Review – The Illegitimates #1 (of 6) (IDW Publishing)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writers: Taran Killam & Marc Andreyko
Artist: Kevin Sharpe
Release Date: 18th December 2013

Jack Steele is a super spy. He saves the world. He gets the girls. He’s a swine and a hero and a voracious womaniser. Opening with a knowing and affectionate highlights reel of this James Bond-alike’s global adventures across the decades, The Illegitimates #1 is fun, action-packed and ripe with some interesting ideas.

It seems that Jack Steele, agent of multinational intelligence agency Olympus, shares Bond’s tendency to bed at least one woman per mission. However, unbeknownst to Steele, his sexual adventures have produced several illegitimate children, some of whom have inherited a share of their father’s deadly traits. When Steele is incapacitated, the fate of the world rests in the hands of these disparate bastards.

By invoking such an iconic character as Bond and then throwing in a probable but unseen consequence of his philandering,  The Illegitimates adds a cool twist on a well-known and often unpopular trope of the spy genre. Much like shaking one’s Martini, rather than stirring it, adds a cool twist on a well-known, and often unpopular, drink. Couple this great central conceit with a couple of moments which, while not surprising are certainly shocking, and the groundwork is laid for an interesting series. The problem is that this issue seems to be mainly just groundwork

The majority of time is spent establishing the scenario; it fails to actually start anything of real note. We don’t actually meet most of the titular illegitimates and don’t really find out how they feel about their absent father, or their being recruited as spies. Despite a lot of nice story touches and some smashing art – splash pages of each illegitimate’s life over the years with their mother overlaid on top is a great example of telling a story with one panel – The Illegitimates #1 doesn’t really go anywhere. Still, it’s all very enjoyable and with all the heavy expositional lifting dealt with, this series can hopefully pick up the pace, and deliver the action comedy romp it shows signs of throughout.

Rating: 7/10.

The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.

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