Willie Garvin: Fate

Although Willie Garvin continued to appear in the Modesty Blaise comic strip until O’Donnell retired in 2002 (actually he retired in 2001, but a book-length strip based upon one of his short stories subsequently appeared in a Scandinavian publication the next year), chronologically his final appearance comes in the closing story of the 1996 short story collection Cobra Trap. (This last story is also called „Cobra Trap,“ like the book.)

The story takes place a number of years into the future, with Modesty in her early fifties and Willie approximately 60 years of age. During a caper to protect a trainload of innocent people, including some children, from a group of rebels, Modesty suddenly kisses Willie romantically (for the first and only time) and reveals to him that she is dying of a brain tumor. She orders Willie to leave with the train, allowing her to die alone in battle against the rebels. Before he can react, Modesty is shot dead, and moments later, in a mortar attack, Willie’s ankle is broken. Willie buries Modesty and then moves off slowly, hoping to escape through the jungle, but then Willie is also shot dead. As the story ends, O’Donnell describes Willie meeting Modesty in an ethereal environment, some kind of afterlife.