A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 36, 37, and 38.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1976-1978
Titan publication year: 2007

“The Vanishing Dollybirds” starts in London when a sheikh whom Modesty and Willie helped in the “Willie the Djinn” has come to a visit. A woman Willie knows, Dolores, throws a soda can at the sheikh’s car startling everyone inside. It turns out that Dolores’ sister supposedly got a job in the Middle-East and vanished. Dolores is convinced that the poor girl has ended up as a slave in a harem. Dolores works as a knife-thrower’s assistant in the circus where Willie is one of the two owners. Dolores is convinced that a wealthy couple is behind her sister’s disappearance. They supposedly organize jobs in the Middle-East for poor and “troubled” girls but have a reputation as good citizens and Dolores doesn’t have any evidence. Modesty and Willie sympathize but don’t want to get involved, so Dolores investigates by herself. Of course, the couple are the villains and send goons after Dolores.

This is a very intense comic and has one of the more unhappy endings. But it also has lots of fun scenes. The circus’ knife-thrower arm was broken, so Willie must put on a wig and perform. When Dolores goes missing, Modesty takes her place as the living target. The villains aren’t very original but have a twist. Without the circus scenes this would have been a very dark comic.

“The Junk Men” is set in the wilds of Turkey. Willie is a stunt-man in a small budget scifi film where everything seems to be going wrong. Willie and Modesty know the film’s director, Eddie Grant. When Modesty arrives, Eddie complains that the film has been haunted with strange accidents. But Willie says that the people of the local village seem to be afraid of the gang of men whom the film’s producers insist on working on the film. At the same time, three powerful drug lords meet. They need to get back a huge shipment of heroin which went down in a plane in the wilds of Turkey.

This was another fun adventure but it’s drugs related so it’s one of the darker strips. The drug lords and their minions are ruthless. It doesn’t have nearly as many funny scenes as the previous comic.

“Death Trap” is a revenge story. Sir Tarrant has captured three agents from a small Eastern-European nation. One of the country’s leaders, Brosni, wants to discredit Tarrant in return. As an added bonus, Brosni gets revenge on Modesty who has beaten him in the past. Brosni and his cronies come up with a brutal plan so that Modesty would storm to the country in a rage and Brosni’s men can capture her. They target her new boyfriend.

Modesty is vacationing in Spain with Professor Roberto Abril who is a gentle biologist. When Modesty and Roberto are climbing up a very difficult mountain side, Brosni’s hired killer appears and whips Roberto to death right in front of Modesty. She’s shaken but can’t reach the killer who escapes. However, she knows who the killer is.

The local police keep Modesty in Spain for two weeks. During that time, she has time to think and decides that she won’t go after the killer, because Roberto wouldn’t approve. However, Brosni and his cronies don’t give up. They send a request for Modesty to come and identify the killer whom they’ve “arrested”. Of course, Modesty, Tarrant, and Willie know that it’s most likely a trap. However, because there is a slight chance that the killer has been arrested and would face real justice, Modesty goes. Of course, she’s prepared.

This is also a very dark story, the beginning is especially brutal. It doesn’t have much humor in it, either, to balance the darkness, like “the Vanishing Dollybirds” has. It showcases Modesty’s ethics and smarts, especially near the end.

These three are quite dark stories, especially the last two which lack the light-hearteness that most Modesty stories usually have. I still enjoyed them a lot.