All three strips in Agent represent the last “Blaise” work done by artist Neville Colvin, who was on the job for six years. A skilled pen-and-ink man who we’re told initially was somewhat nervous about drawing an action heroine, Colvin quickly warmed to the task — as beautifully demonstrated by the final fight scene ‘tween Modesty and her drug-enhanced doppelganger. One panel showing the twosome flying around each other proves particularly memorable. Also worth noting: a showdown in an earlier tale between a wounded Modesty and a brutish gangster known as the Wild Boar. As captured by Colvin, the mismatch reads as physically challenging as James Bond’s battle against the hulking Odd Job.
Bond, we should probably note, at the time of these strips was appearing in his last ragged Roger Moore flick — alongside a title heroine who seemed more than a little inspired by our Modesty. Still, the former crime leader, described by one French inspector as a “better class of criminal” than the “men without souls” currently overseeing the criminal world, has it all over Bond’s Octopussy. Ten years after her last original strip, Modesty Blaise remains Willie Garvin’s “princess” — and ours, too.