Modesty Blaise (like a female James Bond, only cooler and with more martial arts) and her knife-throwing platonic life partner Willie Garvin exist in both comics and books; I have read all the books, but not all the comics. They were somewhat formative influences on me, and you will understand why when I summarize the plot of this comic, which I found at Karen and Chaz’s house and had not previously read.

Willie is lounging shirtless in bed with one of his many girlfriends (he likes women, they like him, but Modesty owns his heart and soul) when he gets a call saying “Chloe’s in trouble! Come to Helsinki!” He immediately rushes off. The girlfriend, understandably concerned, calls Modesty, who goes to Helsinki in case he needs help. (This is way pre-cell phones, so she can’t just call him.) She figures Chloe is probably one of his girlfriends or exes.

In Helsinki, she spots a flyer for a circus where Willie sometimes performs as a knife thrower because of course he does, so she goes there to see if he’s checked in with them. The circus folk inform her that Chloe is his favorite elephant, who was recently confiscated by Russian scientists because she is a good genetic match for the frozen mammoth which they excavated from an iceberg. They intend to fertilize her to get a mammoth baby. Willie thought she’d be unhappy away from her sisters and also doesn’t want her experimented on, so he took off to rescue her.

Modesty goes back to her hotel to pack or something before going after him. But an international assassin on a completely unrelated mission spots her, leaps to the conclusion that she’s been sent to take him out, and sends his best goons after her. She takes out two of them unarmed, then gets trapped in a second-floor bathroom with more goons breaking down the door. Also meanwhile, the circus is parading through the streets below. So she strips down to her bra and panties on the excuse that this will look more like a circus costume than her rather modest previous outfit, squirms through the window, yells that she needs a trampoline, and leaps down once the circus people get it in place. Onlookers think this is part of the act and applaud.

This all happens in the first 4 pages.

Modesty then catches up with Willie and they hang-glide into Russia to rescue Chloe. The rest of the comic book (24 pages total) includes multiple gunfights, martial arts fights, several escapes on elephant back, Chloe knocking down the walls of a convenient semi-ruined castle on to more goons, and a climactic battle in which Modesty kills the main assassin with a gun to her head and both hands tied behind her back. (With her feet.) Meanwhile, Willie guards a wounded Russian general who was the original object of the assassination, in anguish because Modesty is wearing a bug in her bra, so he knows she’s in danger and can hear from her accelerated heartbeat that she’s about to make her move, but she made him swear to stay where he was rather than rush to her aid.

In the end, Chloe is restored to the circus and her sisters, Modesty is deeply moved by Willie’s devotion, and the Russian general says the scientists will just have to live without a baby mammoth. If there had been one more page, I’m sure a baby mammoth would have appeared.

Modesty Blaise: The Return of the Mammoth, Plato's Republic, the Sword of the Bruce (The Comic Strip Series)
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)
( Mar. 4th, 2016 03:30 pm)
I will give some sort of prize to anyone who can guess the canon (author, etc) from whence I just read this line of dialogue: "I don't know what else they do in that lab except fertilize other people's elephants from a deep-frozen mammoth…"

Hint: The speaker and person being addressed are hang-gliding into Russia.
Y: The Last Man # 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, is in stores now. I can pick up my copy on Friday, and I am extremely excited about this.

Barbara Hambly's Circle of the Moon, sequel to Sisters of the Raven, apparently received a stealth release in trade paperback. It's set in a Middle-East-esque, male-dominated fantasy land where for time immemorial, only men (and only some of them) have been able to work magic. Then one day, men lost their power, and women gained theirs. Cue social uproar. The second book stands on its own quite well if you haven't read the first, and gains extra interest from being past the period of male outrage and denial, and into the period where society is starting to shift to accomodate the new order. As is typical for Hambly, this is all wrapped in a sword-and-sorcery adventure that also functions as a mystery. Well-characterized (my favorites are the dandyish King Oryn and the beggar woman-turned-mage Pomegranate and her imaginary friend, a pig named Pontifer Pig), page-turny, and fun.

Yet another reminder that Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise series (described in my memoir; she's like a female James Bond, only much, much cooler) is back in print. I haven't seen it on the shelves much, but you can order all the books via amazon.com. If you are even remotely into pulp fiction or adventure novels about women who kick ass, I cannot recommend these too highly. She battles evil Siamese twins, she gets locked in a cage with a gorilla, she performs emergency appendectomies with one hand broken, she has affairs but not a boyfriend, and she has a lovely (non-sexual) relationship with her second in command, the cockney knife thrower Willie Garvin. They save each others' lives on a weekly basis, they spar literally and verbally, they amuse each other with humorous stories about their love lives-- it's charming.

On the manga shelves, supposedly Nana # 1 (HIGHLY recommended), Naruto # 8, and Fruits Basket # 12 are out now, but I haven't seen them yet. Maybe when I go to pick up Y.
Y: The Last Man # 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, is in stores now. I can pick up my copy on Friday, and I am extremely excited about this.

Barbara Hambly's Circle of the Moon, sequel to Sisters of the Raven, apparently received a stealth release in trade paperback. It's set in a Middle-East-esque, male-dominated fantasy land where for time immemorial, only men (and only some of them) have been able to work magic. Then one day, men lost their power, and women gained theirs. Cue social uproar. The second book stands on its own quite well if you haven't read the first, and gains extra interest from being past the period of male outrage and denial, and into the period where society is starting to shift to accomodate the new order. As is typical for Hambly, this is all wrapped in a sword-and-sorcery adventure that also functions as a mystery. Well-characterized (my favorites are the dandyish King Oryn and the beggar woman-turned-mage Pomegranate and her imaginary friend, a pig named Pontifer Pig), page-turny, and fun.

Yet another reminder that Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise series (described in my memoir; she's like a female James Bond, only much, much cooler) is back in print. I haven't seen it on the shelves much, but you can order all the books via amazon.com. If you are even remotely into pulp fiction or adventure novels about women who kick ass, I cannot recommend these too highly. She battles evil Siamese twins, she gets locked in a cage with a gorilla, she performs emergency appendectomies with one hand broken, she has affairs but not a boyfriend, and she has a lovely (non-sexual) relationship with her second in command, the cockney knife thrower Willie Garvin. They save each others' lives on a weekly basis, they spar literally and verbally, they amuse each other with humorous stories about their love lives-- it's charming.

On the manga shelves, supposedly Nana # 1 (HIGHLY recommended), Naruto # 8, and Fruits Basket # 12 are out now, but I haven't seen them yet. Maybe when I go to pick up Y.
.

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