In today’s world, clever premises are a dime a dozen. After all, the virtual explosion of cyberspace – if not the entirety of the information superhighway – has proven time and time again that “if you build it, people will come.” Well, sure, so long as they know how to get there and then (and only then) if you give those people some reason to come back again and again. To its credit, IDW Publishing has a pretty solid stable of characters, along with a very respectable team of more-than-capable talent. So if looks could kill I suspect a little something like THE ILLEGITIMATES could experience a long shelf life. As first issues go, it may be hard to tell – this one essentially is all set-up – but there’s plenty of reasons to rejoice a new title that pits the virtual children of James Bond (not literally but figuratively) against an international cabal of evildoers.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Global spy extraordinaire Jack Steele has led an impressive career. He’s chased the bad guys. He’s romanced countless women. He’s had a very good life. Well, he HAD a very good life … right up until the point that he ‘expired’ face first with a train overpass. Their back pressed against the wall, Olympus – that’s the worldwide spy organization Steele served faithfully right up until his untimely demise – finds themselves in dire straits … until the mission heads realize there may be more Steele waiting in the wings.
As fortune would have it, Jack Steele was a very ‘productive’ man in more ways than one!
Olympus created ‘Project Sire’ (get it?) to follow the many illegitimate offspring of Steele. Now that they’re short field operatives, management decides it may be time to bring all of the family into the fold … or see mankind suffer some diabolical fate because of it!
There’s a terrific tongue-in-cheek quality to so very much of THE ILLEGITIMATES #1. It’s almost as if you can sense the smiles on the faces of scribes Marc Andreyko and Taran Killam as they set their wild tale of modern spies in motion, and, based entirely on that tone, I’m figuring they have more up their sleeves for anyone who’s tuning in. The art is pretty slick by contemporary standards – Steele’s various sexual escapades basically mirror the cinematic exploits of Ian Fleming’s James Bond in so many ways, and we’re treated to one after another in the first few pages. It all unfolds expertly – a perfect pace – and that signals to this reader that there’s been some serious thought put into something that otherwise might appear overtly comic.
What’s in store for the children of Jack Steele?
You’ll need to be here in 30 days to know!
THE ILLEGITIMATES #1 is published by IDW Publishing. The property is created by Taran Killam; the story is written by Marc Andreyko & Killam; the pencils are by Kevin Sharpe; the inks are by Diana Greenhalgh; the colors are done by Peter Pantazis; the letters are by Thom Zahler; and the issue is edited by Sarah Gaydos. It all comes with a cover price of $3.99, and that’s not too shabby in this day and age.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. There’s no telling what might develop following this first issue of THE ILLEGITIMATES, and, in some ways, that’s the charm of it all. First issues of new properties largely serve as set-up, and this installment does no less. All of the players are given a cursory (and only a cursory) introduction because the real substance, the real action, the real meat is going to be what happens down the line. There certainly are hints, but, until the curtain is drawn back (or the pages flipped) on those subsequent releases, you’re expected to be here in 30 days. And why not? There’s murder. There’s mystery. There’s intrigue. It’s all packaged in modern age spycraft – kinda/sorta the sons and daughters of a James Bond lookalike – and that’s enough to pique my interest. See you next time, folks!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at IDW Publishing provided me with a digital reading copy of THE ILLEGITIMATES #1 by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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