Kiss Kiss Bang Bang #4
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Mike Perkins
title Kiss Kiss Bang Bang refers to James Bond.
“Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was a song on the
Thunderball soundtrack and it sums up Bond’s
relationship with women pretty nicely.
They just killed off the Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang of Kiss
Kiss Bang Bang.
top agent Charles Basildon (the latest one to bear the moniker,
at least) took two to the chest last month and, for all
we can tell, has permanently exited the series (like I’m
gonna believe any comic character is dead without an autopsy
scene. Well, even then…).
the latest issue introduces us to Philippa Westlake; MI6
agent, only daughter of Lord Westlake, and the worst excuse
for a human being this series has seen since Basildon’s
introduction in the first issue (yes, that’s including
She readily pops
her combat instructor’s knee in the wrong direction
during a class demonstration and doesn’t even apologize
upon learning that crippling the man effectively ended three
ongoing covert ops, costing the firm millions of pounds.
When news comes in that Basildon is dead, she goes one step
further by chewing out her superiors for making Agent Shelley
the next in line for the Basildon post rather than her.
Agent Shelley limps into the MI6 secret facility (in the
heart of swinging London, of course) mumbling that she must
kill Lord Pilchard, Director of MI6. She brawls with Philippa
until she gets a good whack on the head and realizes she
doesn’t want to kill Pilchard (stay with me, folks),
then raises her gun to her own head. Naturally, Philippa
tiredly tells her to go ahead, and only Pilchard’s
last second intervention gets the gun away from Shelley
long enough for her to be sedated.
The dream sequence
that follows says enough for us to be sure that Basildon
is dead (heh) and arch fiend Lazarus Bale brainwashed her
into turning on her own people. But who’s to say how
deep he really got with his mental rape…?
Man, this sure
ain’t your father’s James Bond. Last issue,
we had to swallow the idea that Lazarus Bale was an Atlantean
who’d hibernated under the sea all these millennia.
I can buy that. I mean, look at the guy.
lost our surrogate James Bond. Again, I can go for that.
He was asking for it, and not just because he was a complete
and total bastard; he was a fool and borderline coward,
But now we get
Philippa? I can accept that she’s the most dangerous
person they’ve got and thus very well suited to the
work, but this is going to be a hard character to endear
to us after Basildon has already played the part.
something to be said for casting a man in the role of a
complete and total bastard. Women can play villains, abrasive
characters, you name it. But men have some automatic advantage
when it comes to being a heel. There’s some impossible
element of charm that worms it’s way through and triggers
something in our psychology that finds it acceptable and
even humorous for a mean, selfish rat to walk over women
and children to save himself. It’s probably some vague
sense that justice will be served and he’ll meet a
With female protagonists,
on the other hand, a bad end isn’t usually an option.
Oh, sure, a female villain will die in the end, and a saintly
character can be martyred, but far too much of our fiction
kills off all the men and lets the women off scot free,
so we just don’t imagine them getting their just desserts.
This could be
an odd couple situation where Shelley and Phillipa team
up and some of Shelley’s goodness rubs off on Philippa,
but I’m hoping Tony Bedard stays the course and succeeds
in creating a lovable complete and total bastard who looks
really good in a catsuit.
previous issues, the art and story stand up well, but Kiss
Kiss Bang Bang has started feeling more Crossgen than
James Bond since the introduction of Atlantis. Any attempt
to develop the series beyond nostalgia would lead to this,
but it’s hard to tell how that affects the story.
The women seem to have almost complete equality to the men,
the Russians aren’t the active bad guys, not much
of anything seems to be taboo… so why’s it set
in the sixties? Don’t get me wrong; the look is great
and the concept is a lot of fun, but without delving into
the setting, the series may inevitably wear thin.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has been a fun ride so far
and I trust the creative team to keep delivering an enjoyable
if somewhat exhausting read. Let’s just hope that
taking James Bond out of the book won’t… you
know… take James Bond out of the book.