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The Scarlet Maiden

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The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers! Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword! This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers! Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword! This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find stories: ‘The Scarlet Maiden’, ‘The Moonman’ & ‘A Few Flowers for the Colonel’... wrapped up in a spectacular collector’s library edition! Featuring new story introductions by creator Peter O’Donnell, plus a host of special features and behind the scenes material — this latest addition to the Modesty Blaise library is not to be missed!


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The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers! Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword! This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers! Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword! This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find stories: ‘The Scarlet Maiden’, ‘The Moonman’ & ‘A Few Flowers for the Colonel’... wrapped up in a spectacular collector’s library edition! Featuring new story introductions by creator Peter O’Donnell, plus a host of special features and behind the scenes material — this latest addition to the Modesty Blaise library is not to be missed!

30 review for The Scarlet Maiden

  1. 5 out of 5

    Skjam!

    In 1945, an amnesiac little girl escaped from a Displaced Persons camp in Greece. After wandering around the post-war Mediterranean for a while, she was taken in by a Jewish Hungarian scholar named Lob, who gave her an education and the name “Modesty” (she added the “Blaise” later under unclear circumstances.) In 1953, Lob having died at some point, Modesty took over a criminal gang in Tangier. She was an effective leader, and soon turned the gang into an international syndicate called “The Netw In 1945, an amnesiac little girl escaped from a Displaced Persons camp in Greece. After wandering around the post-war Mediterranean for a while, she was taken in by a Jewish Hungarian scholar named Lob, who gave her an education and the name “Modesty” (she added the “Blaise” later under unclear circumstances.) In 1953, Lob having died at some point, Modesty took over a criminal gang in Tangier. She was an effective leader, and soon turned the gang into an international syndicate called “The Network.” Along the way, she recruited British roughneck Willie Garvin (about eight years older than her), who became her one trusted companion. Modesty Blaise: The Scarlet Maiden Despite her career path up to that point, Modesty did not particularly care for being a criminal, and had a retirement plan. She was careful not to directly involve herself in crimes against the government of Great Britain, and married a British citizen in order to get citizenship for herself. James Tumer shortly thereafter died of alcoholism. When they had enough money to live comfortable lives, Modesty and Willie retired to England, where Mr. Garvin opened a tavern named the Treadmill, and Ms. Blaise became a respectable country lady. Bored in retirement, they agreed to help British government agent Sir Gerald Tarrant out with a problem he was having, in exchange for Sir Gerald not pursuing an inquiry into the legality of Modesty’s marriage. This event in 1963 led to a long string of adventures. The Modesty Blaise comic strip ran from 1963 to 2001; after the first few years the stories dropped referring to specific past dates as the characters did not age. It was most popular in Britain, but had some difficulties in the American market as Modesty is sometimes topless, and takes multiple short-term lovers. (In the strip, Modesty and Willie specifically are not romantically involved, just very good friends.) This volume reprints three stories from 1981-82. The introduction shows some strips that were only ever printed in a Glasgow newspaper as it took different holidays than the English paper that was the comic strip’s main home. Each story is introduced with notes from Mr. O’Donnell on how it came to be. “The Scarlet Maiden” takes place on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Cyprian, off the coast of which the title pirate ship sank with all its treasure. On a holiday trip, Modesty and Willie scuba dive to visit a seemingly unrelated shipwreck. What they don’t know is that it’s situated directly on top of the Scarlet Maiden’s resting place! Amateur treasure hunters who have also located the wreck kidnap our heroes to get them out of the way. Modesty and Willie go along with this as a lark, as they recognize the treasure hunters are not bad people at heart. However, the situation becomes complicated when activity near the wreck alerts Major Redmont, a retired gentleman who is the last descendant of the ship’s captain, and Dimples Calhoun, a local casino owner and racketeer. “The Moonman” brings us back to England. Sir Gerald Tarrant took over Modesty’s Balkan contacts as part of negotiating her final retirement from the Network, but now there’s been a leak, and he needs her to check a list of agents in that area against her own records. Modesty is busy at the moment with her latest lover, portrait artist Alex Varna. Mr. Varna, as it happens, is a sleeper agent