MI6 looks back at the James Bond comic book adventure "The Quasimodo Gambit" released by Dark Horse in January 1995

"The Quasimodo Gambit #1" Review
21st October 2005

The Story
The story arc is broken up into short chapters, with the titles are cleverly worked into the opening cell of each chapter.

Cell from The Quasimodo Gambit #1.


Chapter 1: Figures Seen in Twilight
Set primarily in Jamaica and London, the comic opens with chapter one 'Figures Seen in Twilight'. A beautiful woman is discovered while on a reconnaissance mission, whilst Bond is also on a similar mission and has come to aid the beautiful woman 'Valentine Nebula'. After a wonderfully depicted stealth attack, Bond and Nebula make their introductions and discover that they are to work together with the common goal of stopping an arms dealer.

Chapter 2: Discipline Without Bias
Upon his return to London, Bond is briefed about "Rifle" an arms merchant, who was to be eliminated by Bond. After suggestive banter with Miss Moneypenny, Bond returns to Jamaica to conclude Rifle's life.

Chapter 3: A Lot of Money to be Made
This two-page spread introduces us to the interim foe in this issue, Rifle. Introduced whilst with his girlfriend, he sets off to make his final delivery of weapons. The two pages are a good insight into a villain and help establish a back-story, and ensure he is not just a throwaway henchman. The main villain who is introduced later in this issue is not given the same treatment, which is a shame.

Chapter 4: Destructive Cargo
Chapter four builds the tension and action at a perfect pace. A little information is learnt about the main villain, and after he has been introduced the actions begins. Rifle arrives to deliver the arms shipment that Quasimodo is there to buy. Bond and Nebula mix things up which results in the longest and most dynamic chapter in this issue. The net result sees Rifle dispatched and Bond in a head to head with Quasimodo whilst in a truck loaded with arms. Nebula rounds up the rest of the goons.

Chapter 5: Man Hunt in the Sugar Cane Fields
Bond and Quasimodo continue their fight as the transport truck snakes through the Jamaican countryside. With a slight advantage, Bond miscalculates a move and losses what small advantage he had. Ending up in the middle of the dirt road, he heads for the surrounding sugar cane fields as Quasimodo and Lighttouch begin to search for him. After a few cells they realize that they will never catch him. With some quick thinking they set the field alight, trapping Bond in the middle of the blaze. We see a battered Bond make a narrow escape, into a swamped area.

Chapter 6: Guns and Madness
Bond returns unharmed to MoD Jamaica later to discuss the goings-on's of that night. After a discussing in the evening, more information is learnt about the weapons buyers. This leads to head of the MoD interviewing the leader of the suspected church, Reverent Hazelwood, who is quick to dismiss the whole affair.

Chapter 8: Playing the Game in Ernest
Valentine and Bond spend the evening together. Bond calls old friend Felix Leiter, for help in finding out more information about the people he is up against.

Chapter 9: Intimate Isolation
John Glen's pigeons open this chapter, flying away from and intimate dinner between Bond and Valentine. Over a long relaxing meal, Valentine begins to fall for Bond, both retiring together in a isolated cottage on the coast Bond and Palatine spend a peaceful evening.

Cell from The Quasimodo Gambit #1.

Cover Design
Using the standard Dark Horse layout this first of three issues depicts a montage with key Bond elements. A tortured and disfigured villain glares wildly out as he towers high above all the action. Below his face, Bond and his female accomplice stand blazing with their weapons at unseen foes. Bond is in a classic marksmen pose with his female alloy appearing to lean into his back. The cover is finished with Bond fleeing from a wall of fire and smoke that is being over shadowed by the moon.

This mini series has created a new look for Dark Horse and Bond. The mature clean lines help depicted a very realistic world for Bond to inhabit. The strong lines and clear characters create a very unique and great visual world.

The opening of the issue, set at dawn, is presented in warm oranges and yellows. The dusk of the following day is equally atmospheric, which adds life to the backgrounds and characters interactions.

The evenings are presented in a crisp and cool manner with great detail to the background. The feeling of summer heat is lost throughout this issue, which would have helped support the location choice.

Bond is shown as a strong jawed man who could have received more attention and definition, the supporting cast is equal if not better than him. However, the villain appears a short number of times with varying levels of detail. The character does not appear clearly in this issue, and does not create a memorable impression.

A few cells in this issue lack any level of actions emotion, which fails the issue. The overall presentation and layout of the cells however is of a high standard.


Above: Front cover

MI6 Briefing
Title: Ian Fleming's 007 James Bond - The Quasimodo Gambit
Publisher: Acme Comics LTD, Dark Horse Comics Inc, Glidrose Publications LTD
Released: Issue #1 - January 1995
Writer: Don McGregor
Art: Gary Caldwell
Cover: Chris Moeller
Letters: Elitta Fell
Editor: Edward Martin III & Dick Hansom

McGregor has developed a large portion of this story as character monologue. Bond gives us clues to his inner workings as he springs into action or calculates this next move. This however becomes tiresome by the end of the issue. The characters are all caught up in their inner monologue, and though progressing the story, it hinders more by reinforcing what we are seeing in the cells; which is not needed. Character monologue adds a new spin on the Dark Horse Bond issues, but is over done here.

Above: Cell from The Quasimodo Gambit #1.
  Data Stream (Issue #1)
Villain: Maximillian Steel AKA Quasimodo, Lighttouch, Reverend Hazelwood
Plot: A notorious arms merchant Jefferson Rifle makes a deal with Reverend Elias Hazelwood and Maximillian "Quasimodo" Steele. James Bond and Jamaica Security Officer Nebula Valentine intervene trying to stop Rifle and learn sinister plan has been put into motion by Hazelwood.
Bond Girls: Valentine Nebula
Allies: Felix Leiter
Locations: Jamaica

MI6 Rating

Images courtesy Dark Horse Comics.

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