I’m really into spy stories right now among other genres that I never thought I’d like. I’ve been delving into indie comics and after a high recommendation from Bunche, Modesty Blaise hit my To Read pile quickly.
Publisher: Titan Books
Writer: Peter O’Donnell
Artist: Neville Colvin
Review: Amber LoveThroughout the career of Peter O’Donnell and throughout his Modesty Blaise comic strips, artists have come and gone. Neville Colvin though not the original artist, provided the spirit of pencils and inks which makes Modesty so memorable. Every year, people die and some of them are close to our hearts in the comic industry; some like Peter O’Donnell have a good 90-year run at life while others don’t have that opportunity. The comic world lost O’Donnell this year. He was a blend of Robert Ludlum and Clive Cussler rolled into one especially since he actually got to be Ian Fleming for a while, scripting a Bond comic strip. His creation, the female super spy Modesty Blaise can give Bond, James Bond a run for his British Pounds.

O’Donnell didn’t have the power the internet to explore the world outside London. He was a serviceman who traveled through the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa during his tours. His visual experiences of all his travels from military to vacation were used as reference which he passed on to his artists.

Death in Slow Motion is a collection of three stories about Modesty Blaise and her remarkably handsome sidekick Willie Garvin. Modesty’s impeccable fashion sense is topped only by her uncanny survival skills. The first story, The Balloonatic, is adventurous but really off the wall bordering on unentertaining because of its outrageous story about a supervillain who is so obsessed with the past that he founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Customs. Count Orlando Smythe and all his minions wear period costumes and use ancient weapons to govern their eccentric mafia.

The title chapter Death in Slow Motion gets into the kind of story that makes O’Donnell and Colvin’s work captivating. A judge and his daughter are captured by a vengeful crime boss’ widow. She leaves them to die in a horrific situation where they pray for Modesty Blaise to rescue them. This is the story which will have you holding your breath.

The Alternative Man adds more swashbuckling adventure to a rather realistic crime story about drug trafficking through an exotic West Indies island. Modesty and Willie have the dynamic team relationship modern action fans would get if Indiana Jones partnered with Lara Croft.

TITAN BOOKS has 17 Modesty Blaise collections available. Once you get hooked, you’ll be looking up O’Donnell’s other works of fiction. Though be warned, apparently the film adaptions of Modesty Blaise barely resemble the source material.


I crafted my own Modesty Blaise outfit in March, 2011.

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2 Comments on Modesty Blaise: Death in Slow Motion

  1. A friend of mine turned me on to Modesty Blaise as well but because of Jim Holdaway’s amazing artwork. (The stuff that Bunche showed me is not fit for human eyes.)

    I had the misfortune of seeing one of the Modesty Blaise films, and even my love of Terrance Stamp couldn’t save the boring, psychedelic mess of a movie. I’ve always hoped that someone would give this franchise another shot as I think its got great potential.


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