Bond has been released from custody and is on the trail of rogue Korean secret agent John Lee. But is Bond on the right side of this battle? And what exactly is Goldfinger’s master plan?
Most of this issue follows James attempting to catch up with John Lee after being detained by the Australian authorities. Again, Bond finds himself in an uncomfortable position, as he’s always at least one step behind Lee at each turn. For a franchise that has always portrayed its lead character as something of an infallible badass, it’s an interesting change of pace to see him occasionally behind the ball.
Much in the same way that Jeff Parker is establishing in Dynamite’s James Bond: Origin series, this take on Bond is a bit to smart for his own good. He’s so used to being right that he’s consistently embarrassing himself on this case. This is best illustrated in this issue when he smugly tells Moneypenny that he got their asset back and she has to show him the briefcase filled with bricks that Mr. Lee swapped in.
As always, the action sequences are visceral and exciting, bringing out interesting aspects of the characters during moments of violence. While Bond is a smarmy jerk until the guns start blazing, Lee’s devil may care attitude never lets up. While Bond barks orders and lands headshot after headshot into the opposing forces, Lee is cackling and hopping through the fray like a kid in a snowball fight. He loves it. It’s moments like this that make me hope that John Lee will continue to have some presence in this series after this initial story arc.
If I have one knock against this issue, it’s a moment that builds upon a qualm I have had with this series as a whole, so far. While I do appreciate this more human take on Bond, there’s a fine line between fallibility and gullibility. Bond continuously buys into Lee’s games. Even when he knows he’s being played, it seems like Bond counts on Lee’s survival instincts to extend to his partners in the field, which keeps landing Bond in one predicament after another.
The ending of the issue features yet another twist, which seems to contradict what we know of Oddjob’s history as it relates to the James Bond canon. If this sticks, then it’s a daring deviation on Pak’s part, using characters that Bond fans are familiar with in a way that will surprise even the most devoted 007 aficionado.
The arc is winding up and the major villain’s plans are coming to light. It remains to be seen how this will tie into the larger Bond franchise continuity, but this continues to be a wild ride that is worth a read for any fan of 007 and his world.