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Condorman #1 of 2

Condorman was a 1981 movie about a comic book artist who becomes a superspy. But this isn't a review of the movie exactly. I am going to write about the comic book adaptation of the movie. Comic book adaptations of genre movies used to get comic book adaptations pretty regularly. They split Condorman into two issues. The first issue starts with a winged figure atop the Eiffel Tower. We soon learn that the figure is comic book artist Woody Wilkins. He writes and draws the Condorman comic book. He wants his book to be realistic, so he tests out the gadgets he has his hero use. Today he is testing the flying suit with the help of his friend Harry, who works for the CIA. The test goes seriously wrong and Woody ends up in the Seine, with Harry forced to get him out. 

Harry finds out about an important document exchange with the Soviets, in which the Russians are demanding the parties involved be citizens and not spies. For some reason Harry decides Woody would be perfect for this, so the comic book artist is recruited.  Going to Istanbul, Woody blunders his way into meeting up with Natalia. She is his contact. They exchange papers but a group of assassins show up to kill Natalia. Woody fends them of using the briefcase he has chained to his wrist to carry the documents for the exchange. Woody announces during the fight that he is actually superspy Condorman. The day is saved, the documents exchanged, and Natalia and Woody retreat to their respective nations.

We then learn that Natalia is actually a KGB agent, whose boss Krokov punishes her for going on this mission without permission. Natalia decides to defect and askes specifically for Condorman's help in doing so. When the CIA approaches Woody about helping "the Bear" defect he isn't interested, until one of the CIA men sees his new character design for his comic book and remarks that it is the Bear. Woody realizes that the Bear is Natalia and agrees to help out. He does ask for some things to help him carry out this mission. 

Woody meets Natalia in Yugoslavia. Some assassins show up, but Woody has a cane that is also a gun. Unfortunately he can't seem to control it, but still manages to take out the agents. The two flee into the woods and find a truck the CIA has left for Woody. They head to a town where Woody believes they will be safe, but by this time Krokov has called in a special team, the Brochnoviatch. This squad of killers arrive in a fleet of fast cars. Of course Woody and Natalia can't outrun them, so Woody hits a button and from the truck emerges a yellow car that gives them a better chance of escape. The car is still not fast enough, but Woody has had it loaded down with gadgets and weapons. He manages to take out all the cars but two, one of which has somehow gotten ahead of them. As they race toward each other in a game of chicken, Woody extends a set of ramps from the front of the car, causing the oncoming enemy to vault Woody and Natalia and smash into the remaining pursuer.

I remember this movie being a little dull, but reading this first book of the adaptation makes me think I should watch it again. It was fun and fast paced. It was funny, with little jokes like every city being described as being a place of gaiety and intrigue. Sure it doesn't make sense that the CIA would recruit a comic book writer who is obviously delusional to take on important cases. But it was the 80's, the Cold War was on, and we were doing our best to convince ourselves that every ordinary American was equipped to deal with the very best that the Soviet Union had to offer. Besides, if this story was as realistic as Woody demands his comics to be, he would have died in the opening panels when he jumped off the Eiffel Tower. So this is a silly enjoyable book, and I very much look forward to reading the second installment.


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