Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: James Masters
With the upcoming Bond epic, Spectre, coming to theaters soon, it was inevitable that we’d see a 007 comic on the shelves this month. However, in a welcome turn of events, what we got isn’t one of those obligatory movie tie-in/prequel/prelude cash grabs. Instead, we’re offered a more thoughtful look at cinema’s favorite secret agent that occasionally borrows from incarnations past while still establishing himself as his own entity altogether in Dynamite’s James Bond 007.
Our first issue is mostly dedicated to establishing the scenario. Ellis saddles our hero, just coming off of a Daniel Craig-esque mission, with a new assignment and a stipulation that potentially limits his effectiveness. This version of 007 is different from what we’re used, a Bond who, on a good day, seems to view his job less as “the greater good” and more as just another instrument of government red tape. He’s a very lackadaisical super agent who, though formidable when he applies himself, would rather not apply himself unless it’s to a barstool or a condom (I’m assuming that last one). In many ways, he’s more comparable to a character from The Office than a decorated MI6 agent. As I said, the book is mainly tone setting and character development, but it’s stylish and compelling, true to Ellis’ form. It’s also nice to see the obvious upgrade in characters of color. It actually makes me wonder what’s taking Hollywood so long to give us Lennie James as M. James Masters, who previously worked on a spinoff of Red, one of Ellis’ previous works, is well suited towards such a witty, simplistic script. Each panel is cleanly rendered with a vivid color scheme that brings Bond’s shadowy world to life from the very first page.
Bottom Line: A visually compelling, unique enough Bond tale to separate itself from the rest of the mythos while still staying true to what we love about it.
4 Vesper Lynds out of 5