Monday, December 4, 2023



(With all due apologies to the THUNDERBALL movie poster.)
Back in 2018, I started looking at the James Bond newspaper strips originally syndicated in Britain's Daily Express in the 1950s and '60s. I got about halfway through the series, and then was forced to stop due to a number of factors in my life at the time. It was the first retrospective series I ever failed to complete, and it has bothered me ever since. I vowed at the time that I would finish my originally intended run (all of the strips that adapted Ian Fleming's original novels) someday. And now, five-and-a-half years later (seriously?!), it's time.

There are eight storylines left, but a few are based on short stories -- so I've broken it out to three posts in total, which will take us right up to the end of the year. And I know we're going to sail right through to the end of this thing, because unlike last time, I've already written up all the posts! As previously, the main crux of these posts will be to compare and contrast the quite faithful newspaper adaptations with the typically more loosely adapted (or in some cases totally made up) films.

For those who need a refresher, or perhaps weren't even born yet those many years ago when I started this project, here are the first five posts in the series:


And with that, we'll reconvene next week to get to it. See you then!

Monday, November 27, 2023


Stan Lee Presents: Dane Whitman, Master of the Ebony Blade
Writer Ben Raab | Penciler: Jimmy Cheung | Inker: Andy Lanning
Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft | Colors: Tom Zuiko
Editor: Kelly Corvese | Editor in Chief: Bob Harras

The Plot: In another dimension, Sersi attempts to open a portal to bring herself and the Black Knight home. They're both enveloped by light and then awaken in the twelfth century, where the Black Knight inhabits the body of his ancestor, Sir Eobar Garrington, in Egypt searching for an "Eternal Pharaoh" alongside his best friend, Bennett du Paris. Sersi catches up with the Knight and he recognizes her. That night, one of Garrington's men informs him that Paris has left. The Black Knight and Sersi head out to find him.

Meanwhile, Paris battles a humanoid/insect creature in the desert, and he unleashes his mutant power to defeat it -- then he vanishes. Sersi, meanwhile, fills Garrington in on her past with his descendant, Dane Whitman. Garrington realizes that he must turn his body over to Dane, and so allows his spirit to depart. Dane assumes control of Garrington, then he and Sersi are attacked by one of Garrington's former allies, Sahreed -- who reveals himself as a mutant in the service of the Eternal Pharaoh. Then a gigantic citadel appears, from which emerges the Eternal Pharaoh himself, Apocalypse. Apocalypse says that he has rewarded Paris with great power, and then later inside the citadel's dungeon, Paris -- now calling himself Exodus -- visits with Sersi and the Black Knight. He challenges the Knight to a duel and takes him away, leaving Sersi behind. But she immediately breaks free of her bonds and follows the pair.

As Apocalypse watches, the Black Knight and Exodus begin their fight. Exodus outmatches the Knight, but Sersi appears and mindblasts him. He overcomes her power and takes her down, and Apocalypse orders Exodus to kill them both -- but Exodus refuses to serve his new master and attacks Apocalypse instead. The villain then vanishes, and Exodus disappears with him. But six months later, the Black Knight and Sersi, along with two of the Knight's crusaders, find Exodus in suspended animation inside a tomb created by Apocalypse. The Knight's allies swear to guard the tomb with their lives forever, then the Knight and Sersi embrace and disappear, apparently bound for home at last.

Monday, November 20, 2023


Exciting news! I had wanted to cover AVENGERS ANNUAL #23 as part of this project -- even though it's not by Harras/Epting/Palmer/Deodato/etc. and really has nothing to do with their run, it was published during the "Gatherers" saga and is written and drawn by the legendary AVENGERS creative team of Roy Thomas and John Buscema -- but at the time I wrote up all the posts we just finished, it was not yet reprinted anywhere. However, just this past August, Marvel relesed the AVENGERS EPIC COLLECTION: THE GATHERING volume, which includes the Annual, and published the issue to Marvel Unlimited as well. So, as we wrap things up, here's one final little gem from the era:

