Review: The Illegitimates #1
Jack Steele: World renowned agent of OLYMPUS, super-spy, debonair, lover of ladies, man-slut. While facing off with his arch-nemesis, Viktor Dannikor, Steele faces his biggest defeat, but who will take his place? Olympus scrambles to find not one, but FIVE newbie agents to fill the void and, unbeknownst to them, they share a common thread. Can these five strangers embrace their fates and come together to save the world? They are THE ILLEGITIMATES! And if you called them bastards…. you’d be absolutely right!
A brand new series kicks off this week from IDW and Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live). Illegitimates tells the story of a super spy with a love for the ladies who ends up dying in the line of action. The only person who can take his place is actually five of his illegitimate children. The story is from Killam and he gets an assist on the script from Marc Andreyko. Kevin Sharpe handles pencils with Diana Greenhalgh providing inks. Peter Pantazis provides colors with Thom Zahler rounding out the cast with lettering. So is this a story with just a neat premise or does it actually deliver?
Jack Steels is a super spy and the top agent of OLYMPUS. His exploits are legendary, his love for the ladies even more so. Over the course of decades he has bedded many a dangerous female. When one mission in the current day (with a Jack Steele who is a little gray around the temples) goes wrong and ends with Jack’s death, OLYMPUS knows they’re in deep trouble. There was always a Plan B though. Jack had many illegitimate children, but five show exceptional skill. Those five have been watched and nurtured by OLYMPUS in case their deadbeat dad ever failed. That time has come and the children must be assembled. What happens when five young people find out their dad is dead and now they have to take on his last mission? They may be related by blood, but can they play well with each other?
Killam has a really great premise. The story starts out just as you imagined and goes into a James Bond parody as you would believe from the solicits, but it quickly becomes something very original. It’s funny, it’s a good spy story, but it’s also has a hook that really pulls you in. It seems that James Bond angle has been played up and now it’s time to branch off into the story of the children and how they adapt to the new world they find themselves in. Sharpe’s pencils, Greenhalgh’s inks, and Pantazis’ colors add up to some very clean, sleek, sharp artwork. This is a big, explosive, glossy spy story with all the bells and whistles you could hope for. You never truly see Steele’s face and that’s another inventive angle that the crew take. He’s important, but he’s not the star.
Bottom Line: Killam knocks it out of the park with his first comic book. This is a really funny and fresh story that quickly raises above the parody some thought it would be. The only real negative you can point out is the fact the solicits give the entire game away. Other than that, round of applause to the entire team and bring on the next issue. 4/5
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