The climactic issue is here as James Bond must take out the big boss, save the day, shoot his guns (which were scaled back due to regulation) and be awesome, but is it good?
James Bond #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
To punch up the drama Dynamite has a wicked summary which reads:
The secret of VARGR is revealed, and it means that Bond has to descend alone into a nightmare scenario – alone. Just his gun and his skills versus a murderous conspiracy to turn Britain into a testing zone for death drugs. Dynamite Entertainment proudly concludes the debut storyline to the first ongoing James Bond comic book in over 20 years!
Why does this book matter?
Warren Ellis has made James Bond feel modern while maintaining the calm and collected nature of the character. He’s a bit more chipper than the current Daniel Craig iteration, but has still shown signs of his humanity. The art is fantastic as well, with great fight choreography and good pacing, bringing a realistic feel that enhances the action. Artist Jason Masters brings a thin and controlled line that’s perfect at capturing the controlled chaos of the series so far.
Wait…is that Q?!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Aside from the first page (and some chirping in Bond’s ear ), this issue is all about James Bond on a solo mission. To make it even more badass he’s told to extract himself and doesn’t. Bond wants revenge and he wants to end the villain’s plan once and for all as he infiltrates the bad guy’s battleship. This is about as boss as you’ve ever seen James Bond because he’s not only carrying average weapons (no silly gadgets to speak of), but he’s also pushed to do a lot of hardcore killing. This is as realistic a mission as we’ve ever seen James Bond go on. That’s pretty cool and something you haven’t seen in the movies.
It’s also interesting how Bond is portrayed: Ellis clearly shows us James Bond isn’t some smiling hero killing faceless villains, but instead he kills real people who act and react just as we might if we were set to guard some psycho’s yacht. Is it heroic what he’s doing? That’s left to the reader to decide as this isn’t some summer blockbuster but more in line with how a real agent might act.
That isn’t to say this issue is humorless because in the first page we get a Bond who has a spoiled nature as he riffs off his coworkers before going on to his mission. It shows us when he’s at work (with coworkers) he’s different than when he’s working (killing bad guys). This shows us how complex James Bond can be if written correctly.
So what about all this action I speak of? This issue is filled with it and Masters kills it in so many ways. From a full page spread divided down the middle by Bond climbing down a ladder (which looks very cool) to a panel ala Oldboy, to an awesome panel showcasing where the bullets enter each body (is this a reference Riki-Oh?) there are a lot of inventive ways Bond goes about infiltrating and taking out the henchmen. In another full page spread we see Bond snoop about the boat and in eight panels laid out beautifully we see he’s everywhere.
To showcase how brutal the scenes get, in a two page sequence Bond gets shot, brings the battle to hand to hand combat, and uses his wits to submit the bad guy. It’s brutal, told in enough panels to feel articulate in the fight choreography, and shows how Bond isn’t beating every bad guy easily. This issue reminds you what Bond does isn’t easy and every kill isn’t equal.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Honestly if a filmmaker takes this comic and turns it into a movie the world will be better for it. Excellent stuff here folks!
He’s a rebel.
Is It Good?
This is the James Bond we need to see in movies. Like, right now. Fighting is brutal, realistic and hard fought and James Bond is subtly complex. This is an action comic through and through and James Masters proves he’s an action maestro.