modesty blaise

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 61, 62, and 63.


Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1987-1988
Titan publication year: 2011

I finally got my hands on an English language MB album. Funnily enough, the second story is one of the first I actually ever read.

The first story is “Butch Cassidy Rides again” where Modesty and Willie are riding an old outlaw trail in the US. They come to a town where the locals are reviving the spirit of Western films for tourists’ enjoyment. However, during a mock gun battle, Modesty realizes that one of the shots was real. She noticed the young man whose thigh has been shot and with her quick action, saves his life. Meanwhile, Willie goes after the shooter. However, Willie is surprised from behind and the shooters get away. Also, the shooters looked like Butch Cassidy and his gang, so the local sheriff doesn’t believe Willie’s account. He dismisses Modesty and Willie as nutcases looking for celebrity.

The next day, Willie and Modesty meet a girl who is helping her grandparents against local ruffians – who look like Butch Cassidy and his gang. Willie and Modesty decide to stay and help the girl and her grandparents.

The next is “Million Dollar Game” which starts many years ago, when Modesty had just disbanded her criminal organization the Network and retired. She has taken up a new hobby: rescuing abused donkeys. The vet she calls to care for them, Greg Lawton, becomes her lover but they part ways after a few weeks. Then we move to the modern day. Someone is leaving short love notes to Modesty at her hotel. Outside the hotel, Modesty witnesses someone attacking a man. She saves him. He turns out to be the vet Lawton who is a bit peeved that Modesty didn’t recognize him. He also left the notes. Lawton is currently working for WWF trying to catch poachers.

When his airplane burns, Modesty offers to fly him and help him against the poachers.

The poachers are ruthless and well-armed. They are shooting rhinos and elephants for money and have killed game wardens before. As soon as they see that Modesty is helping Greg, they plan to kill both of them.

The last is a fun and intense adventure “The Vampire of Malvescu”. Willie and Modesty are traveling in Transylvania by foot. They have a bet about which of them will arrive first to the castle of Malvescu which is owned by one of the men who were in the Network. However, when Willie arrives to the castle, he’s astonished to find out that the former bachelor has married a very innocent girl. When Modesty arrives to the local town, she’s told that she shouldn’t go to the castle because a vampire hunts there. The vampire has already killed one girl. But Modesty heads to the castle anyway – and a vampire attacks her!

When Romero took over, the comics got more nudity. Especially in the third story, the former Network man’s wife spends a lot of time topless. I’m surprised the British newspapers allowed it. It’s also a bit strange because Modesty and Willie think that she’s very innocent.

These were all fun stories, first in a Western theme and the last set in the rocky Transylvania. The last two stories bring out Modesty’s love of animals, especially of donkeys.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 58, 59, and 60.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1985-1986
Titan publication year: 2011

This collection has three fine Modesty Blaise adventures. These are the three final stories that Colvin drew. Romero returns in the next story.

The first one, “the Wild Boar”, starts on Modesty’s estate in Tangier where one of her lovers, Doctor Giles Pennyfeather is staying a while with her. When they’re leaving a restaurant, two men try to rob them. Modesty fights them off, of course, but her brooch is damaged. The man who comes to repair it is a psychic. He sees a flash of the man who gave the brooch to Modesty, the head of French Intelligence Rene Vaubois. Rene is alive and near, but hurt.

Soon, Modesty finds out that Rene has disappeared. Even his closest aide thinks that he has defected but Modesty doesn’t believe that. Using the clues that the psychic gave, she, Willie, and Giles head to Corsica to confront a ruthless crime boss called Le Sanglier, the Wild Boar.

In the next story,”Kali’s Disciples”, Modesty and Willie are in India, going to see the old holy man Sivaji who has taught them skills which have saved them countless times. However, when they’re spending the night in the palace with one of the local former rulers, they hear that the cult of Kali has revived and killed people in the traditional way, strangling. During the night, the cultists attack the palace. However, Modesty and Willie drive them off. The duo heads to the desert to see Sivaji. Of course, things aren’t so simple.

The last story, “the Double Agent”, starts with the bad guys somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. They have worked for years to train and surgically change a female agent to look exactly like Modesty. She also has all of Modesty’s fighting skills. She’s called the Replica. She’s sent with a team to Britain to kill Tarrant and put the blame on Modesty. Willie is away but another team is sent to kill him, if he returns to Britain.

