Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Masters
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Simon Bowland
What They Say:
After World War Two, army intelligence groups created ghost cells called “stay-behinds” across Europe in the event of a Warsaw Pact surge. “EIDOLON” is the story of a SPECTRE stay-behind structure – ghost cells of SPECTRE loyalists acting as sleepers until the time is right for a SPECTRE reformation and resurgence. The time is now.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the first arc concluded for the James Bond series, I’ll admit that I struggled with parts of it, especially as it went on. I’m still wobbling between the idea of different teams with each arc being the best way to go or not, but Dynamite’s sticking with Ellis and Masters, which isn’t a bad choice. Part of it is just the struggle to adapt to the stories in this format over the course of six or so months for the longer arcs. It can be difficult to really work the narrative in an engaging way without repetition each installment or adjusting the flow for it. The VARGR arc had some neat things to it and it served well to introduce us to this Bond, but as an overall story it just had a weak middle. Thankfully, we’re at the start of an arc and that tends to be one of the strengths for Ellis.
With the EIDOLON storyline, we do get carryover from the previous storyline with the subplot about the turf war going on between MI5 and MI6 and the recently introduced law about operatives not carrying weapons while in England. Obviously things overseas are different, but you can see both sides of the reasoning for the law. Watching some of the political sides in play in London over it is interesting and I suspect that Ellis has something in mind where this will grow into something bigger, but I like where it’s going even if I completely disagree with the law as presented. Considering the lives that the agents lead, and the fact that they’re easily watched or hunted while in their home country, some amount of protection should be a given beyond their base physical skills. But such is the fun of politics and jockeying for position and power between departments.
With Bond’s story here, things get off to a fun start as he’s sent to Los Angeles to bring home a diplomatic attache involved in watching financial irregularities for the Turkish intelligence. She’s stumbled onto something, which the prologue dances with briefly, and Bond is there to secure her and return her to London. And that’s because she’s being targeted by a segment of Turkish intelligence for what she discovered as a rogue side is apparently running within that department. Bond’s trip to America is a whole lot of fun as we get him meeting with Felix, who gears him up well, and then some fun in his approaching the target and securing her. Nothing goes quite to plan, that’s a given, but it’s fun watching the action as Masters really does a great job in making it come alive with the panel layouts and progression of the action as well as some great character designs. There’s a little humor in this that may be a bit uncomfortable in the wake of recent real world events, but it’s a legitimate view of many people – in the US and out of it.
While coming away underwhelmed with the first arc of the series as a whole, at least read monthly, the second arc with EIDOLON is getting off to a good start. While we don’t get the SPECTRE nod within the issue, the teaser for it tells us that this is what’s involved and I’m curious to see how that’s all presented. Ellis has his Bond coming across well here and I like the nods to various past incarnations, such as Felix and the alligator, while Masters is definitely getting more and more comfortable with the property. There’s a good confidence to what he’s doing here with the layouts and the action that brings it to life while also hitting some great facial expressions when we see the characters interact, especially with Felix and Bond. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this arc.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 22nd, 2016