tastes in the adventure genre than he ever faced from the likes of Goldfinger or Dr. No. This latest collection of the British newspaper strip gives readers a Bond more in tune with the then-contemporary film interpretation rather than adaptations of Fleming's Cold War works, and having exhausted the source material. This volume features tales penned by Lawrence. Eschewing the straight espionage found in Fleming, Lawrence goes for the quick fix found in sci-fi gadgetry prevalent in the films of the '70s era, along with the requisite beautiful damsels in various states of distress and undress. The featured women in these stories are topless for much of the action, a novelty that swiftly wears thin, much to the detriment of the narratives. Globe-spanning locales, fiendish schemes of criminal masterminds and everything else that became rote about the franchise is on hand, and that familiarity creates a sense of apathy bolstered by Horak's crisply well-drawn yet lifeless illustrations. (May)