Meanwhile, Willie is enjoying his holiday mountain climbing. Unexpectedly, agent Maude Tiller gets a week’s vacation and Willie heads back. The team activates to kill him and Replica’s team goes to action to kidnap Modesty and kill Tarrant.

These are all very exciting stories and all have some recurring characters. Giles has only appeared in books before. He’s very kind man, decent and honest, working in remote areas to heal poor people. Modesty likes him very much. The Indian ascetic and holy man Sivaji’s teachings have appeared many, many times and we’ve met him in only two other comics. The final story is set in Britain so many familiar characters appear. Still, it’s quite possible to enjoy the stories without knowing anything about the characters.

Another very good collection.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 54, 55, and 56.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1984-1985
Titan publication year: 2010

“Sweet Caroline” begins with a cricket match. Modesty manages to convince Willie to play in one of the teams which is lead by Modesty’s (elderly) friend, an earl. Modesty and sir Tarrant are watching the game. However, the match ends with a tragedy: a cricket ball has a bomb and when the earl hits it, it explodes killing him. Modesty is very upset. Right before the deadly hit, the audience heard a strange message about how Sweet Caroline was behind the next dramatic event.

The next day, the news tells about two other strange murders which “Sweet Caroline” has arranged. Modesty and Willie scour the underworld and find a very nasty organization of hit men.

“The Return of the Mammoth” is one of the more wacky MB adventures and is set partly in Finland! The story begins when Willie gets a phone call in the middle of the night. He leaves immediately for Helsinki, Finland yelling that one of his girls is in danger.

Modesty comes to Willie’s pub the next day and worries. She follows him to Helsinki. On the plane, she notices three highly skilled killers for hire. Even though she didn’t know about them, she suspects that they immediately suspect her and attack as soon as they can. She’s right. When she gets to a hotel, the three try to ambush her. However, she notices that Willie’s circus is in Helsinki and their parade walks right next to the hotel. She gets their attention and escapes the killers.

In the circus, she finds out that Willie is in Russia. The Russians confiscated one of the circus’ elephants and Willie wants to get her back. Yes, in this story Willie’s “girl” is an elephant! And Modesty and Willie will try to smuggle it over the Finnish-Russian border!

I love the set-up of this story! The story itself is also fast-paced and very interesting.

“Plato’s Republic” is a deeply personal story for Modesty. It starts with the bad guys. Psychotic Plato and his group of assassins and murderers have taken over an island and the monastery there. They’ve also kidnapped one of Modesty’s former top men, the Greek Krolli. They force his daughter, Melinda, to betray Modesty or they’ll kill her father. Melinda has no choice. She travels to London and lies to Modesty that her father is near death and wants to see Modesty one more time. Of course, Modesty agrees and flies to Greece. However, a helicopter deposits her to the island and Plato captures her, along with Melinda and Krolli.

This is one of my favorite set-ups: Modesty in the hands of her enemies in an almost impregnable fortress, and Willie trying to first find her and then free her. The added twist of monks and Modesty’s former right-hand man Krolli makes it very interesting.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the other two stories, the Return of Mammoth is one of my favorites for it’s wacky set-up and intense action. A very enjoyable collection of stories.

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.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 48, 49, and 50.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1981-1982
Titan publication year: 2009

This is a fun collection of stories.

“The Scarlet Maiden” is the most lighthearted MB story I’ve ever read. It starts with a glimpse to a pirate ship in 1730. It’s the Scarlet Maiden and it sank supposedly with a big treasure. In the current day comic, lots of people have tried to locate the wreck. Modesty is vacationing in the Caribbeans and hears the story. She’s also diving and has found another, smaller wreck. However, local criminals think that she’s trying to muscle in on their business and attack her. In the middle of the attack, Willie arrives. Modesty takes care of the two goons. Afterward, Modesty takes Willie diving to see the wreck.

Meanwhile, three young people are watching anxiously. They have found the Scarlet Maiden and they think that Modesty has also found it. They’re desperate to get the treasure first, so they hatch up a silly scheme: they kidnap Modesty and Willie to make sure that Willie and Modesty don’t get the treasure and the trio also gets two experienced divers more. Modesty realizes instantly that the trio aren’t hardened criminals, because they try very hard to act like they are. But she goes along with it. She and Willie have a lot of fun pretending to be scared by the trio. Later, some real tough criminals get involved.

Modesty and Willie have so much fun pretending to be scared that I greatly enjoyed this story. The story has also a comical side character, an elderly gentleman who is a decendent of the Scarlet Maiden’s pirate captain.

