A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 51, 52, and 53.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1982-1983
Titan publication year: 2010

“The Balloonatic” starts as a more whimsical story than the average MB story. Modesty is in Venice. Guido Bigalzoni is an Italian reporter and an acquaintance of Modesty’s. However, she’s not eager to see him. But when Guido says that he needs Modesty’s help on a balloon ride, she can’t resist because she’s never been in a balloon before. However, the balloon ride isn’t comfortable for her because while Guido has a drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend but he still tries to hit on her constantly. Of course we all know that Modesty could maim the thin Italian with one arm tied behind her back so it’s played for laughs.

Willie and Guido’s girlfriend Aniela follow the balloon in car. When the balloon floats above a castle, Modesty and Guido see a murder. People who are wearing upper class renaissance costumes are just watching while one of them uses a floret to kill a man in a duel. They notice the balloon and shoot it down. The castle is surrounded by an electrified fence so the blood-thirsty men capture Modesty and Guido.

The rest of the adventure is in more typical MB style, however even the final battle has some whimsical elements. Apparently, Guido has appeared in some previous adventure but I haven’t read them. He’s very focused on sniffing out news and even in a battle he’s thinking about how to best write it.

“Death in Slow Motion” is a far more gruesome story. It starts with Inspector Brooke from Scotland Yard and his 19-year-old daughter. They’re prisoners in Sahara, underneath a small canvas. A woman who blames Brooke for her husband’s death has kidnapped them and will leave them to die slowly with just a pint of water daily for them both. She leaves them under the small canvas but a camera films them. She tells them that she has framed their deaths so nobody is even looking for them. But Brooke is convinced that Modesty will save them.

Meanwhile, Modesty hears that Brooke and his daughter have died while sailing. However, she had a lunch date with Brooke during that time and so she’s suspicious. But she thinks that someone has killed them both, not that they’re still alive.

The story has several short scenes of Brooke and his daughter slowly dying in the desert so the story is very intense from the start.

“The Alternative Man” is set in a tropical island. Modesty has a new boyfriend, Matt, who is a former DEA agent and now a freelance pilot. Modesty hears a plane landing in the dark and Matt tells her that it’s most likely smuggling drugs. She doesn’t want to get involved. Instead, Matt comes up with the idea that they should go to a deserted island and playact a shipwrecked couple. Modesty agrees a bit reluctantly because she knows that surviving will be hard work. Her suspicions are right: Matt doesn’t know anything about surviving. She must do all the work and he resents it.

Meanwhile, sir Tarrant has been invited to the larger island to help DEA track down a local drug lord who call himself Charon. Willie knows the DEA agent in question and tags along.

This is a pretty standard MB adventure except Modesty’s boyfriend is far more unlikable than usual.

These were fun stories. The second one is especially intense and one of the best Modesty adventures. However, the contrast between the first and the second story is big.