REVIEW: James Bond 007: Vargr #3

STORY BY Warren Ellis
ART BY Jason Masters
COVER BY Dom Reardon, Gabriel Hardman
PUBLISHER Dynamite Entertainment
RELEASE DATE Dec 30th, 2015

Back when I was a kid, you could bet your bottom dollar that at Christmas time, there would be a re-run of a Bond movie on TV.  So it seems fitting that at this festive time, I cast another eye over Dynamite’s latest issue.

Issue 3 of the series finds Bond still up to his neck in trouble, following a tip from “the cousins” regarding some drug traffickers.  What follows is a pretty much non dialogue heavy few pages as we see Bond in action.  This style is repeated later in the book; both times are very effective.  Even with all the action and the odd character development in the issue, this book feels like a transition piece.  Multi part stories need this sort of issue as they tend to be the ones that move from the opening chapters and into the second act.  Of course, some are done better than others.

I am a big fan of Warren Ellis’ work.  His Bond, as stated in my review of the first issue, has more in common with the Ian Fleming version, although the psychologist angle hinted at in the recent movies, especially Skyfall, rears its head again.  When Ellis uses dialogue he makes it work, the dating villains adding a minor twist to their relationship woes.

Jason Masters is the returning artist, displaying a high level of continuity of style.  There has been an ongoing debate about who is more important, the writer or the artist.  I am not going into my views here, but Masters makes a good case for artist, with some strong action pieces, that is full of pace and movement, even if there is tendency for large backgrounds with smaller figures.  Colorist Guy Major adds some nuance to the warehouse scenes, giving the book a somewhat mature feel.

Looking at this and previous issues of the series, I would be very interested in the dynamic between Ellis and Masters.  In my head, the lack of dialogue doesn’t mean a lack of writing.  I always think of the writer of a comic in the same way I think of a director of a movie. A writer knows what they want to see on the page and relies on the artist to bring it to life.  The same way that a director may have a vision, relies on the actors to breath life into the scene.  Bond fans may well give this book a look for a slightly different version of their favourite spy.

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