“The Moon Man” has a few wacky moments, too, especially near the end and right at the start, with a film crew. In this story, Modesty has a new boyfriend Alex Varna who is a painter. He’s from Hungary but five years earlier he defected to the West with his young daughter. But he’s still a sleeper agent. Now, the Hungarians have arranged for sir Tarrant to give a list of his agents in Balkan to Modesty and they activate Varna. Varna must steal the list. However, he refuses and the enemies kidnap his young daughter.

The most unusual element in this story is the Moon Man. He’s an enemy agent in Britain and pretends to be an UFO expert who regularity talks with space aliens. The side characters have nice symmetry: the Moon Man is a British citizen who betrays his country by working with Eastern agents. On the other hand, Varna was born in Hungary but has grown to love Britain so much he refuses to betray it.

“A Few Flowers for the Colonel” is a quite poignant MB story. An old friend contact Modesty for help and of course she and Willie hurry to Venezuela. On their way to the airport, they tell the story to sir Tarrant. Five years ago, when Modesty was still running the criminal Network, she was attacked by another criminal. A local taxi driver, who was in his fifties, gave Modesty enough time to defeat the attackers. So now, Modesty has a debt to pay.

In Venezuela, the elderly former taxi driver, now a farmer, asks Modesty to rescue his daughter Luisa. Luisa is a nun and runs an orphanage for girls in a small country beside Venezuela. But civil war has broken out and a bandit chief El Toro is taking advantage of the situation, terrorizing the countryside. Modesty and Willie will, of course, try to get the girl to safety. Luisa’s younger brother Anselmo goes with the as a guide.

I think this was the first MB story I ever read years ago. I remembered it still pretty well and enjoyed rereading it. It’s got all the good MB story elements: high stakes, tight places, and dastardly villains. The bandits are bloodthirsty and eager to get Modesty to their hands. Anselmo is a teenaged boy who has lived his whole life in a very macho culture and he’s very reluctant to obey Modesty. He even questions why Willie should take orders from her. He’s hotheaded and seems more eager to avenge his sister than save her. The story has also a retired Army officer who is also quite chauvinist.

I enjoyed these stories a lot and had a blast reading them.

This is the last full Modesty Blaise novel.

Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 329
Finnish publisher: Otava
Finnish translator: Jukka Kemppinen

Many MB books, and comic strips of course, are stand-alone stories. However, this one has lots of recurring characters who make reference to previous events. It’s perfectly readable without reading the others, but you get more out of it if you read the other first, especially Last Day in Limbo.

The story starts with the first time Modesty and Willie meet! We’ve been told about it but never really shown. It managed to be both what we were told but at the same time also surprising.

This time Modesty and Willie, and their friends, are pitted against the Hostel of Righteousness on a small island of Kalivari in the Aegean sea. They pretend to be a holy order that focuses on praying but in reality they’re headed by Thaddeus Pilgrim. He used to be a missionary until his family was killed horribly. Now he’s a Satanist who runs a group of assassins.

They try to kill one of Willie’s girls merely as a precaution but instead Willie kills one of them. Pilgrim thinks that this is just an interesting opportunity and decides that his group will kidnap Willie if they get a chance. Weeks later, the assassins manage to kill the girl and when Willie comes over to meet her, they kidnap him. Modesty, of course, does everything she can to find him. However, Pilgrim has ordered that Willie must be brainwashed to kill Modesty.

This is an interesting parallel to one of the comics, “The Puppet Master”, where Modesty is kidnapped and brainwashed to kill Willie. But in the comics, the main bad guy had very personal reasons to hate Modesty and want to destroy her. This time, Pilgrim just thinks that it would be an interesting program. However, he’s ruthless and calculating.

The story becomes very intense when Molly is killed and Willie is kidnapped. Before that point, it has rather comedic and even heart-warming moments. Modesty is spending time with her friends Steve Collier and his blind wife Dinah. Steve is a very eccentric character but I mostly like him. Dinah is a sweet and endearing character. Modesty’s lover in this book is Danny Chavasse, an old Network man whom Modesty and Willie rescued from Limbo. At one point, Modesty and Willie perform in the circus Willie partly owns. I enjoy the circus scenes and this was no exception.

Pilgrim isn’t one of O’Donnell’s best villains but he’s pretty strange. His mind has partly shut down and he can’t enjoy anything. In fact, he seems like he can barely focus on anything. He has an oddly rambling speech patter. Yet, the people around him either fear him or worship him, or both. He has a group of international murderers around him.

