JAMES BOND 007 #2 (Dynamite Entertainment, December 2015) “Vargr” Warren Ellis, writer. Jason Masters, artist. Guy Majors, colors. Simon Bowland, letters. James Bond created by Ian Fleming.
With the Issue #1 introductions and formalities out of the way, Issue #2 of JAMES BOND 007 gets into the meat of the story and does so in standard Bond fashion with action upfront. That’s the way we like our Bond and have come to anticipate it.
I shared my copy of Issue #1 with family members, who commented that there were lots of caption-less and dialogue-free panels. “Too many pictures” was the comment. “Not enough story. It reads too fast and doesn't deliver enough for the money.” That is a valid opinion and one that may be shared by many readers. Another opinion, and one that I share, is that this is the way we like our James Bond - - things happen fast and with lots of action. What better way to illustrate action, especially violent fighting, than to let the art depict what happens unencumbered by dialogue? In the real world, how much talking goes on during a life and death struggle? One of the best things about this newest version of James Bond is the art and how brilliantly these fight scenes are detailed with “pictures” alone and nothing else.
One of the other things that make this comic worthwhile is that Warren Ellis “gets it”. He reminds us that this is James Bond not by beating us over the head with details but through the subtle nuances and actions of the character.
Ellis gets his Bond banter between both female and male characters right, with clever and sometimes cunning sarcastic comments and answers. My favorite Bond line occurs during a discussion with his German counterparts about the spy game in modern times: “Do you know why MI6 continues to impress? Because Britain lost her empire first, so we learned how to club people quietly in the dark first.”
In Issue #1, Bond is assigned to Berlin to investigate a new producer of some potentially fatal street drugs with a pharmaceutical signature linking it to a prominent high-tech research company. He also learns that due to new regulations he must travel weapons-free until he arrives at his destination. That sets Bond up for an attempt on his life in the beginning of Issue #2, shortly after his arrival in Berlin. He manages to escape and the details of that are in the brilliant yet simple illustrations across several pages. All action. No words. (Yes! Feels like I’m watching the movie.)
Bond investigates the connection to a cutting-edge pharmaceutical research company headed up by Slaven Kurjak, who may or not be an adversary in sheep’s clothing. Bond learns that Kurjakmedizin has ties to the CIA in America, who are partially funding some very interesting experiments. Due to his connections, Kurjak has identified the garage operation where the highly processed cocaine is made and gives the address to Bond. Is it a legitimate lead or a trap? Have to wait for Issue #3 to find out.
During the proceedings in Issue #2 we are introduced to another sultry woman with deadly skills and an equally intriguing Bond-like name: Dharma Reach. And the huge feel-on-pain assassin from Issue #1 shows up in a few panels. Meanwhile, back in London the after-effects of the new drugs are beginning to be revealed in ugly ways.
Bring on Issue #3.