When a Canadian test pilot is blackmailed by a revitalised
SPECTRE, Bond is called in - but a treacherous girlfriend
is preparing to put him in the line of fire. As if that weren't
enough, 007 becomes embroiled in an insurance scam that quickly
becomes a lethal game of cat and mouse...
yes, this is what I have been waiting for from this series:
more of the stylish art of Yaroslav Horak and the original
storytelling of Jim Lawrence.
still based on an Ian Fleming novel, half of the comic-strip
version of The Spy Who Loved Me is Lawrence's own invention.
The first part of the strip deals with Bond's assignment against
SPECTRE in Toronto, though it is not the very same mission
that is described in the book. By this point in the strip's
run, SPECTRE had apparently disbanded, following the demise
of Blofeld in You
Only Live Twice, so the writer introduces a
revived SPECTRE, now led by a mysterious masked figure known
as Madame Spectra. Her organisation would go on to plague
Bond in several subsequent strips.
second half of the story is based on the latter two-thirds
of Fleming's novel, the "Them" and "Him" sections, in which
the heroine Vivienne Michel is held captive by a pair of hoodlums
and is then rescued by Bond. The opening "Me" section of the
book, which dealt with Vivienne's early life, is glossed over
in just a couple of lines of dialogue.
this is two stories in one, with the two halves rather crudely
glued together in the middle. They would have worked better
as a couple of linked stories: the first half could have been
entitled Ghosthawk, after the warplane flown by test
pilot Mike Farrar. On the other hand, if you wish to make
your own "ultimate edition" of The Spy Who Loved Me,
you could alternately read bits of the Canadian section of
the strip and the "Me" section of the novel, a process that
would, incidentally, add more narrative unity to the whole
The strip version of the story actually works better than
the novel in terms of Bond chronology. Fleming effectively
wrote the book out of his continuity, by subsequently claiming,
in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, that SPECTRE had
not been heard from since the events of Thunderball.
He also forbade the publication of a paperback edition or
a strip adaptation, neither of which would appear until after
his death. However, if you prefer to place the novel in its
original position between Thunderball and OHMSS,
and would like to regard the Mike Farrar bits as a separate
entity, then click here.
its basic structural flaw, this is a very strong strip, in
more ways than one. The series has clearly moved on since
the early days of Casino
Royale, in which Bond's torture and use of
the word "bitch" were omitted. The Spy Who Loved Me
has a distinctly harder edge, with Bond evidently using the
word "bitch", even though it is presented in the censored
form "b----", and some tasteful nudity as Vivienne Michel
takes no fewer than three showers during the course of the
A leading scientist, Dr John Phineus, has invented the
Q-Ray, a potentially deadly weapon that he is considering
handing over to the British Government. However, before he
can do so, he is kidnapped by the Harpies, an all-female criminal
gang who use hang-gliders and rocket packs...
first wholly original Bond strip, The Harpies, is slightly
marred by the unlikely nature of the some of its characters'
names. The Harpies are named after creatures in Virgil's Aeneid.
They were led by someone whose name means "black" and their
main victim was the blind king, Phineus. I suppose it's possible
that the villain, Simon Nero (which, in Italian, means "black")
was so obsessed with his scientific rival Phineus that he
named his gang after Virgil's creations, but it is still rather
also have my reservations about the strip's title, which isn't
very "Bondian". Deadlier than the Male (a comment made
by Bond in panel 849) might have been more suitable.
all other respects, though, Lawrence is a worthy successor
to Fleming. He puts Fleming's characters, including Bill Tanner
and Miss Moneypenny, to good use, and also includes the Park,
the "nursing home" where Bond recovered following his brainwashing
Man with the Golden Gun. Moneypenny comes across
particularly well, proving herself to be as competent in the
field as she is behind a desk.
plot, with its rocket packs and death rays, is more fantastical
than your average Fleming novel. However, though evidently
prompted by the success of the Bond movies, Lawrence does
not stretch to such wild flights of fancy as the spaceship,
gyrocopter and volcano base depicted in the then recent movie
Only Live Twice.
with The Spy Who Loved Me, there is a hard edge to
this tale, which features some particularly gritty fight scenes,
not to mention an outdoor striptease.
This volume also includes an introduction by Caroline Munro,
who played Naomi in the cinematic The
Spy Who Loved Me, and features examining the
post-Fleming comics and the various versions of Spy
that have appeared over the years.
could harp on for longer, but suffice to say, I loved this
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