James Bond is the kind of character that could easily live on forever. We should know, we read the sometimes ridiculous but always entertaining James Bond comic strips that were ample proof of that. While Dynamite won’t be sending Bond to any nudist colonies anytime soon (we hope) they are sending him across the globe as he encounters spies from all sorts of nations. This issue kicks off a major threat to the CIA on United States soil. Just another day for Bond.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
As 007 closes in on rogue agent Rika Van De Havik, a deadly drone attack strikes at the heart of Europe. Russia’s covert ops agency SMERSH is plotting to split NATO – by pitting Britain’s MI6 against the CIA!
Why does this matter?
Andy Diggle has been writing a solid series with each issue serving as a fun self-contained chapter in a longer story. That makes it incredibly easy to pick up and enjoy. Luca Casalanguida is also doing a tip-top job, especially when chase scenes are involved.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
No pointing in politics!
This issue leans heavily on the American side of things, particularly integrating some Russian involvement with the head of state. Why does this sound familiar? M is working out what is going on with the bigger picture while Bond takes on a tracking task that goes tits up. While that’s going on there’s also a pretty cool element using drones as a weapon (which I’m sure we’ll see in a big budget action film soon) that pays off with action and violence.
There’s also an interesting bit of dialogue between Bond and a certain other agent (avoiding spoilers here!) that shows how he’s cunning on top of the rest of his skills. Diggle continues to show how Bond has real friendships with agents from other nations–even if they’re at odds at times–which helps flesh out his personality a bit.
Casalanguida gets to draw drones in this one and they look flipping cool. The use of color by Chris Blythe helps give the cityscape a dark wash behind the drones in one panel, and then a cool blue that’s somewhat sci-fi looking to convey the end of times for humanity as we know it. Or in this case, a top U.S. diplomat. The layouts, in particular how panel to panel angles help progress the story, are top notch. In a 7 page dialogue heavy scene for instance, Casalanguida keeps the angles moving, closing in, pushing around, and always giving you a new look at the characters and their emotions. It’s solid storytelling through and through.
Why are you falling for this?
It can’t be perfect can it?
While M discussing the bigger picture with an American does add some weight to Bond’s blunder in this issue it also plays out in a way that’s a bit too easy. Bond basically fails by falling into a trap, which doesn’t seem very Bond like. Most likely Diggle needed Bond to get from point A to point B in order to hatch the interchange with an old friend, but it’s not done in a cool or in an interesting way. This puts a damper on the action, which also is very short lived.
Is It Good?
While the story focuses mostly on dialogue and does have some interesting character work on Bond it also lacks the big action set piece that each issue has carried so far. That makes this slightly less interesting in its own right though it does build up the story quite well for issue #5.