Last month, Bond and his group stumbled upon the camp of the German soldier who bombed their fleet. Knocking him out, they set about trying to figure out how to use his plane to infiltrate enemy airspace!
I have to express a bit of surprise in regards to this series’ story structure. The first two issues covered quite a bit of ground, taking Bond from bored schoolboy to showing his graduation from a secret OSS program for spy craft. The last few issues haven’t been boring in the slightest, but the pacing has been markedly more leisurely. After showing the readers several months in the span of twenty pages, this series has made this afternoon at sea last over three issues.
Unless the plan is to return to Bond’s training camp in the form of flashbacks or some other story device, it definitely feels like a wasted opportunity to gloss over so much of his development. But then, I’m not here to critique what ISN’T on the page, I’m here to talk about James Bond: Origin #5…and this was another fun issue of a series that I genuinely look forward to every month!
The big set piece of this issue follows James and Malcolm hijacking the enemy plane and attacking the German warships that were targeting them, but the real fun of the issue starts even sooner. A previous quibble I had with the last couple of issues involved the lack of personality on the part of Bond’s fellow soldiers. They all seemed rather interchangeable in the heat of battle, but we get to see them come to life a bit more in what passes for downtime (i.e., when they’re not being shot at). In particular, Ernest gets a few moments to shine. He’s willing to fly the plane and protect his colleagues, only standing down when they remind him he won’t be able to handle the aircraft with an injured arm. Even then, he manages to help out in a scuffle. There’s a sheepish nobility to Ernest that makes me hopeful for further exploration of his character and how protective the team as a whole is toward him.
The air battle is beautifully illustrated and Bond’s delight at firing his first airborne weaponry is infectious. He’s already sporting the devilish smirk that will become one of his trademarks in his future career. One drawback to this issue and last is how similar the designs are for Bond and his pilot, Malcolm. They have nearly the same face and hairstyle, so in the thick of an action scene, it is occasionally a little difficult to tell them apart, save for their attire. Malcolm’s flight goggles in the airborne scenes helped with this problem, however, and it was really only a stumble for me on my first read through.
There’s a thrilling rescue scene in the last part of the issue that dovetails nicely into set-up for Bond’s next mission. Whether this means we will see another slight time jump like in the first few issues remains to be seen. Each mission has leaned into a specific facet of Bond’s identity as we know him, so I’m excited to see where this series leads next!