The Complete James Bond: SPECTRE – The Classic Comic Strip Collection Review

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In Titan Book’s new collection of James Bond comics titled Spectre, we find some of the best and longest James Bond comic strips. Featuring Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice – this new collection is another great edition that we just had to review.

These original comic strips were published by the Daily Express newspaper, and are based on the famous James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) was a creation of Ian Fleming’s previous knowledge in World War II and the Cold War politics.

Our review will include the four Bond stories that are in this SPECTRE collection:

  • Thunderball
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • You Only Live Twice

Thunderball

This special comic strip was written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by John McLusky. In this story Bond is told of his poor medical exam, and must go on a retreat to improve his health; as ordered by superior M. While at this retreat, James comes across Count Lippie, who is a member of the Red Lightning Tong criminal organisation – who attempts to kill Bond after the discovery. Thunderball ran as a comic on the Daily Express from December 11th 1961 until February 10th 1962.

The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me was also written by Jim Lawrence, but illustrated by newcomer Yaroslav Horak, known as Horak on the strips. In this story James Bond must partner up with Soviet Agent XXX Anya Amasova to take down the owner of an ocean liner company named Sigmund Stromberg. These illustrations are slightly different than McLusky’s, and the comic ran only from December 18th 1967 to October 3rd 1968. It was the last comic strip to be made of James Bond.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The comic strip for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky. James Bond is fed up with MI6 chasing down SPECTRE and leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and is preparing to draft a letter of resignation to superior M. Bond then goes out on the mission searching for Blofeld, but loses the first women he truly loved along the way. This strip ran in the Daily Express from June 29th 1964 to May 17th 1965.

You Only Live Twice

The final comic strip in this collection is You Only Live Twice, and the comic strip adaptation was written by Henry Gammidge while the illustrations continued by John McLusky. In this story, Bond is facing the aftermath of the murder of his love from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and must go out on another mission and be victorious or possibly lose his career forever. James must go out and convince Japan’s intelligence service called Tiger Tanaka, to give the British some of their radio transmissions from the Soviet Union. The comic ran from May 18th 1965 to January 8th 1966.

The entire James Bond: SPECTRE comic strip collection is a perfect book for the fan of Ian Fleming’s novels or the movie adaptations. The illustrations are fantastic and the dialogue/descriptions are very easy to navigate. Having them all available in one book makes it all the easier to follow.

Good

  • Comics Are Well Illustrated
  • Dialogue and Descriptions are Distinctively Different

Bad

  • Comic Strips Were Very Long
  • Would Have Liked More Chronology With Order of Story
9.3

Amazing

Quality of Comic Strips - 9
Length of Book - 8.5
Story Quality - 9.5
Connection to Movies and Novels - 10

An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.

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