Review - Illegitimates #1

"Gentlemen, it appears my luck's run out."

Being an international man of mystery comes with great danger and the thrill of living life with little restrictions. Sometimes though, life catches up with all that adventure and leaves a rather lasting impression on both the adventurer and those around them. In Illegitimates #1 from IDW Publishing, it's that reality that proves to be slightly more adventurous than the original adventure. The issue is created by Taran Killam, written by Marc Andreyko, penciled by Kevin Sharpe, inked by Diana Greenhalgh, colored by Peter Pantazis and lettered by Thom Zahler.

When it comes to missions of daring and being suave, Jack Steele is one of those you want to send in to get the job done. The thing is, such a debonair flirt tends to enjoy every aspect of his job, including seducing women in just about all of his missions. Such a joie de vivre leads to the inevitable parenthood, only in this case, Jack's not in a position to see his offspring succeed. Now, it's up to Vin Darlington, Kiken Kaze, Saalinge M'Chumba, Leandros Antonio Caliestas and Charlie Lordsley to save the day and keep the world from falling into evil hands.

Everyone knows the story of James Bond, traveling to exotic locales, saving the day and even spending quality time with a wide variety of women. In Bond's case, he always manages to make it out, shaken but not necessarily defeated. Killam's concept is interesting, in that it looks a bit at what would happen after Bond's career if reality were, well, real. Andreyko moves the story along extremely briskly, introducing the reader to Jack Steele, setting up the premise of the story and presenting the offspring. There's a lot going on in the issue, with dialogue that moves just as fast as the story's pacing itself, providing a rather unique look at a familiar tale.

Sharpe's pencils are very bombastic, bringing the script to life. He effectively illustrates a wide variety of actions and really helps the reader feel as if they're traveling the world alongside Jack and, eventually, his kids. There are a lot of panels crammed into the pages, but it's the full-page panels that probably draw the most attention. These do the job of showing everything that the Steele family is going through and really sums up their plights and pending importance. There's one particularly gory panel that is pretty full of blood and may turn some readers off, but other than that the book is pretty even-keel when it comes to the violence.

Illegitimates #1 is a pretty lighthearted book that doesn't take itself too seriously, which really helps the book be that much more enjoyable. There's a hint of misogyny in it, but that comes with the territory when you're basing a character so blatantly on James Bond. Still, the premise behind the book is interesting enough and proposes to answer a pretty big what if that many viewers of the Bond franchise likely have. Hopefully, the creative team can keep things up and continue to take the series in a generally positive direction that keeps up the momentum.

Illegitimates #1 is in stores December 18 with interiors below.