Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 349: <i>Kiss Kiss Bang Bang</i> #5

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it's now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today's page is from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang #5, which was published by CrossGen and is cover dated June 2004. Enjoy!

I didn't buy many CrossGen comics when they were coming out, but I did buy this one, and I was pretty peeved that this turned out to be the last issue because of CrossGen's bankruptcy (I also liked El Cazador quite a bit, and it was also not far into its run when the company shut its doors). According to Wikipedia, Marvel announced plans for a mini-series when they bought the properties, but nothing has materialized yet. Dang.

Anyway, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a rollicking spy thriller set in the 1960s, and it's an obvious pastiche of James Bond, with an added twist that, frankly, the Bond movies should use: the main character, Charles Basildon, is just a name, given to the top spy at MI6. It's the name that's important (like the Dread Pirate Roberts), because it has such cachet in the spy business. So when "Charles Basildon" is killed, the name is bestowed on someone else. At the end of issue #5, we find out that the Charles Basildon we met in issue #1, who was supposedly killed, actually went over and started working for the bad guy, that pale gentleman on this page. So that kind of sucks.

On this page, Agent Shelley there and the new Charles Basildon - a woman named Pippa - have infiltrated Lazarus Bale's - the pale dude - headquarters, where they discover Charles taking a shower. He disarms the new Basildon and, as Mike Perkins shows here, towel snaps Shelley's weapon away from her. In Panel 2, Bale is bent over cringing a bit because Shelley just clocked him on the head with her gun. Perkins draws Basildon with a nice smirk, because this isn't the first time Shelley has seen him naked - the Bondian parallels are obvious. Perkins gives both Bale and Basildon good contemptuous expressions in Panel 3, with Basildon's cocked eyebrow the final thing we see, as Bale and Basildon obviously have nefarious plans for Shelley and Pippa. Oh dear.

Tony Bedard wrote this, and while he doesn't need to give us a lot of information on this page, he does a good job showing us Basildon's personality in just a few lines. Basildon is obviously a chauvinist pig, and Bedard doesn't need to write much to get that across. Obviously, in case we've forgotten what he looks like, Shelley's name-calling establishes who he is, but it's certainly not intrusive. Bedard doesn't have much to do, but he does it well.

Finally, I'm not sure what is on Basildon's left in Panel 2. It's a painting on the wall, but it looks like a volcano erupting or a star exploding. We see it in a couple of other panels, but there's no indication if it's important at all. The steam in the same panel is from the shower from which Basildon has just emerged. He's remarkably dry, I know, but that's the way Perkins wanted it!

I do wish Marvel would revive this series. It was pretty darned cool. So sad that it died an ignoble death!

Next: A not-at-all controversial ending to a fairly controversial comic book! What could it be? This character has certainly appeared before in the archives!

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