Writer Roy Thomas | Artist: John Buscema
Letterer: Susan Crespi | Colorist: John Kalisz
Flake: Ralph Macchio | Assistant Flake: Matt Idelson | Snowflake: Tom DeFalco

The Plot: Somewhere in an empty dimension, the visages of Loki and Pluto meet and hatch a plot for revenge on Odin and Zeus by killing their respective sons, Thor and Hercules. Pluto agrees to kill the former while Loki deals with the latter. At Avengers Mansion, the Avengers -- Hercules, Giant-Man, Vision, and Crystal -- conduct an impromptu trianing session while Captain America takes a nap. Eventually, Hercules leaves to go on a date with a pair of beautiful women. Meanwhile, Loki heads to the realm of Tartarus, where, at Pluto's suggestion, he liberates the villain called Typhon, along with three of Typhon's fellow prisoners.

The villains ambush Hercules at the restaurant, but his communicard is inadverently activated as he falls unconscious. The Avengers arrive; however Typhon and his cohorts escape with Hercules. Vision suspects that Typhon's hatred of Zeus means he will try to execute Hercules in front of his father, and Thunderstrike uses his enchanted mace to attempt to warp the Avengers to Mount Olympus. But Typhon makes a stop in Hades, where he dunks Hercules in the River Lethe, which renders the Lion of Olympus an amnesiac. Typhon tricks Hercules into believing Zeus is his enemy, and then the group heads to Olympus, where Typhon makes a beeline for the Promethean Flame. He plunges into it and retrieves a magical axe, causing the flame -- and the lives of the Olympians -- to snuff out instantaneously.

The Avengers arrive on Olympus and battle Typhon's cohorts, but Captain America makes it past them and challenges Typhon himself. Hercules comes to Typhon's defense and fights Cap, forcing the super soldier to taunt Hercules into plunging both of them into Olympus's river -- which somehow restores Hercules's memory. He rescues Captain America from the roiling waters and then returns to battle Typhon. Cap grabs Typhon's axe and passes it to the Avengers, who arrive just in time to throw the axe back into the enchanted brazier which reignites the Promethean Flame. Reborn, Zeus banishes Typhon and his friends back to Pluto's realm, and Pluto soon plans to carry out his half of his bargain with Loki by making an attempt on Thor's life. Meanwhile, the Avengers return to Earth.

Monday, November 13, 2023


Stan Lee presents a glimpse into the future of the mighty Avengers...
Story: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh | Script: Bob Harras
Penciler: Mike Deodato | Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Paul Becton | Letterer: Bill Oakley
Editor: Ralph Macchio | Editor-in-Chief: Mark Gruenwald

The Plot: The Avengers, along with Luna, Marilla, and Lockjaw, are relaxing in upstate New York, at a cabin owned by Tony Stark, where Swordsman and Magdalene have recently been residing. Lockjaw runs off into the forest after a rabbit, and Hercules gives chase. He finds a teenage boy named Tuc in the woods, and eventually returns with him to the cabin as the sun sets. Around a campfire, Tuc tells the Avengers' fortunes -- including the facts that Quicksilver and Crystal are soulmates, Deathcry is destined to be involved in an interstellar war, Hercules must beware a "viper" in the Avengers' ranks, and the fact that Luna will always love Marilla. Tuc then vanishes

Later that night, after everyone has fallen asleep, Tuc visits Luna in her room in the cabin and tells her that he has done all he can, then he departs.

Continuity Notes: In a sub-plot scene, Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym visit Jan's attorney, who informs her that all of her investments are tanking and she is soon to be broke. Jan takes this in surprising stride.

Deathcry says that she's spent the past few weeks (following from last issue) being interrogated by Henry Gyrich.

Magdalene observes that Hercules has changed his speech patterns since becoming mortal. He no longer uses "thees" and "thous," but he does still speak with somewhat archaic terms peppered into his language.

