Story: Vita Ayala, Danny Lore
Art: Eric Gapstur
Colors: Roshan Kurichiyanil, Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Ariana Maher
What They Say:
A fake is only the beginning…James Bond is forced into a world he doesn’t understand. Counterfeits, smuggling, following impossible trails to invisible villains. Can he learn to trust others for help, or will the mission leave him behind? From VITA AYALA (Morbius), DANNY LORE (Queen of Bad Dreams) and ERIC GAPSTUR (The Flash: Year Zero).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of this series didn’t quite capture my attention with how it was presented, which was frustrating as I really liked how Vita Ayala handled the Xena book so expertly. Working with Danny Lore, the second installment isn’t too much of a step up either but it at least gets us moving a bit and working the miss, which is a touch clearer even if it still feels very low stakes for Bond. Eric Gapstur has another good entry after the first issue but it’s still a bit more workmanlike than Bond should be as there should be some distinctive stylized elements somewhere that the artist brings to his interpretation of the character.
With the group back at M’s office now, Bond and Brandy are the one’s that go in and Reese is left out, which is for the best. It’s here that we get the clues that M has a relationship of some sort with M as he’s somewhat protective of her and frustrated with Bond for the job he had going so wrong. The banter feels a bit off because of all of that but it comes down to M trying to give both of them what they need, since Brandy has to find the Rohtko in order for her business to keep alive. That has them going off to Amsterdam to crash Collier’s party under Bond’s plan. The trio have an amusing ride on the train to get there as they’re all sussing each other out, though Bond has made both of them quickly already, which is why he’s able to shut them both down from being too problematic when his plan does go forward.
The mission itself is even subpar for Bond in a way as when they do approach Collier under the plan, he realizes that this is just a rented out location and security is amateurish at best. We see how they can get into the only locked room easily, that there’s no cameras tracking everyone, and that the few hired goons he has are your basic types. On the plus side, Brandy does get close to the Rohtko and all, but the downside is that even hired goos can be pretty rough to deal with. It’s a decent setup in that because nobody listens to Bond that they’re now facing some problems in getting past them, but it’s also once again just low stakes material that doesn’t make for a captivating stinger page to get you to come back for more.
James Bond doesn’t change much overall from the first installment of this new series and that’s unfortunate. I think we have all the right pieces for a good story from strong creative but something is missing in getting it to really hit right and move forward, lacking a clearer or more important throughline of a story. Bond gets more time here than he did in the first issue and that helps but he’s still something of a cipher through this creative team outside of his being far more skilled than the rest. I like the way the trio are operating here and getting things done together since it’s not seamless at all, which makes for some amusing frustration on Bond’s part. Hopefully things get better the next time around or in the next arc.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: January 15th, 2020