Bond, James Bond
“I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do best isn’t very nice.”
These, of course are the immortal words of Wolverine. However I believe they could easily be spoken by James Bond, especially in his current ongoing title at Dynamite. Written by Warren Ellis with art from Jason Masters, this comic returns Bond to his dark gritty roots. Most people are familiar with agent 007 of Her Majesty’s Secret Service from the movies, where he is portrayed as the high-class gadget producing ladies man. This book however, as the cover declares is most certainly Ian Fleming’s James Bond.
Bond is portrayed as a merciless and more often than not brutal agent who will stop at nothing to protect England. The first few pages of issue #1 show Bond tracking down and executing a man responsible for the murder of agent 008. The fight is very intense and gory, Bond gets particularly nasty with some construction yard equipment before coldly blowing the man’s brains out.
While it features several acts of extreme violence the book does not lose the classic Bond sense of fun and humor, however dark it may be at times. We have many of the beloved members of Bond’s supporting cast including M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny. The flirtatious banter between Bond and Moneypenny will bring a smile and light snicker to long time Bond fans. Though mostly gadgetless in this story, Q does supply Bond with some high tech bullets and a collapsible sniper rifle that are put to good use dispatching the enemy.
Speaking of the enemy, this plot is classic Bond. Featuring a disfigured villain, vicious henchmen, and a plot to flood the streets of London with a killer narcotic. Ellis manages to update the character without losing the charm and feel of the era he was born into. While he may be combating modern terrorism and be forced to comply with London’s anti-firearm laws, Bond is every bit the classic superspy birthed of the cold war era. Fine suits, booze, and women are still his passions.
Ellis’ fast paced script is complimented perfectly by Masters’ vibrant kinetic art. The action sequences in this book move likely nobody’s business. From an intense shootout in a warehouse to a fiery escape from a high rise, Master’s keeps your eyes darting from panel to panel like a skilled action movie editor. He also isn’t afraid to show the psychical impact of Bond’s lethal work. This is not a book where people merely got shot and fall to the ground. Each bullet impact is shown in a bloody flourish of brain matter and gore. You feel every shot, hit, and jump, this Bond lives in a very real physical world.
As life-long fan of Bond and comics, this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. I greatly anticipate the next story arc from Ellis and Masters. But if you want to catch up with the first arc, entitled "Vargr" it is available in a gorgeous hardcover collection out now from Dynamite and believe me it is well worth your time and money.