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[review] Colonel Sun Comic Collection

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#1 Willowhugger



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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:06 AM


I've learned the secret of appreciating the James Bond comics. Don't try to read them as one continuous narrative, that just makes them confusing and un-enjoyable. Instead, read them as individual comic strips. One by one. That way, each one of the strips is a cliffhanger leading to the next one and the story becomes much more enjoyable.

The Colonel Sun comic adaptation, produced by Titan Books, is not as good as the original novel by Kingsley Amis. This is to be expected. They had to cut out the extended torture sequences and plenty of dialogue. Still, the basic thrust of the story maintains itself fairly well. The only really strange change is the fact that James Bond dispatches Colonel Sun with as opposed to the Chinese agent committing suicide. I know this may qualify as a spoiler but I'm not sure that the statue of limitations still applies after 40 years.

Theoretically, Colonel Sun is supposed to an agent of a revived SPECTRE in this story as well. For the life of me, on one read through, I didn't notice any sign of this so I wonder where exactly this idea came from. M makes several references to the Chinese so if he's a SPECTRE agent then he's a SPECTRE agent working for the Chinese, which is just needlessly complicated.

The work is a very well illustrated comic and the character illustrates help me imagine some of the characters. What I like about Ariande in this comic is she's a very stereotypical 60s sex idol. Her huge hair, miniskirt, and go go boots are wonderfully stereotypical for the era. Unfortunately, I much prefer Colonel Sun's depiction on this cover. I just wish I could get a poster version of it to hang on my wall.

[image deleted]

Coloenl Sun in the comic strip is a stereotypical deformed Chinese and it's really not very flattering. Worse, this is clearly a prejudice of the authors as the other Chinese villain, Doctor Cat, from the extra story in the book ("The River of Death") is equally deformed. I don't mind hideousness in James Bond villains but it rubbed me the wrong way here.

And what of the River of Death? It was a nice, if surreal story, that contained a delightfully Fleming-esque piece of paranoia. The Chinese government is going to subvert the Western powers by attempting to create a network of Native American Communist agents. Oh boy. There's also the use of animals to assassinate enemies that is just crazy enough to be an Avengers plot.

So, overall, I very much enjoyed this work. 8.0/10.