James Bond #1 (Dynamite)


Rating: 3/5 – Bond is Back… and Eating in a Cafeteria??
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

I’ve been a Bond fan as long as I can remember.  I started, as many do, on the movies.  Like some I moved from there to the novels.  The originals by Ian Fleming, of course, as well as those by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Sebastian Faulks (though I have not gotten around to the ones from the past 5 years).  I’ve read the Titan reprints of the British comics strips and the various mini-series put out by Eclipse and Dark Horse in the 1990s.  But it’s been 20 years since Bond has been on the comics page, so it’s about time we got some new adventures, now from Dynamite by Warren Ellis with art by Jason Masters.

After finishing this issue I thought that the pacing seemed a bit off for a 22 page comic.  Ellis spends the 1st 10 pages on a mostly wordless chase/fight scene that is the comic book equivalent of the pre-credits sequence from one of the movies.  Taken in the context of a collected edition with this entire story, I don’t think this will feel overwhelming, but here it ate up almost half the issue.  Ellis hits other highlights of the franchise, like the banter between Bond and Moneypenny and the briefing between Bond and M.   These scenes fell down a bit on the art for me, with Moneypenny and M’s offices looking small, sparse and populated with cheap furniture.  Not how I felt they should look at all.  The chair Bond sits in while talking to M looks like one of my dining room chairs.

Ellis ultimately goes with a nod to the novels and has Bond handed off to Bill Tanner, M’s Chief of Staff, for his mission briefing.  But this meeting takes place in what I assume is the MI6 cafeteria.  Seeing Bond sitting on a folding chair, eating cafeteria food, and drinking a bottle of water was disturbing to see.  Bond is quite a connoisseur of fine food in both the novels and movies and I can usually look forward to seeing him eating only the finest.  I’m not sure if this setting was written into the script of if it was an artistic choice, but it was a huge disappointment and really took me out of the comic.

Warren Ellis’ dialogue was solid throughout, but too little story advancement in this issue for me.  I’m enough of a Bond addict that I’m on board for this regardless of my issues with the art and pacing, but it is a definite “wait for the trade”… or in my case, just collecting the issues up that I’ll read in a chunk when the arc completes.  I think I’ll enjoy the story much more without the cycle of small chunk of development, wait a month, repeat.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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