REVIEW: James Bond Hammerhead #5 (of 6)

In this penultimate issue of this mini-series, time is running out for James as he tried to stop a nebulous plan which would see the British Empire rising again from the ashes of a broken and destroyed London. Victoria Hunt seems to hold all the cards, she has a Mexican stand-off with Moneypenny, she has the control codes for the Tridents and to top it all off she has a Hammerhead protecting her base whilst all the while looking to blame Kraken.  Still, not one to let the odds of any game of chance beguile him, Bond seeks out his old vessel as a staging point to launch his on counter attack.

Writer Andy Diggle shows a deft touch throughout this story, moving from action scene, to exposition  and back again with a level of skill and humour.  Between M’s threat of Moneypenny’s performance review all the way through to time spent on the submarine, the pace never falters.  It helps that Diggle has created a true femme fatale in Victoria Hunt who perfectly encapsulates the idiom that the best villains do not think of themselves as such.  In this case, it’s Victoria’s desire to have Britain back as the focal point of western world which drives her plans.  Six issues a story may be an issue too long for some writers, but Diggle has kept the twists and the turns coming as we move towards the inevitable conclusion.

The art is by Luca Casalanguida who continues to excel with this “Boys Own” styling that has a strong European vibe.  In his hands, the characters are vibrant if a tad angular.  I don’t mind this look as it does make Victoria more alluring with a contrasting sweeping visual rather than the sometimes blocky approach to other characters.  Panel structure is another strong point for Casalanguida, moving from multi panel pages that show quick and sudden action, to the splash pages which serve to remind us of the spectacle that a Bond story can serve.  Chris Blythe provides the colors with a darkened hue which emphasises the depths that this story is steeped in.  I will take the time to notice that the book features another fantastic Francesco Francavilla cover.

Dynamite Comics are quickly becoming my second go to publisher for excellent books, regardless of the fact that they are not the most well thought of books in the UK (yes, I am looking  at you The Travelling Man store in York!).  With their solidification of their Bond line, the ongoing re-imaging of some of their more classic characters, Dynamite are certainly creating an aura of quality about their line.  Coupled with the fact there are a number of Big Two books at $3.99 price point that don’t have even half the quality on show here, should means that the will reap their rewards with a number of new readers.

Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Cover – 5 Stars

Cover: Francesco Francavilla
Writer: Andy Diggle
Art: Luca Casalanguida

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