Don McGregor and Gary Caldwell
Dark Horse Comics 1995
Cover painting by Christopher Moeller
When we left The Quasimodo Gambit James Bond and fellow agent, Nebula Valentine had just had their asses kicked in Jamaica by a religious zealot, Reverend Elias Hazelwood, Ernest ‘Light Touch’ Force and Maximillian ‘Quasimodo’ Steel. At the end of the story they had made off with a semi-trailer full of weapons and C4 explosive.
Bond’s only lead is Elias Hazelwood, and his religious group, The Disciples Of The Heavenly Way. Bond decides to pay a visit to their Jamaican retreat. It is not so much a retreat, as a military compound. After scaling the walls and entering the compound, Bond discovers a shooting range, where The Disciples are being taught how to use semi-automatic weapons. Inside the building, Bond discovers a war room with a the plans to a New York building. He also finds the details of one of Hazelwood’s contacts. The man is Conan ‘The King’ Lash, and he is a ganga dealer.
While Bond’s snooping about, Quasimodo and Light Touch are meeting with Conan ‘The King’ Lash. He is preparing a shipment of bales of ganga to be smuggled into the United States. Quasimodo is arranging for bricks of C4 explosive to be hidden insides each of the bales. Quite simply, they are using ‘The King’ to smuggle their explosives into the United States at the same time as he moves his ganga.
Back at The Disciples Of The Heavenly Way’s compound, Bond is discovered and has to fight his way out. But Hazelwood’s men are not well trained (yet) and Bond escapes easily. Later he passes on the name Conan ‘The King’ Lash, to Nebula Valentine. She makes some enquiries and finds out where ‘The King’ has his ganga plantation. The Bond and Nebula decide to pay it a visit.
The plantation is hidden in the mountains and is quite a trek. Bond and Valentine decide to break up the trip with a sexual dalliance under a waterfall. Refreshed, they continue their journey to the plantation.
Upon arrival, Bond threatens to kill one of the guards unless he tells him about ‘The King’s’ next shipment. With a machete at his throat, the guard tells all. The delivery is to be made at a place called Twisted River in the Georgia Swamps. Bond then makes a call to his old friend Felix Leiter. Felix arranges for Bond to fly to the US, join a Coast Guard Patrol Ship. When the ganga delivery is about to be made, Bond and the Coast Guard intervene. ‘The King’ tosses his bales of ganga overboard and tries to make it out of the swamp and back out to sea and into international waters. As the Coast Guard purse ‘The King’, Bond dives overboard and begins to inspect one of the floating bales. Inside the ganga bale, he finds the block of C4 explosive.
When Bond awakens he is bound to a tree. Quasimodo decides to do a spot of interrogation and find out who Bond works for. Naturally Bond refuses to talk, so Quasi turns to more unconventional methods of persuasion. He uses leeches. He puts a few on Bond’s face and allows them to burrow, looking for blood. But this is not the worst of it. Quasi, then has Light Touch force Bond’s mouth open so he can place two leeches under his tongue. Then he seals Bond’s mouth with adhesive tape. I must say, even though the illustrations are not too explicit (apart from the cover, of course), this torture scene really plays well in the theatre of the mind. It is a well put together and at times excruciating passage in the book. It’s what we all expect in a Bond story – a bloody good torture scene.
As with all Bond stories, Bond manages to escape and makes it out of this rather intense predicament (As before, I’m not going to tell you the whole story – I’ll save some surprises).
The Quasimodo Gambit – Part 2 doesn’t move the story forward a heck of a lot, but it does tick a few of the boxes we expect ticked in a Bond story. We get a sex scene and a torture scene. Can we ask more than that? I think not.
The story concludes in The Quasimodo Gambit – Part 3