I'd hoped to stage an elaborate one-off caper of a paragraph to open this post, packed with daring and adventure. A rhetorical montage of spinning roulette wheels, hungry kimodo dragons, windshields of exotic sports cars sheared off by steel girders dangling from cranes on a construction site, some parkour through a crumbling Incan temple, maybe a quick flash of thigh, culminating in a crisply written swan dive off a frozen dam, where I'd bring the sentence to a close by shrinking the intensity smaller and smaller until, POP, my parachute opened, revealing a sans serif "PART II" printed on the top. Cue Shirley Bassey and some abstract kaleidoscope imagery of pistols and décolletage.
There's a lot to cover, so I had to shrink the iris a bit. I'm sure you understand.
First up, 1975's "Till Death Do Us Part," written by Jim Lawrence, with art by Yaroslav Horak.
Fun Fact: Thanks to his credit of "Drawing by Horak" at the beginning of each strip, I've been unable to shake the notion of Mr. Horak as an artistically gifted variation on Game of Thrones' simpleton man-mountain "Hodor," who's sort of a giantic Pokemon, capable only of saying his own name over and over as a substitute for all other words. I don't know enough about either Horak or Hodor to say definitively if either also possess lightning powers similiar to a Pokemon, but odds are, at least one of them does-- or could, if he believed in himself.
"Horak," says Horak, handing in another batch of inked dailies.
"Splendid, Horak! The interplay of light and shadow is really evocative. Such expert cross-hatching!" says his editor.
"Horak," Horak says, blushing. He looks bashfully at the floor, kneading his newsboy cap in his enormous hands out of embarrassed distraction.
Anyway, there isn't much I can share from this particular arc, due to the fact that the main non-Bond character in the strip shows up wearing see-through lingerie on day 2, and then is promptly kidnapped by Bond, who utterly refuses to allow her to cover her exposed breasts for all but the final three or four strips of the story, long after any mystery is dispensed with. If it sounds like I'm kidding, I'm not: the only way she could've been more naked is if at some point she removed the top few layers of her skin.
In lieu of a plot summary, please enjoy these highlights from the story's conclusion, where Bond hits a man with a ski, then hits another man with a log, and follows up by hitting the same man with a heavy wooden table. It's okay: they were KGB!
Next up, 1971's "Starfire," written and illustrated by the same team. It's actually a really terrible story, so you're not missing much in this abbreviated format. It does, however, boast the single most promising setup I've yet seen in any of the Bond comics.
As always, click on any of these to see them in a much larger format:
That's right: a public horsewhipping, or "bulldog justice" as they called it in the grimy pre-Thatcher days. Of course, Lord Astro's hardly a benevolent guru, and immediately calls a press conference to announce his intentions to smite his enemies with space lightning.
Threats leveled, Lord Astro's words prove to be prophetic: a bunch of saps soon each find themselves bathed in holy light, which comes to them while they are out on the town, at their homes or in their cars.
Cruelly, Lord Astro's "God" visits the condemned in the form of a mysterious floating, glowing sphere, stoking the chosen ones' respective wonder and innocence before exploding in a ghastly fireball almost immediately. Bodies pile up, a sinister scheme reveals itself, and Bond decides that deliverance must come in the form of horrendously poor tactical positions:
Leaping into action, Bond immediately puts his gun away and dispatches the criminal ethnic stereotypes with his handsome fists, then turns to the last of them, spared until now so Bond might savor the moment when he finally achieves the dream that inspired him to join M.I.6 in the first place: gassing a mime.
It turned out that instead of summoning ancient wrathful spirits from behind the sun, Lord Astro had just rigged up incandescent gas-filled balloons attached to small model airplanes, which he flew via remote control into the dumb faces of his dumb adversaries. I think Lord Astro gets shot at the end, and Bond has greedy sex with the coroner because she's the only woman in reach. Maybe not; I sort of lost interest by that point.
That'll have to be it for this week. I'd hoped to include selections from the far more satisfying tale "Isle of Condors," but it has a lot more going on, and is extra-super-crazy, so I'd hate to rush it. Same time next week? Sure. This is pretty much my only creative outlet.
Oh, jeez, I almost forgot to end this week's entry with a witty pun! Uh, well… "I guess we all have a Part Two play." [Hero's eyes twinkle for a moment before Shirley Bassey's hand and forearm reach into the shot, grasp hero's necktie, and pull him out of frame]