James-Bond-Omnibus-005-150x185The James Bond Omnibus 005 is the fifth volume (hence the “005”) in a series of books from Titan Books that reprints the entire run of the little-known James Bond newspaper comic that ran from 1958 to 1983 in many British newspapers. The first two volumes covered comic strip interpretations of all of the original Bond novels by Ian Fleming. This volume, along with volumes three, four, and six, are mostly original Bond stories written by Jim Lawrence with art by Yaroslav Horak. The comics in the fifth volume cover nine story arcs that were originally published from 1975 to 1978. With the sixth volume, the entire James Bond comic strip will have been collected (too bad they couldn’t have ended it with volume “007”).

The books vary from 250 to 400 pages in length. I can’t speak for the other volumes, but the layout of volume five is very cramped. Each page features four four-panel comic strips, all in black and white. Horak gives many details not only to the characters in the foreground of each strip, but he pays close attention to adding many artistic details in the background as well, which adds to the claustrophobic feel of each page. It probably doesn’t help that the text is frequent and lengthy as well, in both narration and dialogue. If one can get past the layout flaws (according to some reviewers on Amazon the earlier volumes did not have this issue), one can enjoy the spirit of James Bond in these new (to most readers) adventures.

Props have to be given to Jim Lawrence for being able to tell a fast-paced spy story in such a limited space—each week he had just four small panels to propel each story arc forward. The obvious down side to this is that many of the action scenes could take an entire week or more of publication to reach the climax! Add to that the fact that many of the first panels of each strip tried to recap what had happened in the previous installment; it is clear that Lawrence was a genius at making the stories interesting enough to keep readers’ attention day-to-day.

Most of the original stories follow the same basic premise as the novels. James is on the hunt for the bad guy, there is always a girl, and he always gets the girl in the end (even if she doesn’t originally want to be pursued). For example, the first story in this collection is entitled, “Till Death Do Us Part.” In it, the daughter of a former British MI-6 agent is involved with a foreigner and planning to marry him. Bond’s superiors feel that this man is just out to mine her for her father’s secrets. He kidnaps the girl, they get attacked by KGB agents, she discovers that her lover is not willing to “sell” her to the Russians for $10,000—he wants no less than $25,000—and, in the end, Bond knocks him out and returns the girl to the safety of the British secret service, but not after the two new lovebirds escape on a vacation together.

For a comic strip about James Bond, there is surprisingly little bad language and the violence is almost comical in nature. However, clearly British society is much less repressed than America when it comes to sexuality. Every single one of the story arcs in this book feature topless girls. Whether James first encounters them swimming topless or lying in bed topless (waiting for him, he presumes), the girls rarely ever have clothes on. In fact, those that do seem to prefer just wearing coats that tie around the waist so the least bit of wind just blows the coats open, baring all to the world! This isn’t non-descriptive nudity either—the breasts are curvy and there are nipples galore.

Since James Bond might appeal more to adults anyway, this is a collection that is definitely a possible hit with adult fans. Based on the story strength, it could also be considered for a teen collection depending upon your library’s teen collection development policy. In any case, make sure you inform your James Bond teen and adult fans where they can find this exciting compilation.

Other volumes include:

Volume 1: 9781848563643
Volume 2: 9781848564329
Volume 3: 9780857685889
Volume 4: 9780857685896
Volume 6: 9780857685919

The James Bond Omnibus, vol. 005                                                                                       by Jim Lawrence
Art by Yaroslav Horak
ISBN: 9780857685902
Titan Books, 2013
Publisher Age Rating: 16+

  • Lindsey Tomsu

    Past Reviewer

    Lindsey Tomsu is the Teen Librarian for the La Vista Public Library in La Vista, Nebraska, where she took a failing teen program in 2009 and turned it into a successful teen program that has been nationally recognized for its innovations in serving teens. Her Teen Advisory Board recently nominated her as a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. Before becoming a librarian, she was an English tutor and editor. She obtained bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy from Bellevue University and English (with a youth and Gothic concentration) from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is currently finishing her MLIS at San Jose State University as all she has left to finish is her thesis entitled “A Social and Cultural History of America as Seen Through the Pages of Youth Series Fiction, 1899 to the Present Day.” Since there currently aren’t any online Ph.D. programs that meet her needs right now, she began a MA in History at Southern New Hampshire University to continue her series book research. While she is currently teaching a CE workshop at Simmons College (Nancy Drew & Friends: A Historical Survey of Youth Series), she would eventually love to branch out into teaching future librarians and hopes someday to share her love and knowledge in a materials class focused solely on series books throughout history.

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