This was another great Modesty adventure with plenty of intense fights.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 45, 46, and 47.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1980-1981
Titan publication year: 2009

The first story, “Dossier on Pluto”, is set in the Caribbeans. Modesty is meeting with her old friend Steve Taylor who is a former CIA agent. But now that he’s left the agency, he’s become a dolphin trainer. He has five dolphins who are all named after Greek gods, Pluto is one of them. However, shady people are also interested in how much they can make money with the dolphins. They decide to break to Taylor’s place and take his info. Meanwhile, Willie is vacationing with a new girl and Sir Gerard Tarrant. They’re fishing at sea, not too far from the Caribbeans.

This one has pretty straightforward plot, except for the dolphins. Modesty really cares for them and doing any violence on them angers her. Still the story has some comedic elements, as usual. Interestingly enough, the Finnish translation calls the dolphins with the human pronoun rather than “it”.

“The Lady Killers” starts as a lighthearted romp but an unexpected twist turns it darker. Modesty and Willie are vacationing in Tangiers, where she ran her criminal Network. In fact, the story starts with a brief glimpse of Modesty ten years previously when she was a nightclub owner and ran the Network. A Danish ship captain saved her life and they’ve been friends ever since. Now, the sea captain’s girlfriend, who runs a nightclub of her own, is in trouble. A hardened criminal Da Silva wrings protection money of her and she can barely pay him any longer. Modesty finds Da Silva distasteful and agrees to simply kidnap him and send him a way for six months; during that time his organization should collapse. The scheme works, but then Modesty and Willie find out that Da Silva had been mixed up with something which could cost an innocent life. And they feel obliged to help.

This was a good, fun adventure. Although, it has some sexism. When Willie is pitted against female terrorists, he finds it hard to hurt them. And the women terrorists are more a joke than a serious threat. For some reason Colvin draws them quite a lot less attractive than Modesty or Maude in the next strip.

I liked the last story best. “Garvin’s Travels” starts with Willie and Maude Tiller starting a vacation in a luxurious big house which is owned by one of Modesty’s millionaire friends. However, they can’t even get to bed before men attack them. Whey they fend off the attack, they’re still kidnapped.
Meanwhile, CIA has contacted Tarrant who needs to pull Maude back to duty. But Modesty is determined to let the two lovebirds have nice time and she takes the mission herself. She goes undercover to a “health university” for wealthy people.”

This was a more lighthearted adventure than the previous one. Maude is a one of the spies in British Intelligence and I quite like her. She has appeared in previous stories. She’s a capable agent, loyal, and eager to learn. She’s not as good a fighter as Willie or Modesty but she’s learning. This story has quite a few comedic elements and there aren’t any civilians in danger.

This are Neville Colvin’s first MB strips. Some readers don’t think that he as good an artist as Romero or Holdaway but I think he’s good enough.

I didn’t remember that the last two stories have a couple of scenes with bare-breasted women. While the women are drawn in very sexy positions and often with cleavages, I’m a bit surprised that the sensors at the time allowed these scenes. Both scenes are relevant to the plot although of course O’Donnell could’ve written them differently.

Otherwise, these are pretty good MB adventures. I quite enjoyed this collection, too.

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.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 22, 23, and 24.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1971-1972
Titan publication year: 2006

“The Stone Age Caper” is set in Australia. Modesty is vacationing with her new boyfriend David Collins when her old acquaintance Wu Smith comes by to warn Modesty not to buy anything for a while. Smith and his buddy are doing a heist and don’t want her involved. Meanwhile, Willie riding a camel in a desert. He comes across a wounded, pretty girl who says some people are after her. He takes her to an abandoned village to nurse her back to consciousness. He and Modesty communicate through radio and she decides to fly to him on a small plane. Wu Smith’s associates want her dead.

This story shows its age in dialog when Modesty and Willie are talking about the aboriginal Australians. They’re called “Abo” which would be quite offensive these days. On the other hand, one of the aboriginals in this strip was in Modesty’s criminal Network and clearly Modesty and Willie respect him and his skills. And there’s also a mention that the aboriginals don’t want to mess with the white men no matter what the white men do, because aboriginals know they will be blamed, no matter what. The aboriginals are clearly heroic in the story.