for the Communists, so it’s up to him to steal the list from Ms. Blaise. Except that over the last five years, he’s learned to enjoy the taste of freedom. Enter the Moonman. Mr. Duck is a top Communist agent who has a deep cover as a harmless UFO crank who claims to have regular contact with aliens. He looks and sounds ridiculous, so no one blinks an eye when he broadcasts seeming gibberish from his ham radio tower at random intervals. After ascertaining that Alex Varna is not willing to play ball, the Moonman has Alex’s tween daughter Julie abducted to force the sleeper to activate. Despite the Moonman’s cleverness, Willie and Modesty quickly realize what’s going on. But how to rescue Julie? Well, what if, just hear me out, what if aliens were real? “A Few Flowers for the Colonel” has Modesty contacted by a Venezuelan taxi driver who once did her a favor. It seems his daughter Luisa is a nun who helps at an orphanage across the border in Palmadora. Palmadora is having a revolution, so the sisters were trying to get the orphans to safety. Problem is, the border region is currently controlled by the bandit gang of El Toro, who is taking advantage of the governmental instability to operate freely. The now-retired taxi driver was gravely wounded by El Toro’s men when he tried to cross the border to help, so he calls on Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin to rescue his daughter and the orphans. The only available guide, though, is Luisa’s hotheaded and way too young for dangerous missions brother Anselmo. Once across the border, our heroes run into Colonel Rodney Spooner, late (very late) of the Royal Engineers. He’d retired to Palmadora to raise orchids, but naturally saving nuns and orphans comes first. Colonel Spooner is very old-fashioned and kind of sexist (he still refers to a woman’s leg as a “limb”), so he both hinders and aids our heroes in their efforts. El Toro is depicted as what some Christians think an atheist is: “God does not exist, therefore I can do evil things all I want!” He’s also overall unpleasant, planning to sell the orphans into slavery. This story ends on a more somber note than the last two. For people who made a bundle of money in crime, Modesty and Willie are surprisingly moral people; indeed, given the large number of lucrative illegal activities Modesty won’t countenance, it’s a miracle the Network made any money at all. However, while they avoid lethal force when possible, our heroes seldom feel any remorse for using it if they have to for self-defense or the defense of others. The art is detailed, and Modesty’s figure is often shown off to good effect. The stories are exciting and varied, at least in this volume. Content note: Toplessness, children in peril, rape is threatened. Senior high readers on up should be able to handle it. Recommended to adventure comics fans, particularly those looking for a good female lead.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The title story refers to a lost pirate ship, for which M&W get caught up in a hunt for lost treasure in the Caribbean. This is lighter, and definitely more humorous MB tale than many, with fantastic characterisations (visual and otherwise). The Moonman is a straight espionage, kidnapping on the side story, with a wacky UFO resolution. A Few Flowers For The Colonel is a snatch and rescue (a nun and kids by bandits) chase through the Venezuela mountains, with a cracker of a character (the titular) The title story refers to a lost pirate ship, for which M&W get caught up in a hunt for lost treasure in the Caribbean. This is lighter, and definitely more humorous MB tale than many, with fantastic characterisations (visual and otherwise). The Moonman is a straight espionage, kidnapping on the side story, with a wacky UFO resolution. A Few Flowers For The Colonel is a snatch and rescue (a nun and kids by bandits) chase through the Venezuela mountains, with a cracker of a character (the titular) Colonel hindering/helping our heroes. I probably prefer Romeo (a bit less caricatured) to Colvin. But I definitely prefer Colvin (very stark and clear) to Holdaway (a little murky). 9/10

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jaina

  4. 4 out of 5

    I.D. Roberts

  5. 5 out of 5

    A J Plews

  6. 4 out of 5

    Satyajeet

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  8. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

  9. 5 out of 5

    Connor

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ajm Korver

  11. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shyue Chou Chuang

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill Reynolds

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Clay

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anjini

  16. 5 out of 5

    Drea

  17. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karl Hickey

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louise Culmer

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ravi Avva

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Truelove

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mia Tasic

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan Grendell

  27. 5 out of 5

    DANIEL

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Moreland

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rol_endimion

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