MI6 reviews Titan Books' newly reissued graphic novel "James Bond 007: Trouble Spot" by Jim Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak

"James Bond 007: Trouble Spot" Review
23rd September 2006

Titan's tenth book in this impressive series sees James Bond return to cross wits with a bird lover, venture into a nudist camp, join a cult, and return to New York. Trouble Spot is made up of four adventures. As well as the titled "Trouble Spot", the volume contains "Isle of Condors", "League of Vampires" and "Die With My Boots On".

Bringing 007 daily to the public in this timeless form meant the strips saw Bond fighting his foes in three panels - and on the odd occasion two. Due to the unique structure of the comic strip format, each cell had to be carefully crafted to clearly communicate location, plot and character development to the reader.

Two times Bond girl Martine Beswicke reflects on how she started her acting career with James Bond, in an insightful read touching upon first hand experience of James Bond visionary Terence Young and the film's producers.

Above: Panel from "Trouble Spot"

Trouble Spot features the first in-depth strip coverage titled 'Curves, Charm and Cool - The women of James Bond Stripped' focusing on Fleming's girls from Vesper Lynd up to Pussy Galore. The piece begins with an introduction looking at Fleming's female characters and changes to the characters depictions for the strip format.

Each of the girls is given the same treatment regarding the relationship to Fleming's original stories and how they fit into each strip adventure. This is a good feature, which will hopefully be continued, in the next book by Titan.

Trouble Spot
Fewer gadgets and more adventure are the two differences from past strip adventures. Running 141 strips over six months when first published, the strip is of average length for an original tale. No matter how impossible the story is, Horak delivers strong artwork throughout. The villain Sharck has a passing resemblance to Batman's nemesis The Penguin.

Isle of Condors
Just as in Trouble Spot, James Bond finds himself at one point surrounded by naked girls as illustrated by Horak. Bond faces off against an ornithologist who runs an all female spy school! Bond girl Crystal Kelly shares many of the positive traits of film character Rosie Carver from the movie Live And Let Die which was released shortly after this strip. Isle of Condors is one of the better original stories in the series.

League of Vampires
Originally published between 25/10/72 and 28/02/73, League of Vampires ran through 106 daily strips. Bond once again faces a cult similar to the one depicted in Starfire. Unfortunately, League of Vampires is one of the weakest strips to date.

Above: Front cover art

Above: Cell from Die With My Boots On

Die With My Boots On
Set against a New York backdrop, Die With My Boots On has a very weak and disjointed plot. That aside, there are a few unique ideas such as the Harlem Hotshots shoes, which contain a zip gun and allows James Bond to fight another day.

As Titan journey further into this original material, most Bond and comic fans will appreciate how much work went into the original creation. With the resent passing of illustrator John McLusky it seems ever more fitting that fans and collectors are getting to revisit this fantastic Bond off shoot.

This collection has some of the weaker stories; however is still a must for fans and collector alike. The quality of the artwork varies due to the nature of source material (some of which was taken from the original newspapers), but for the most part is robust. Hopefully Titan will stay the course and continue issuing these great strips.


30th January 2007
MI6 Price $12.21
22nd September 2006
MI6 Price £12.99

Images courtesy Titan Books and Amazon Associates.