Monday, November 6, 2023


Stan Lee presents a tale of the mighty Avengers
Story: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh | Script: Bob Harras
Guest Penciler: Fabio Laguna | Guest Inker: Scott Koblish
Colorist: Mike Thomas | Letterers: Bill Oakley & N.J.Q.
Boss: Ralph Macchio | Bigger Boss: Mark Gruenwald

The Plot: A Shi'ar ship emerges from the stargate in Earth's solar system and launches a probe toward Earth. Soon, in Manhattan, Deathcry battles a group of Federal agents in Mandroid battlesuits over a canister from the probe's landing site. The Avengers arrive and assist Deathcry in defeating the Mandroids, but the canister goes missing during the fight.

Henry Peter Gyrich arrives and accompanies the group back to their mansion, where he tells them that Shi'ar probes have come through the stargate to Earth four times recently, and that Deathcry was found at the latest landing point. Confused and angry, Deathcry runs away after Quicksilver expresses concern over her possibly withholding information from the Avengers. Gryrich orders the group to turn Deathcry over to the government, then departs. The Avengers head out in search of Deathcry, except for Hercules -- who remains behind in her room to greet her when she sneaks back into the mansion.

Hercules shows Deathcry that he retrieved the canister during the Mandroid fight. It contains a holographic message from K'rin, the woman who raised her. The message is corrupted, and all Deathcry and Hercules can make out is that K'rin loves Deathcry and is trying to tell her about her destiny. Meanwhile, in Shi'ar space, Lilandra is distressed to learn that the message was sent, and hopes that Deathcry will never receive it.

Monday, October 30, 2023


Story: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh | Writer: Bob Harras
Breakdowns: Mike Deodato | Finisher: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Mike Thomas | Letterer: Bill Oakley
Editor: Ralph Macchio | Editor-in-Chief: Mark Gruenwald

The Plot: CAPTAIN AMERICA #441: "Through the Perilous Fight" by Mark Gruenwald, Dave Hoover, and Danny Bulandi, Don Hudson, Rick Hoover, & Keith Williams: Captain America and Bucky battle MODOK, until the villain escapes. Falcon finds Cap, but Bucky is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Adaptoids take Free Spirit and Jack Flag to the A.I.M. command center, where they are ordered to dispose of the trespassers. Elsewhere, Superia and Snapdragon explore the island, while MODOK flies down into the huge crater in an attempt to stop the chain reactions across the island. Elsewhere still, Black Widow and Hercules explore the island, encountering Cosmic Cube-created simulations of the Widow's ex-husband, Red Guardian, as well as Taylor Madison.

Inside the A.I.M. base, the Red Skull confronts A.I.M.'s leader, Alessandrio Brannex, who reveals himself as the Super-Adaptoid. Meanwhile, outside, the temporary antidote Superia gave Captain America wears off, and Cap's atrophy returns. Falcon picks him up to carry him. Back inside, Jack Flag and Free Spirit escape the Adaptoid agents carrying them, just as the base begins to fall apart thanks to energy beams lancing up from beneath the island's surface. Outside, one such beam kills the Red Guardian simulation. Captain America and Falcon are attacked by Adaptoids, and Falcon drops Cap. Jack Flag and Free Spirit exit the base and spot the battle. While Spirit checks on Cap, Jack runs off to help Falcon. Superia and Snapdragon find Free Spirit and Cap, and Snapdragon battles Free Spirit, beating her. Superia grabs Cap, but more energy beams separate them. Cap is hit by a beam, but suddenly his armor appears and he flies into the main energy source, where he finds MODOK begging for help.

AVENGERS #388: The boy who previously found Captain America watches as Cap is sucked into the vortex. Within, Cap finds MODOK, babbling about the power of the Cosmic Cube being too much for humanity to contain. Elsewhere, Black Widow, Hercules, and Giant-Man watch as the island of Boca Caliente changes, revealed as a metal construct created by A.I.M. Quicksilver and Crystal rejoin their teammates, while inside the energy vortex, MODOK allows himself to be sucked into the dimension that birthed the Cosmic Cube. Meanwhile, in the ruins of the A.I.M. complex, the Red Skull is found by a female agent under his command, who flees over the power of the Cube. Captain America, now emerged from the vortex, finds the boy, revealed as an Adaptoid and the island's guardian.

