MI6 looks back at the illustrator and writer Mike
Grell's 007 comic mini series "Permission To
Die" #1, released by Eclipse Comics in 1989.
"Permission To Die #1" Review
11th June 2004
Above: Mike Grell's original James Bond artwork.
Opening with a bang, Bond is attendance of an ambassador's
function, when terrorists overrun the party forcing the
SAS to be called. Bond aids in the elimination of the terrorists.
After a dressing down from a male 'M' for his actions from
the previous evening, Bond is handed his latest assignment.
Bond has been charged with locating and rescuing a reclusive
scientist's niece. In exchange reclusive Erik Widziadio
has agreed to hand over the blueprints to his newest invention
- an economically affordable satellite launch system - to
the UK government exclusively.
Making a quick stop at Q Branch, Bond is equipped with
of gun and then the story moves on to communist Budapest.
Upon arriving, Bond is met by his contact and taken to his
Hotel and advised to gamble at the Hotel Casino. This one
page casino step seems out of place and unneeded within
the context of the story. Once at the Casino, Bond is told
by a further contact to meet the first contact at a new
After safely dispatching a novice assassin, Bond heads to meet
"The Gypsies" who will aid Bond in the rescue of Widziadlo's
niece. At the camp, Bond discovers 'Luludi' - a daughter of Kerim
Defending himself against the chief's son, Bond beds Luludi,
and they wake to find the camp in turmoil and under attack by
the military. A traitor is found and killed by Vavra - Bond's
Budapest contact - and this issue concludes with Vavra being killed
by unseen assailant using a silver bullet.
Bond is in a classic vertically raised pistol pose with his arm
around one of the female leads that is seductively leaning on
him stroking his face. This leading lady however doesn't appear
until issue two. The use of blacks and reds off set by the solid
white lines create a strong tone for the first issue.
Mike Grell was the lead artist, on this set of comics, and
it's evident. His sketchy style has made this issue great,
with lots of detail in every cell and great full page layouts.
The consistence of the art throughout the issue fluctuates
average to good.
Lots of visual homage's are present, a single full page
flash back to the earlier motion picture adventures, the
death of Bond's wife, and his mission in Hungry.
Major Boothroyd makes a welcome appearance, and is an original
to Grell, with his oversized moustache. However, by using
well depicted references, it makes the overall storyline
and pace suffer.
Title: Ian Fleming's 007 James Bond - Permission
Publisher: Eclipse Comics & Acme Press
Released: Issue #1 - 1989
Writer: Mike Grell
Illustrator: Mike Grell
Art Assistant: Dameon Willich
Colorist: Julia Lacquement
Letters: Waybe Truman
Editor: Catherine Yronwode & Richard Hansom
Above: Front cover
As well as being the leading artist on this issue, Grell conceived
the storyline and dialogue for the characters. The dialogue flows
relatively smoothly, but hits the occasional odd bump, which has
been added to accommodate witty Bond clichés. The story
moves at a fair pace, only side tracking twice, in the casino
and fable of the wolf.
"I've often wondered what a Scot wears under his kilt
Above: Back cover
||Data Stream (Issue #1)
||Doctor Erik Wiziadio
||Bond has to attack a convoy and rescue the niece of
a reclusive scientist in order to win exclusive technology
for the UK.
||Vavra, M, Major Boothroyd
Images courtesy Eclipse Comics, MikeGrell.com
and Rimis London.
"Permission To Die #2" Review
"Permission To Die #3" Review