“The Puppet Master” is one of the most intense MB comics. The story starts with a chess game that the bad guys are playing. An elderly doctor Baum analyses the others’ moves. Next, Modesty is driving near Naples when she sees that a car has hit a donkey. She comes out of the car and the men attack her. She fights but one of them manages to inject her with a tranquilizer. She tries to fight but the drug overwhelms her.

Meanwhile, Willie is training Tarrant’s agents, especially a pretty new agent Maude. Tarrant comes in and tells Willie that Modesty’s car has been found; she’s been killed in the crash. They travel to Italy. Her body hasn’t been found abd Willie refuses to believe she’s dead. He remains in Italy to look for her. Tarrant thinks that Modesty’s is dead but he orders Maude to remain with Willie, to comfort and help him but also to learn from him.

The bad guys have, indeed, kidnapped Modesty and they’re brainwashing her to kill Willie.

One of my favorite tropes is the amnesia story line and I love this one. The bad guys try to convince Modesty that they’re her friends and she’s part of their criminal gang. Willie has sworn to kill her. Meanwhile, Willie and Maude are going through the Italian underworld. Maude is a smart and capable agent, but just learning the job. She appears in a couple of later strips, too.

“With Love From Rufus” is a more comedic story. Someone breaks into Modesty’s penthouse. He breaks to her safe which has been modified by Willie, so it’s not easy. However, in the morning she notices the break in and realizes that nothing has been taken and a bouquet of roses has been left in the safe with a note that they’re from Rufus.

Modesty is astonished and charmed. She meets with Scotland Yard’s inspector Brooke. He talks about a new genius jewel thief in London and introduces his young nephew Rufus to Modesty. Rufus is a huge fan of both Modesty and Willie. He gushes over her criminal exploits. When they go to Modesty’s car, three men attack them but Modesty fights them off. In her apartment, Willie has come to a surprise visit and is shocked to learn that the youngster has broken into the safe.

Modesty and Willie try to warn Rufus away from a life of crime, but Rufus is proud of his skills as a burglar and wants Modesty to fence the jewels he’s taken. Modesty is in a terrible position as Brooke’s friend. But when Rufus is kidnapped, the game turns deadly.

Rufus is around twenty but Modesty feels that she’s much older than him. His admiration feels uncomfortable to her but Willie (and the readers) think it’s funny.

All three are very good stories and I enjoyed them a lot.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 19, 20, and 21.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1970-1971
Titan publication year: 2005

This collection starts Romero’s long run as MB artist. All three stories are fun and wacky.

“Willie the Djinn” is set in a small country in the Middle East. The story starts in a casino where sheikh Kadhim Al-Mashaf has played a lot of backgammon against Modesty and he’s lost a lot. He wants to continue playing against her and even Willie can’t hide Modesty from him. Meanwhile, Willie has found a group of dancing girls whose manager has ditched them. When the sheikh offers a job to the girls, they only agree if Willie will come with them as a chaperon. Willie’s of course shocked and Modesty comes along, as well, to make sure Willie behaves.

However, when they’re in the sheikh’s plane, one of the girls finds a bomb which takes down the plane. A coup is in progress and Modesty and the girls land right in the middle of it.

This story has even more sexy girls and male gaze than is usual for Romero’s MB. It’s also got a lot of funny moments right from the start when Modesty is trying to hide from the sheikh’s servant and later when Willie convinces a little girl that he’s a djinn… sadly, without magic.

“The Green Eyed Monster” is set in a small country in South America. Modesty has a new boyfriend, zoologist Gil de Serra. Gil’s very jealous ex-girlfriend comes to chew out Modesty but Modesty tosses her to a pool. However, when the jealous ex, who is the daughter of the local British ambassador, is kidnapped Modesty, Willie, and Gil set out to rescue her from the group of revolutionaries.

This story again shows us that Modesty has compassion even for people who insult her. This story has also several humorous scenes, but they’re set after the half-way point.

While “Death of a Jester” is set in a British castle, O’Donnell manages to bring exoticism to that place, too. One of Tarrant’s British Intelligence operatives was assigned to investigate a group of highly skilled and eccentric former army commandos who are now mercenaries. The operative is killed by a knight on a horse, under the eyes of two very shocked teens. The operative was dressed as a jester.

The mercenaries enjoy dressing up as medieval knights and hunting people in the castle’s park. Modesty and Willie infiltrate them, assuming the roles of bored wealthy people.

The medieval shenanigans are just hilarious.

I throughly enjoyed this collection, as well.

Next Page »