Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Masters
Colors: Guy Major
What They Say:
Bond is on his way to break up a small, agile drug-trafficking operation in Berlin. The truth about what he’s walking into is bigger, scarier and much more lethal. Berlin is about to catch fire, and James Bond is trapped inside.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
If there’s a series that really needs that little bit of a reminder/primer at the start of each issue, I’m seriously nominating this one. It’s not that the series is overly complex or anything, but with the monthly style of it and the fact that the book is written to be read in full for each storyline you end up going into each issue cold and taking that time to try and reconnect to where it is. A quick primer would be heavenly, especially if you’re like me and reading a ton of different books at any given time and may not remember some of the key details. Thankfully, as the book gets underway, most of it comes back to you. This storyline is one that’s still a bit weak at the moment in terms of the big picture, however, and that works against it as there doesn’t feel like there’s a compelling villain. And Bond desperately needs one.
With Bond being sent into a trap, it doesn’t take him long to figure out that he was sent to the wrong place and that it’s all in order to buy time. While the hope was that Dharma would take him out, he’s certainly proven himself capable. For Bond, he gets to spend his time dealing with the thugs whose nest he’s been sent into. There’s not a lot of them and it is fairly standard warehouse material that he gets to work through, but there’s some great visuals and layouts from Masters here that makes it compelling to watch the flow of. But it also hits in terms of character presentation, reminding us of the darker Bond from the early days where he disposes of the enemies he’s dealing with. There’s one English speaking one among them and it works well to show both what Bond does and how coldly but also the realization of his opponent and understanding of his own situation.
This installment also gives us a little time on the bad guy’s side, first in seeing Dharma and he she’s coping with her loss, but also to see Vargr put into motion and Masters being called out to deal with Bond. This is a brutal sequence as he’s sent off to deal Bond at the field office only to discover that Bond isn’t there – after he kills everyone else. It’s a kind of surreal series of events as the skeleton crew there can’t believe it, talking at first about how a 00 feels like such a Cold War relic yet enticing at the same time. Offices like this haven’t had problems in a long, long, time and the way it plays out is just unfortunate. It’s not comical, but there’s a dark kind of humor to it. I particularly liked that Masters really finds that it’s what he enjoys doing and that it leads to a familiar bit of sexual release with Dharma afterwards, reaffirming what type of bad guy they both are.
Though the serie isn’t winning me over in a really big way, I’m enjoying it more than enough to continue on and see where it’s going to go. The potential is there, but Bond is a difficult character to translate into comic form. Hell, it can be difficult to do it well for film. The books are still the gold standard for a large subset of fans while the mainstream side digs the movies in a big way. Ellis and Masters’ storyline here is moving along with its reveals and teases while giving us a good blend of action, intrigue and a touch of sexuality as well. It’s a solid experience that I really believe will read a lot better in full than it does monthly, but such is the nature of the serialized beast.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: December 30th, 2015