Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that James Bond, in all of his adventures, never once used protection when he managed to find some spare time for some frolicking with his female companions and adversaries. What’re the odds that Bond has a slew of kids out in the wings just waiting to meet daddy? In The Illegitimates #1 Taran Killam and Marc Andreyko imagine such a scenario, only our Bond surrogate, Jack Steele, doesn’t exactly get to meet the family.
While on a mission in Ukraine, Steele comes across one of his oldest foes, Dannikor, atop a speeding train. They fight, as per usual, only this time Dannikor finally comes out ahead, so to speak. Distracting Steele long enough, the agent meets his unfortunate end when his head is splattered into gore and grey matter when the train enters a tunnel. Knowing that Dannikor is planning something big, something that would have required the skills of the recently deceased, Olympus, the organization operating under the dual partnership of British and American special forces, fast-tracks Operation Sire. Seeing the potential in Steele’s illegitimate children, Olympus carefully nurtured their hereditary skills. We have Vin Darlington, an American expert marksman, Kiken Kaze, gear head and son of a Yakuza assassin, Saalinge M’Chumba, a South African spy, Leandro Caliestas, a Mexican martial artist/model, and Charlie Lordsley, the brainy daughter of a former temp at Olympus. All of them are ready to be recruited, Olympus just has to make a team out of them. Unfortunately, Dannikor is already aware of the potential threat.
Part of the fun of The Illegitimates are the various scenarios that could very well have been pulled from actual Bond movies. Obviously Killam and Andreyko have done their homework because Steele’s multitude of missions carried out from the ’60s to the present are pitch perfect. Foreign locations, bad guys in need of killing, clever one-liners, scantily dressed women, adversarial women, mercenary-type women…let’s just say there’s a lot of women. I was surprised, though, by how restrained the humor was in this book since Killam is a well-known comedian who most people would recognize from Saturday Night Live. Then again, Killam is credited as the creator and co-writer of the book, so the restraint might be coming from Andreyko, which is smart since a premise like this could easily fall into parody without having any real substance. And there’s no real sense of how the book is going to progress since the first issue is all set up. Steele’s promiscuity is established, he dies, and then we get a splash page per bastard child to explain their skills, the women Steele impregnated, and some beautiful illustrations by Kevin Sharpe depicting milestones in each child’s life. Well, everyone except for Charlie. Sharpe’s art is especially important given the rapid-fire pacing of the story. He conveys movement and action very well with the inks and colors by Diana Greenhalgh and Peter Pantazis, respectively, making the illustrations pop. The cinematic style of the art really reinforces the James Bond homage.
Final Thoughts: It’s time for the family to meet and oh to be a fly on that wall. I can’t wait!