The Avengers work to evacuate Boca Caliente's civilian population. Falcon arrives to join Black Widow and Giant-Man in searching for Captain America. Meanwhile, Superia finds Cap and offers him more of her antidote in exchange for his services. While the Avengers continue their evacuation, they are joined by Snapdragon. Cap refuses Superia's bargain, but the Red Skull arrives and takes her serum instead, then blasts her. The Skull leaves, while Cap and the boy/Adaptoid move toward the heart of the demolished complex. Black Widow, Falcon, and Giant-Man find the Skull's agent, who directs them after Cap. At that moment, Cap and the Adaptoid reach the source of the Cosmic Cube energy. The Adaptoid sacrifices itself to contain the energy and stop the island's destruction. Falcon, Giant-Man, and Black Widow find Captain America as the sun rises over the metal island of Boca Caliente.

Monday, October 23, 2023


Story: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh | Writer: Bob Harras
Breakdowns: Mike Deodato | Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colorist: John Kalisz | Letterer: Bill Oakley
Editor: Ralph Macchio | Editor-in-Chief: Mark Gruenwald

The Plot: CAPTAIN AMERICA #440: "Dawn's Early Light" by Mark Gruenwald, Dave Hoover, and Marie Severin, Dan Bulandi, & Don Hudson: Captain America tries to recruit his old friend, Demolition Man, for a mission to the island of Boca Caliente, but D-Man is unable to attend. Later, Cap meets up with his team -- his trainees, Jack Flag and Free Spirit, his former partner, the Falcon, his pilot, Zack Moonhunter, and his tech expert, Fabian Stankowicz. The group receives a briefing from Nick Fury on an energy surge from Boca Caliente which read to SHIELD as similar to the Cosmic Cube. Then Fury departs, and Cap's team heads out. On Boca Caliente, A.I.M. operative MODAM enters a chamber bathed with energy. Meanwhile, Cap's enemy Superia and her right hand, Snapdragon, observe Boca Caliente from a boat offshore.

Captain America, Falcon, Jack Flag, and Free Spirit swim to Boca Caliente and split up. At Avengers Mansion, Black Widow says that the readings Captain America recently went to investigate on Boca Caliente are identical to those she recently tracked in Canada, and the heroes depart to catch up with Cap. On the island, Jack Flag and Free Spirit witness the arrival of the Red Skull, who takes out two guards and enters A.I.M.'s complex. A moment later, the guards rise and metamorph, revealing themselves to be A.I.M. Adaptoids, and attack Jack and Free Spirit. On the island's beach, Fabian activates a small army of robots and sends them out to create a diversion. Meanwhile, Cap and Falcon find a deep crater, and Cap jumps toward it just as an energy flare emerges, separating him from Falcon. As Falcon searches for Cap, he is attacked by another Adaptoid. Meanwhile, Cap lays paralyzed until Superia finds him and injects something into his cheek.

AVENGERS #440: A young boy on Boca Caliente finds Captain America, out of his armor, laying on the ground. Cap gets up, and Bucky appears to greet him. Meanwhile, the Avengers have arrived on the island and engaged with A.I.M. troops. They rout the villains, and Black Widow reveals the readings she's been tracking recently are those of a Cosmic Cube. A moment later, Quicksilver's thoughts come to life thanks to the Cube energy, and the Avengers find themselves in the camp where he grew up, with his foster father, Django Maximoff, welcoming them. Meanwhile, Bucky helps Captain America fight off some A.I.M. agents. Inside the A.I.M. complex, the Red Skull stalks the agent in command, Brannex. Outside, two Adaptoids battle and defeat Jack Flag and Free Spirit. Elswehwere, the Avengers sit around a campfire with Django. Meanwhile, Cap, Bucky, and the boy find Falcon and his Adaptoid foe both unconscious. Cap suddenly weakens, and then a moment later A.I.M. operative MODOK arrives.