Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Masters
Colors: Guy Major
What They Say:
James Bond is in Berlin, alone, unarmed and with no idea of the forces ranged in secret against him. If he can make it to the Embassy, he might survive for a few hours more. But he’s getting into that car with that woman, which means he has only minutes to live…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of the new James Bond series certainly gave us an interesting look at Warren Ellis’ version of the character. There’s a mixture of different type of interpretations here that works well and will certainly develop more personality over time. There’s a great telling moment along the way that’s going to be a part of the changing definition of the character in the years to come where Bond talks about how he learned from those that spent their years in the service of Britain when it was an empire whereas he wasn’t. There’s a generational tone and shift we’ve seen in the films from how the world worked to where it now and that evolution is certainly interesting to watch unfold.
With Bond off on his current mission to deal with some of the outstanding things from 006’s death, that has him now in Berlin and making his way to the meeting with those from the service there. It’s an interesting sequence that unfolds as we get the woman there to meet him, Dharma Reach, reveal that she’s intent on killing him in the midst of the drive. With her being an agent for some other organization, and not quite the best one in some ways, it’s the kind of moment where Bond isn’t on top of his game and has to struggle. But part of that also comes from the way that he’s underserved in his needs in travel since he can’t have his gun as it’s been shipped ahead of him. With Reach having something very different about her with a high-tech prosthetic that he susses out, it’s a nicely done dangerous situation that he ends with a wonderfully classic 007 casual closure.
The balance to this is some good time with the Berlin group in its lower level offices. It’s an interesting experience since they’re mostly younger, mostly eager, and fairly reverential of the rare 00 sighting. It puts some of the mystique back into it as we see how he’s viewed since it should be a rare thing for a 00 member to be seen and involved with. All of this shuffles Bond off to his current assignment, which feels undercooked in terms of its presentation in this particular issue. It’s nudging things forward and making it clear the high-tech prosthetics industry that exists and how he’ll get drawn into it more since it’s a given that Reach was involved there, but the way the story is presented just feels haphazard in the monthly form as it’s really written to be read as an entire arc. The gap between issues, just a normal month, makes a book like this difficult with its flow.
Though I’m certainly digging the series and the things it’s bringing the surface to prod at and figure out what works, it’s also a book that I know is just going to work so much better in trade or rapid reading as opposed to monthly. Even more so for someone like me that consumes far too much material and can lose track of the various threads in some of the more complex stories. Ellis continues to present a Bond of his own creation here that’s influenced by a whole lot, staying true to the core while giving it just enough of his own style to it. It’s all brought up well with Master’s artwork as there’s a good spycraft kind of approach here with its designs that’s just quite appealing. The pacing is solid enough and I enjoyed the action sequence that we get combined with the character bits about the changing nature of the trade and all that’s involved. It’s not an out of the park book, but Bond is a difficult character to write in a truly engaging way in this format since you’re not able to get deep into his mindset like the novels nor have the same flow and tight “presence of the moment” of a film.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: December 2nd, 2015