The Illegitimates seeks to answer the pressing question, “With his globe-trotting career and philandering ways, just how many children has James Bond left in his wake?” And, the answer is a lot. A lot of children.
Of course, the secret agent character in this comic isn’t actually James Bond . . . he’s British super-agent Jack Steele. But, he’s obviously James Bond right from the get go. We begin in 1962 (the year Dr. No came out) at a card game (the way Bond was first introduced). From there, we launch into a montage of the highlights of Steele’s career—both his missions and his conquests. We get car chases, explosions, a brief tryst in an underwater lair, and more. Surprisingly, these scenes manage to be less outlandish than a lot of James Bond’s actual adventures. That’s the thing about satirizing James Bond: much of the action is already practically self-parody, so it’s almost impossible to do it over the top.
Then, we join Jack Steele in the present. Unlike the real James Bond, he hasn’t been replaced by a different actor every few years, so Steele is getting older. Perhaps that’s why his enemy, a villain named Dannikor, is able to get the better of him, and finally kill him in a rather grisly way. It has to be a grisly death, since that’s the only way we’d believe that the world’s greatest secret agent—who has endured all manner of harm throughout his career and bounced back unscathed—is really dead.
But, he IS dead, and now there’s nothing to prevent Dannikor from taking over the world, or whatever it is he’s planning to do. So, it’s time for the agency to break out Plan B (which, ironically, none of Jack Steele’s conquests ever did). Some of those illegitimate children that Steele has fathered over the years have been secretly tracked and groomed for just such an event as this. There are five of them, all over the world, and each with a different aptitude inherited from their father. It only remains for Steele’s superiors to gather them up and put them in action.
It’s difficult to judge what this story is going to be like long term. This first issue only sets up the basic premise. We spend half the comic being introduced to Jack Steele, only to see him killed in action. Then, we get a brief introduction to each of his children, which includes their names and specialties, but little else. We don’t really get an idea of what any of the people who will, presumably, be carrying the plot from here on out are actually like as characters.
Still, it’s an interesting concept with a lot of potential for action, as well as humor. We’ll see how things play out from here . . .