Review: James Bond: Service (One-Shot)

Before I get into the review, let’s take a couple of moments to remember Sir Roger Moore, who passed away at the age of 89 this week.  For many people, he was the James Bond, a quintessential, suave, English spy, totally unflappable and quick with a pithy one liner.  Thank you Sir, for Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Sir Roger Moore – 14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017

Very much like the Bond movies themselves, Dynamite’s recent love affair with Bond has taken many guises; each one different yet the same in various ways.  Sure there are some consistencies, but mainly it feels the Dynamite have taken a leaf from the Ian Fleming books rather than stray into Connery, Moore, Brosnan and Craig-athons.  That is until now.

Structured in a them versus us, as many of these types of stories are, it is a little surprising to find out it us versus U.S.  With a new Secretary of State casting aspirations of doubt on the special relationship between the two countries, minimizing the U.K’s use to the States, its up to Bond to decode a cipher, find the real culprit and of course save the day.

Kieron Gillen is writer with a raft of credits over in the Marvel and Image universes.  I haven’t read much of his work to be honest, mainly because I am a DC fan.  This effectively means that I am caught a tad unawares; is the book in front of me indicative of Gillen’s work?  I can’t really say.  I can say that in comparison to some of the other Bond writers that have graced Dynamite’s efforts, this is probably the weakest.  Please don’t get me wrong, the story holds up well, the set up is interesting, although the key to it all is no real secret. The dialogue can be hit and miss with some of the humour forced and eye rolling in nature.  This is especially true when the characters go to into “lets explain everything” mode which does slow the pace of the story.

The art is provided by Antonio Fuso who has a scratchy style on show, possibly to show that spy work isn’t all glamour.  That’s a laudable goal indeed.  However, part of the artist’s role is to make the book look attractive in some way.  For me, Fuso fails massively in this respect as,there is nothing to really scream or shout about regarding how the art looks.  I suppose that the final battles have a level of perspective action about them, but by then, it  is a little to late. I am neither shaken or stirred! Colors by Chris O’Halloran suffers as they need to match the art.  Artistically, one saving grave is the fantastic cover by Jamie McKelvie  which is reminiscent of so many Bond movie opening titles.

Over the last few months I have extolled the quality of the books that Dynamite have been putting out.  Now, I am not saying I have changed my mind; one less than excellent book does not a poor range of comics make, unless of course it’s Marvel and there is a stream of them.  Still, with the previously strong Bond books, I expected more, especially at $7.99 a pop.

Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 2.5 Stars
Colors – 3 Stars

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Antonio Fuso

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