Story: Vita Ayala, Danny Lore
Art: Eric Gapstur
Colors: Roshan Kurichiyanil, Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Ariana Maher
What They Say:
New series, new team, new missions! VITA AYALA (Morbius, Age Of X-Man), DANNY LORE (Queen Of Bad Dreams) and ERIC GAPSTUR (James Bond 007) present a fresh take on the world’s greatest secret agent. When a priceless piece of art is found to be fake, investigations lead down a rabbit hole of international crime and corruption. But what the hell does James Bond know about the world of art forgery?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
And once again a new James Bond ongoing series has landed. With any number of miniseries or one-shots that may come out, an ongoing that lasts about a dozen issues seems to be the other side of the norm. This series comes from writer Vita Ayala – who killed it on the recent Xena miniseries – and Danny Lore who are working with artist Eric Gapstur to bring it to life. I like all the talent involved as they’ve done solid projects and are competent and smart people that can bring to life engaging entertainment. I’ve been reading just about all the Bond books that Dynamite has been putting out and the variety in quality is given considering the resources applied to it. I actually liked it more once we got away from some of the bigger names and other creatives came in.
Sadly, the opening installment of this series doesn’t do much of anything to really hook me into it. Out title character of Bond gets maybe four or five pages and no real involvement in the story at hand at all. At first, it’s him making a plucky escape after seducing the wife of an ambassador. I like the blending that they’ve come up with for this Bond as it feels a little lighter than hat others have done. It’s a fun escape with some physicality and then we see him just at the very end of the book. The rest of it is all about famous piece of artwork that has been replaced while the real thing has gone missing. That brings in the team that knows the painting better than anyone else to determine it and then to start the hunt for it through contacts and other avenues in this particular world.
It primarily follows the investigates of Keys and Reese where Keys is intimately familiar with the painting as she had seen it and validated some sex years prior. She doesn’t have all her tools at the moment but she knows a Rothko is fake when she sees it. That sets them off on a journey to figure it out, which means they get away from the loudmouthed own of the Rothko, Davies. What we get as readers is a lot of filling in the gaps oft he bit that’s covered initially but honestly, a lot of it just felt dull. I wanted to become invested in what they were doing but it felt like the opening to the new series missed the things it needs to do in order to establish itself as a Bond book. The brief opening we get with him is nowhere near enough and the main story we get doesn’t provide any hooks for the reader to sink your teeth into.
I’m on board for the ride since weak starts can lead to great stories sometimes but I’m pretty wary. I like Ayala’s writing in general with what I’ve seen elsewhere but there looks to be a steep learning curve in getting the right beats down for how to get things started here. I can see the potential for it but I’m still unsure of how Ayala and Lore are going to write the title character and that’s probably the biggest component to get right.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: December 4th, 2019