Review: The James Bond Omnibus, Volume 004

Since his creation in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, James Bond has become an international pop culture icon. Over the course of his 59-year career as a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Agent 007 has appeared in books, films, television, video games, and even comic strips.

Titan Books, our friend who brought us The Complete Flash Gordon Library, has been compiling the newspaper adventures of James Bond in The James Bond Omnibus, a multi-volume series featuring the black-and-white comic strips that appeared in British newspapers from 1957 to 1983. Their latest volume collects 9 stories written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak, originally published in the Daily Express from December 1971 to July 1975.

Even in the panels of newspaper comic strips, the action, intrigue, and sex that makes the Bond name what it is comes alive. Jim Lawrence creates original tales that fall right in line with the original writings of Ian Fleming. While not the classic missions like “Dr. No” or “Live and Let Die”, which later found prominence as Bond films as well, stories like “Trouble Spot” and “The Nevsky Nude” could very well have been part of the literary or film series….and the gadgets, guns, and girls help too.

Yaroslav Horak’s artwork, while limited to black-and-white, is sharp and dynamic, featuring a chiseled, rugged look for Agent 007, creating a unique look for the character, yet managing to blend a Lazenby/Moore hybrid at times. Appropriately odd-looking villains are accompanied by equally lovely ladies, adding “color” to an otherwise monochromatic medium. Speeding cars, crashing planes, and judo flips keep the action rolling as your attention seamlessly moves from panel to panel and strip to strip.

Lawrence and Horak make a fine team as they bring Bond to this format, following closely on the heels of Ian Fleming and comic artist John McLusky. Any hardcore 007 fan should have this and the companion volumes on their shelf alongside Fleming’s novels and the James Bond films.

The James Bond Omnibus, Volume 004 includes Trouble Spot, Isle of Condors, The League of Vampires, Die With My Boots On, The Girl Machine, Beware of Butterflies, The Nevsky Nude, The Phoenix Project, and The Black Ruby Caper. Volume 004 is available now, and be sure to check out Volumes 001, 002, and 003 from Titan Books.

Written by: Rob "T3K" Piontek

Rob is excited to be contributing to The Fridge. With one finger on the pulse of Marvel/DC and another on that of Hollywood’s superhero franchises, no multi-issue arc or casting rumor is too small to report. When Rob opens The Fridge, the light inside shines green!

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