James Bond is classy and a killer, which makes for a compelling combo. The recent movies have shown him to be rather emotional and depressed which makes sense if you’re killing folks and getting shot at all the time. Writer Warren Ellis has taken his first Dynamite Entertainment story on a somewhat different track, at least so far, as we find ourselves reading about a more chipper James Bond. Or is he? Is it good?
James Bond #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Last month Bond was hot on the trail of some bad guys in Germany who are using cybernetics in a very bad way. Meanwhile Bond is dealing with a new world where transporting a gun, or even carrying one in Britain, isn’t allowed. A bit grumpy over how things are changing he’s still on this case and he’s ready to deal some extreme violence to stop the bad guys.
Why does this book matter?
The first issue opened with a high paced action sequence, the second issue set up the bad guys (and oh are they interesting) and the third has to be…more action right?! So far this series has delivered a compelling version of James Bond that isn’t quite like any of the movie versions. Plus the art has been quite nice and almost comic strip like in its straight lines.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Ellis lays down the action in this issue, that is for sure. Action and gore to be precise, as brains get blown out and bullets literally shoot through spines. Bond was sent to a warehouse by the bad guy last issue and said warehouse is filled with thugs set out to kill him. The layouts do a great job keeping the action tense and exciting and it’s filled with surprises. And boy is there a surprise for our heroes supporting Bond in this issue!
Artist Jason Masters does a fantastic job with the action too. Another scene has a very scary moment take place with cold and calculated violence. In that case a bad guy is taking the good guys out, but the same coldness can be seen with Bond. Take for instance a panel that shows a bullet fly through someone’s spine via an X-ray. It goes a long way in showing the brutality of the violence. All the violence stops at nothing to show the damage being done which might shock some.
The most important element Ellis lays out in this issue is how Bond may not be as cheery and happy as he’s letting on. One character references the scars he must have and how he’s a little bit sad. Now that he’s hinted at it it’s going to be fun to see how he unveils James Bond the human being.
Which is something he does with the bad guys too. Ellis humanizes them quite a bit here although one might argue they’re straight up crazy. That said Ellis is spending time making them question their actions and feel bad about what they’ve done. This is creating a much more complex dynamic between Bond and the bad guys.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m at a loss as to what Ellis is doing exactly with the bad guys. He’s humanizing them, but also having them do some insane things. So far it’s not clear if they’re being controlled or just doing their job. It’s tough to relate or feel bad for them as there isn’t enough info yet which makes these scenes hard to grasp. How are we supposed to feel Ellis?!
Some also might cry foul as far as gadgets. Where the heck are they?!
What is their deal?
Is It Good?
This is as solid as non-superhero action comics can get. Bond isn’t just shooting his way through bad guys but using his wit and knowledge too.