I am an unabashed James Bond fan. Yes the books were a product of their times. Misogynistic, sadly often. Racist, unfortunately yes. But when handled correctly, it is some of the best adventure fiction ever written. Dynamite handed this ostensibly controversial character to Warren Ellis, arguably one of the best writers in comics. And he nails it.
Dynamite took on some of the traditional inequalities of Ian Fleming’s creation by flipping some characters in a positive way, I won’t go into details simply because I enjoyed the surprise of seeing the new characterizations. What he didn’t change is the great witty dialogue and boyish bravado that Bond brings with him. Boyish bravado you say? James Bond is a man among men! A man’s man! Yup but I think I can state without fear of contradiction that those very qualities that are ascribed to him as being manly are the same qualities every pre-pubesent boy sees as manly. The incessant flirting, the bravery in the face of, well anything, all fantasies of the male animal. The book promises the broken side of Bond but issue one gave us a very solid depiction of the Bond every man, at one time or another, wanted to be.
“VARGR” begins with the customary Bond pre-title action sequence and it’s extremely well done. I loved the descision to keep James’ face obscured during the scene.
What more can I say? It’s a first issue so it does set up the story, a small unimportant drug dealer they’d like him to dissuade from doing business on Her Majesty’s soil. And we all know it will be that simple, cough cough. My only complaint is having always gotten my Bond fix from novels or movies the shorter comic book format seems a bit too quick for my tastes. My only other concern would be that Dynamite positions the book as “the first story in the ongoing James Bond comic series by best-selling writer Warren Ellis” I love Ellis, and I love Bond but I think an ongoing may get stale. Better to have released story after story as their own stand alone arcs, the same way the movies and novels have been done for decades. Most of us would be hard pressed to come up with what “number” the most recent Bond film Spectre would be and the inverse “did you read James Bond #37?” may not have the legs that series of self contained story arcs might.
That being said this is a tight well written story, that exudes the James Bond wit and charm we’ve come to expect. The art is at times arresting in its portrayal of violence and yet able to convey beauty just as adroitly. Ongoing or not I’ll be asking my comic shop to add James Bond to my pullist for the foreseeable future.
James Bond fans? You have a new mission. Buy this comic. 4 out of 5 stars for James Bond Vargr #1!
James Bond Vargr #1
Writer: Ellis, Warren
Artist: Masters, Jason
On Sale: November 04, 2015
Diamond Id: SEP151205