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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 20 November 2016
yet another volume (no. 28 ) of this superb series. I've been collecting them for the past 7 years or so; so had to play catch-up obtaining the early issues. now, to my great delight and despite some odd pauses in the publishing schedule, it looks like the entire run will be completed in the final two volumes. Thank you titan publishing. all volumes contain solid well crafted and enjoyable stories. Of the four stories in this volume I particularily liked "tribute of pharaohs" Set in Egypt it gives us a couple of glimpses of both Modesty's and Willie's pasts which are skilfully woven into the main story.So nice when we see the gentler more vulnerable side of our two heroes.. Settings for the other three stories are Rural England, South America and Thailand; all cracking tales in their own rights. That O'Donnell was able to maintain such high standards on this strip over almost 40 years is remarkable. The art by Romero is up to his usual high standard fleshing out the plots with his superb anatomical design and range of facial expressions. my only criticism, (which another reviewer has also picked up on), is that the introductions to each story by a reviewer new to this series,( Rebecca Chance), give away rather too much of the plot. I advise you to read these after enjoying the story.
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on 15 May 2017
When I was a little girl, my attention was caught by the cover of a book kicking around the house with a "bullet hole" design cut through the sleeve next to the 1/- 6d printed price. That was the start of my love-affair with Ian Fleming's wonderful writing and his all-action hero, James Bond. I have read and re-read all the James Bond novels, but of course you can't keep on (it's almost the same as re-watching your favourite films - all very well, but if it comes to the point when you are lip-synching the dialogue with the actors, it's time to move on).

I suppose I was hoping for a kind of "female James Bond" in Modesty Blaise - and indeed, the character and the concept aren't far wrong. It's just Peter O'Donnell's WRITING! Let's put it this way ... he's no Fleming. He gets lost in the minutae of flabby descriptions. Things that don't add anything to the plot: for example how a gun is held on with a double-something'ed gusset, attached to a hook dangling from a knotted do-dah, held on by a spigot attached to a back-brace, concealed by a piece of tape, strapped to the inner thigh ... zzzzzzzzz (will to live lost). You get the picture. By the time you've waded through some of those passages, you've almost lost the thread of the action and he's almost lost your interest. I put the book down several times and had to force myself to pick it up. I also found the ersatz Cockney of Modesty's sidekick, Willie, who is so "Gor' blimey guvn'or" that he's frankly a caricature really annoying. He's a music hall act - and it renders him unbelievable. The sex scenes are also decidedly un-sexy, but I didn't buy the book for that. I had hoped for a great story with a compelling "drive" to it - an un-put-downable read - just like Fleming's. It wasn't all bad - the story itself was OK - but O'Donnell's editor could have done him a few favours by, well, editing it. For anyone who has never read Fleming, this might be an entertaining read. For those of you who have - well, you probably needn't bother. To misquote Groucho Marx "I've read a superb action-adventure thriller - but this wasn't it".
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on 5 June 2017
Lovers of Modesty and Willie will not be disappointed and if you have no idea who they are then this is as good as almost any of the series of these graphic serials, originally published in the London Evening Standard but later syndicalised worldwide, to start with, running from the 60's to the 90's and capturing exciting story lines with period detail; if you first encountered Modesty Blaise through the dreadful film with Monica Vitti then this may come as a surprise otherwise it's great - three complete stories in each volume and consistently good!
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on 13 July 2016
I used to read the Modesty Blaise strips in the Evening Standard years ago and I bought this out of curiousity as much as anything. I love the premise, the self made woman adventurer, with her faithful sidekick Garvin and I liked the plot - what's not to like about a diamond heist?

However, the writing shows its age and comes across as being a bit quaint. Modesty is supposed to be a kickarse mercenary but this was written by a man for men in 1965 and there is a tendency to dwell on feminine softness, attractiveness and vulnerability, with a bit of sobbing thrown in (much like a Dick Francis' heroine). Blaise is not allowed to be so kickarse that she can't be swept up and rescued by a man. I'm all for complex characters but I found it all a bit too Lady Penelope and difficult to believe that this was a woman who clawed her way up to the top of the middle eastern underworld. The platonic relationship with Willie doesn't quite ring true and there is a curious lack of tension in a book that should be a tub thumping thriller.

How I would love to see Modesty updated for today by a top notch writer. After all, she was strapping on a pistol and plundering treasure before Lara Croft's creator was even born.
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on 18 February 2013
This is from 1965, and is the first of the Modesty Blaise text novels. We take for granted female action heroes these days. Kill Bill, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider etc , but Modesty was the first.

