This week Titan Books brings us another great collection of reprints of the strip Modesty Blaise. The new collection, Modesty Blaise: Million Dollar Game, collects the strip story lines “Butch Cassidy Rides Again,” “Million Dollar Game,” and “The Vampire of Malvescu,” with all stories being written by brilliant strip creator Peter O’Donnell with fan-fave artist Enric Badia Romero returning to draw the comics.
“Butch Cassidy Rides Again” is a great Modesty Blaise story. We get Modesty and Willie riding the old west trails of the United States for enjoyment when they come across an Old Wild West Town, where during a reproduction of a historical shootout for tourists, bad things go down and people really get shot. Turns out a gang is riding these parts looking exactly like the historic Butch Cassidy gang from their clothes to their faces themselves. Modesty and Willie stick around to investigate, and end up helping young hot-head cowgirl Annie break up this gang in the bad lands. “Million Dollar Game” is a more classic adventure style tale, dealing with poachers, a rhino, and more. However, it is O’Donnell, so this classic style tale has the interest of a blast-from-the-past as Modesty is tied together with a character named Lawton, who is a former love interest from years earlier, giving us a little time-jump fun. The last tale in the collection is in my opinon one of the coolest Modesty Blaise tales of all time, titled “The Vampire of Malvescu.” In this one, Willie and Modesty are in the hills of Transylvania, where legend has it a vampire stalks around the village of Malvescu. Modesty and Willie, traveling separately, are aiming to visit an old friend named Hans Braun who lives as a recluse in a castle by the village. As things unroll, it turns out that not only is Braun now married, but he’s also being blackmailed by terrorists to create weapons for them as a vampire terrorizes the local village! It all comes together and unfolds nicely in this intriguing story with lots of mystery and action.
I always enjoy O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise strip, but this collection is one of the better sets. As mentioned, we have the return of Romero to the art, and he just excels at drawing Modesty Blaise. His action is laid out nicely, women are beautiful and bold with and without their clothes on, and his flow connects so well with O’Donnell’s writing flow. Also, the stories in this are all just plain fun Blaise stories that are her takes on certain genres. “Butch Cassidy Rides Again” gives us a fun flavor of Modesty in a wild west setting. “Million Dollar Game” gives us the classic adventure-jungle setting and has the cool time-line jumping. “The Vampire of Malvescu” tale I just love, as it blends horror with spy fare. O’Donnell once again gives us the best quality writing on each strip, living up to his almost-now-legendary status on this comic. There is no reason why you shouldn’t jump at the chance to grab this collection, out now.
Review copy provided by Titan Publishing.