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 a


The Story
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 Gardner's choice 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 location.

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 Bey.

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.

Cover Design
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.

MI6 Briefing
Title: Ian Fleming's 007 James Bond - Permission to Die
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.

Best Line
"I've often wondered what a Scot wears under his kilt…"

Above: Back cover
  Data Stream (Issue #1)
Villain: Doctor Erik Wiziadio
Plot: Bond has to attack a convoy and rescue the niece of a reclusive scientist in order to win exclusive technology for the UK.
Bond Girls: Luludi Bey
Allies: Vavra, M, Major Boothroyd
Locations: London, Budapest



MI6 Rating

Images courtesy Eclipse Comics, MikeGrell.com and Rimis London.

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"Permission To Die #2" Review
"Permission To Die #3" Review
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