We get hints of her origins here, from the ruins of World War Two, a ragged girl orphan, escaping from displaced person's camps in the middle east, becoming an animal hearder in the desert, getting an education from an elderly refugee savant, drifting into crime, excelling in crime and becoming a boss in her teens. After making her fortune, she moves to London with Willie Garvin, the Watson to her Holmes, and retires aged 26, beautiful young sophisticated and an expert in weapons and combat.

After working for British intelligence, she and Willie become adventurers, spies, and thieves for another 12 novels and 38 years of newspaper strip cartoons. Glancing through some of these strips and lurid book covers, one would be forgiven for dismissing Modesty Blaise's adventures as archaic and sexist soft porn. Not so. What the reader will find is intelligently written, intricately plotted very stylish crime thrillers. They are very human at their core, humorous, touching and generally much better written than one would expect.

This adventue, the first Modesty text story, introduces the characters and has Modesty and Willie attempting to foil a diamond robbery. We have memorable villains, sparkling and quotable dialogue, and very well done violence. Far from being some male writer's unrealistic fantasy woman, O'Donnell's Modesty is a thoughtful piece of work, complex, privately vulnerable, totally independant and very clever.He is a writer who simply does female characters and dialogue unquestionably well. Willie Garvin is a great creation too, his and Modesty's near psychic teamwork is one of this books main draws.

Obviously Fleming's influence is there, the globetrotting, the affluence, the luxury product placement, the spy gadgets and hardware descriptions, the physical nuances of the villains and the sex. It is surprising that Modesty Blaise is not as well known as Bond perhaps because no decent movie has been made. The dialogue and violence do remind me of Tarrantino, and this book does feature in Pulp Fiction. Perhaps we may see some decent movie version at some point. But it wont be as good as these books.
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on 24 April 2012
What can I say? It is a pleasure to be able to buy a Modesty Blaise graphic novel. I was a fun of the comic strips and now it gives me great pleasure to find them as complete comic stories in a book - and three of them in it! I am not going to detail each story, but I will say that if you like thrillers in comic book form you will enjoy Modesty Blaise's. Young readers may find it a bit aged in social attitudes (for example the two heroes, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin, seem to be chain smokers), and lack of modern technology. I regret the former but like a lot the latter. They come out of trouble just using their wits and physical combat skills, using guns, or other arms, only as a last resort. Purists may also find offensive that these reformed former criminals with a moral sense, lead an expensive and glamourous life as retired people, and they are well respected by Scotland Yard agents and the British Secret Service Head. From that point of view, it may not be a good graphic book for children and young teenagers, as the message may be misunderstood. After all, we don't want them to believe that crime does pay.
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on 7 September 2013
American comic book artist Dick Giordano may not be as excellent to draw Modesty Blaise as the late Jim Holdaway was. Nor does he reach the version by Enrique Badea Romero. Having said that you have to give Giordano some credit. Making a comic book is something entirely different from a comic strip appearing every day in the newspapers generally including three pictures each day (1: resume, 2: continuation, 3: cliffhanger). This book is in all fairness not bad at all. It is different, yes. But that does not make it bad. Giordano actually pulles it off quite well. In my opinion this version of Peter O'Donnell's first novel is readable. Very Much So.
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on 26 September 2016
Four stories rather than the usual three, and all good ones. I am always astonished at the way O'Donnell managed to avoid repeating himself. There is real imagination at work. Titan has almost completed the set, and I cannot be the only person to be grateful to them for persisting.
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on 14 June 2010
I've been a lifelong fan of Blaise. I'm 50, and I've read every comic strips dozens of time through the years. I've always thought Blaise should be where Bond is. Fleming was lucky to have Cubby Broccoli and S Connery to get a worlwide fanbase through the movies, where O'Donnell, well...was unlucky !But the quality of the writing of the novels, and of the strips make up for that. Yet I had never read this album, which illustrates the first book written by O'Donnell a few years after the character creation in strip form ( you following ? ) The story is good O'Donnell, I knew the book, so no surprises there. I knew Dick Giordano's art from having read numerous Batman strips he illustrated with Irv Novick. Well, it's a mixed result : Might be I'm too much used to the black and white strip format...Modesty herself lacks the sense of danger Holdaway created so well, and she's not as pretty or sexy the way Romero drew her...Some physical attitudes are a bit weird, too...I was a bit disappointed there...On the funny side, there's a blooper on page 117, when she's hancuffed, then suddenly has free hands to get the kongo from her hair, then is handcuffed again !
So I got the ( maybe wrong ) impression that this was a job Giordano knocked off without putting too much heart in it .

Still fun to read, but I would still recommend it to Blaise completists; I'd rather highly recommend to start reading first the strips in order !
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on 15 November 2016
Spoiled by introductions

Excellent stories, but the introductions do contain plot spoilers.
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