This month, Bond tries to get close to Goldfinger and finds himself closer to Oddjob than ever before!
Something is immediately evident about this arc that I never anticipated, but am 100 percent here for: rather than sneakily fitting into existing Bond canon as I had expected, this series looks to retell its own version of 007’s first encounter with Auric Goldfinger. It even borrows some of the events of the classic film and novel and puts them through a more modern lens, such as Goldfinger cheating at cards and him inviting Bond over for a chat, as well as the ever-present threat of Oddjob.
It’s a really ballsy move on the creative team’s part to do a new take on a such a well-known and beloved James Bond story, but I love that they’re going for it. This issue manages to echo familiar moments without coming across as a copy. In the same way, it builds upon the expectations of Bond fans and then is still able to surprise with how it subverts those very expectations. The result is a book that feels like comfort food to a Bond fan, even as the danger presented feels altogether new and exciting. It’s something all of the best Bond stories do, this comic series included.
It’s always great to see Moneypenny assisting in a mission, even as the voice in Bond’s ear. Her exasperation toward Bond’s decisions feel very true to character. However, this issue also shows how well she knows him. She knows what he’s going to do. Even as he says one thing, she can guess the course he’ll actually take, because damn the rules.
This issue, while less action-heavy than the last few, features pretty much all of the trappings I consider to be Bond fiction at its most potent. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a total sucker for seeing Bond in a casino. Again, the familiar beats are there, including Bond flirting with someone at the table and his team back home’s doubts toward his gambling abilities, but they all build to something new.
I absolutely love artist Eric Gapstur’s take on Bond, who seems lighter on his feet than ever. It’s the perfect visual representation of how Greg Pak is writing Bond. After several issues of being behind the ball at every turn, Bond finally knows who has been pulling the strings behind all of his troubles. Likewise, he finally has a greater understanding of the tragic Oddjob, a.k.a. John Lee.
Bond does his best work when he’s not being swept along by someone else’s plans. From the devious smile on his face to his devil may care replies to Moneypenny, it’s perfectly clear that Bond is finally in his element and Goldfinger and company need to watch their backs.
This is even obvious from the fight toward the end of the issue. Bond finally knows how to play all sides of this battle, so he approaches this latest wrinkle with a confidence we haven’t quite seen from him since this mission began.
This was a fantastic issue that fully took advantage of some of the best tropes of the Bond franchise and showed even more spycraft than we’ve seen from 007 in the last few issues. It sets into motion a killer twist regarding Bond’s cover for the original Goldfinger storyline, so fans should be eagerly awaiting the next issue!