Children of Lucifer: Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Enric Badia Romero
|Children of Lucifer: Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Enric Badia Romero|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Here's proof that ninety stories of any character are hard to sustain, but also much to indicate why our heroine was for so long appreciated.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 104||Date: March 2017|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Out of ninety-five diverse comic strip stories, the publication of this book leaves just the last three yet to be presented in these fabulous large format paperbacks. So if you haven’t yet met with the sassy brunette with her curves and her great crime-solving mind, and of course with her Willie, this is the last-but-one chance for you to do so. And if you have any interest in quick little action tales, or even dated kitsch, for both apply here, then you should eagerly be on board…
But that's not to say that by story number 90 the creative team were still firing on all cylinders. It, 'The Hanging Judge', takes far too long over showing Modesty and her Willie in action making some trashy B-movies where their singular talents fighting and knife-throwing are to the fore, partly because when it all comes down to it the actual story, of a revenge-minded criminal and kidnap, is very slight. The strip format has always been touching on the disposable, for one strip in six was designed to be ignorable, for those publications who only carried the stories Mon-Fri and not six days a week, but here whole weeks can almost be dropped.
Much tighter is the title story, where skiing and fighting guys while riding floating logs down a river are added to the skill set of our heroes. There's more depth to the drama, and scenery that hasn't been used time and time again in these stories – that beauty chained up in a cellar in the first tale looked most familiar. There's also some unusual sexual freedom, which shows if anything the 60s feel these works still had at the turn of the Millennium. The introduction, here by Stef Penney, attests to the character's ability to make women feel they can do anything, but be so easy with the men who love them is probably not what she had in mind.
The final story, oddly, combines both those things – implausible skill sets, and sex, in a dark tale set in Asia. It belabours the relationship between Modesty and her Willie, where they never allow themselves to speak for each other but have each other's backs to the grave, fighting the other's fight; but beyond a silly psychic thingumajig at the beginning it works. So the fact that, by now, the shtick has been long-established, of Modesty undressing needlessly, and Willie being her brick to help her rescue the unfortunate, but things still motor on in a pleasant manner. This was never going to be the best place to jump on board with the series – especially as it's the 29th out of 30 – but it is still good fun.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
I would say the likes of Live Bait were mid-era works from Modesty's creative team, but even they only go back to the late '80s.
You can read more book reviews or buy Children of Lucifer: Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Enric Badia Romero at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Children of Lucifer: Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell and Enric Badia Romero at Amazon.com.
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