It has been a while since I spent some time with the James Bind comic book. Since my last review, I finally got round to watching Spectre and was left more than a little disappointed. Still, not one to be deterred I am back on the case.
Having missed a few issues means that there are some mild continuity buoys to dodge, but overall this issue is a quite simple affair. There is the big bad who does evil things whilst looking like Two-Face; there is political intrigue as government department looks to wield more power than other government departments and there is the small job of James rescuing a fellow agent from her assignment as her cover has been blown. All in all, a normal day at the office.
Warren Ellis is probably one of my favourite writers and I have to say, here, his writing doesn’t disappoint. The various elements are juggled in way that doesn’t detract from the pace of the book. Given that the action scene gets the most pages and panels, Ellis spends the rest of book equally dividing his focus. Given that we know that this will not be the simple job it seems, we are waiting for the fun to begin, but unlike times when we are waiting at the dentists, here the wait is enjoyable. The dialogue is fun; the give and take of comrades and the doubt of Birdwhislte’s situation being the highlights, each creating a level of humour in what could be a straight up action book. Ellis even manages to take a pop at gun control, which is a debate that has hit the real world in recent weeks.
Where the book suffers is the art. Jason Masters style is quite sedate, pedestrian even. For the most part, the action scenes lack any real movement with only the reversing car chase carrying any sort of momentum. It may be that as this Bond has more in common with his literary counter-part, Masters may have decided to go for a classic look, rather than what you would expect to see in a comic book. But this is a comic book and for any book to work, the writing and the art have to work hand in hand. As it is, reading this book is the pleasure, where looking at the art is the chore. It is a shame really, as the first few pages with the big bad are impressive, carrying a menace that is remarkable bearing in mind we all know that the dude in the chair is going to get killed. Colors by Guy Majors are a bit of a mixed bag also. They work really well in the opening scenes and the car scenes, but there is a bit of a nondescript element to the rest. It may be the choice of Majors to go in that direction, especially as that covers an airport. As it is, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
This series remains a bit of enigma for me. The writing is great, from the first page to the last. The art can be ok, but for largess parts doesn’t work with the story. I am not a huge Bond fan, but there is enough in the book to keep me entertained. True fans may well feel that this book is fantastic. For me, despite the great writing, there is a lack of cinematography to the art which unfortunately does detract from the overall look and feel of the book.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 2.5 Stars
Colors -4 Stars