Warren Ellis and Jason Masters have been killing it on the first Dynamite-produced James Bond comic, but now it’s time to open it up for others to play. Writer Andy Diggle and artist Luca Casalanguida have taken up the reigns of this new series, but is it good?
James Bond: Hammerhead #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
So what’s it about? The Dynamite summary reads:
Bond is assigned to hunt down and eliminate Kraken, a radical anti-capitalist who has targeted Britain’s newly-upgraded nuclear arsenal. But all is not as it seems. Hidden forces are plotting to rebuild the faded glory of the once-mighty British Empire, and retake by force what was consigned to history. 007 is a cog in their deadly machine – but is he an agent of change, or an agent of the status quo? Loyalties will be broken, allegiances challenged. But in an ever-changing world, there’s one man you can rely on: Bond. James Bond.
Why does this book matter?
The James Bond comics are giving us our spy fix now that the movies are on a bit of delay, but they also offer a fresh take on the character. He’s slightly different from the Daniel Craig version (he certainly looks a lot different) which makes him a fun nut to crack. This new series seems to be devoted to delivering a more action packed series as well.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It was a dark and stormy night.
And boy is it ever action packed! This issue opens with Bond on a mission in Venezuela that goes a bit wrong, whisks him back to England and then back out to a new mission. It’s a well paced and entertaining issue from beginning to end. Diggle supplies plenty of Bond charm and personality, effectively opens with Bond in a somewhat new position, and sets up the stakes for the remaining series. The most effective element introduced is how Bond is up against technology-rich villains (or is it villain?). Typically Bond takes on the gun toting henchmen and dabbles with a rocket or two, but here it’s clear he’s outmatched as far as technology is concerned.
One of the reasons why the pacing is so good is due to the art by Luca Casalanguida, which is efficient at telling the story. The action is fast paced and the scenes are set up quite well. Take for instance the opening, which has Bond parachuting in to his target during a cloudy night. The atmosphere is dark and brooding which effectively sets the tone and gets the reader ready for a high stakes shootout. Once that shootout takes place it’s easy to follow the action all the way through. A silhouette shot of a stairwell later in the action sequence does well to capture the danger in the moment too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The issue is certainly a simple setup; maybe too simple. Aside from the freshness of a techno-rich villain, you’ve got the usual elements of M being mad at Bond, Bond being cocky, and even a Bond babe introduced too. It’s not going to blow you away with new ideas just yet, but give it time and the villain is sure to be a striking new element.
Is It Good?
If you like your action fun and fast paced you can’t do better than this. Dynamite continues to produce well written and highly violent James Bond comics for an adult crowd.