Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Masters
You can never expect to be let down by a Warren Ellis book. While I’ve always liked the idea of James Bond, I’ve never been terribly interested in the execution. Being a byproduct of the Cold War and an aristocratic export from Great Britain, the character always kind of grated at me being used as a hero in the 21st Century. Ellis and Masters’ approach with this James Bond book eschews all of that in a more modern take on the character. One who is more often than not slyly referred to as a Cold War relic, and an upper class narcissist, and one that’s more akin to the less gadget-heavy incarnation present in the Ian Fleming novels.
Bond as defined by Ellis is fairly pretentious, unprofessional, and falls into trouble on a dime. While not quite as suave as his film counterparts, this gives Jason Masters’ plenty of fun in the action sequence that dominates the issue with a shootout between Bond and the gangsters he’s been trapped with. That being said, some might be put off by the more violent take on Bond here. Masters and Ellis don’t pull any punches with just how ruthless Bond is, and how violent his profession is. He’ll take any measures necessary to survive, and that’s illustrated well.
The other thing that I appreciate about this comic is how minimalist it is. While there’s no lack of leaning on science fiction here, it’s still a fairly simple comic, the book leans more towards Ellis’ Secret Avengers or Moon Knight run than any Osborn-esque speechifying. While this book may be a licensed one, it takes its craft seriously, and Jason Masters gets plenty of opportunities to show off his version of Bond bulldozing bad guys, as well as fill in any lines on just what type of man he is.
So if you’re looking for a good Bond comic to read, or heck what may potentially be one of the best action books on the market today this is very much one worth seeking out. And as a person indifferent to James Bond, I’m very much surprised at this myself.
4 out of 5 Bourbons