JAMES BOND #1
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jason Masters
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: November 4, 2015
The most famous spy in history has made it to the world of comics as Dynamite Entertainment presents James Bond #1 by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters.
Bond fans have been waiting for a very long time for a comic set in this world, as the medium and the character just seem like they would fit well together. Ed Brubaker alone has proven that there is certainly room in the world of comics for spies, and 007 has finally arrived. He’s being ushered in by the mighty Warren Ellis and artist Jason Masters, a capable team to handle James’ debut.
This comic reads just like a James Bond film, from an opening action sequence to some flirting with Moneypenny and dickering about weapons with the Quartermaster. All the required James Bond elements are here and Ellis does a good job respecting the source material. He gives readers a Bond who is, thus far, timeless in that he does not emulate any of the eras of Bond too closely. For that reason he also doesn’t have the most personality yet, with the character at times appearing as a stereotype of himself, lacking Connery’s charm or Craig’s grit. Readers haven’t gone deep enough with this Bond to know what’s coming, though that is also part of the fun.
Any readers looking for some crazy spy action will most likely be disappointed by this first issue, as the comic is really in “mission setup” mode. As with damn near every Bond movie, after the initial frantic action sequence there is some downtime while the threat is set up and the pieces are put in play and Ellis keeps that structure intact here. The pacing does slow as the issue progresses but I have a very strong feeling that if he maintains the movie structure pacing this slow build up will lead to some very entertaining issues as the arc comes to a close. His dialogue for the character is strong, if a bit too on point at times, but that is part of the charm of earlier Bond films, what you see is typically what you get.
Jason Masters’ artwork has its highs and lows in the issue, with his style reminding me of McKelvie’s at points, or like the TV show Archer. There is a crisp, cartoonish element to his style, though the initial action sequence in the issue does not shy away from the violent aspects of the conflict. His Bond does have a certain amount of swagger though I didn’t catch as much of the charmer side of the character, the guy who can schmooze Moneypenny even though ever line has been tried a million times before and who can even bring M around to his side through enough arguing and complaining. That half of the Bond equation wasn’t quite there for me, but the overall aesthetic of the issue was solid. This could be a very good visual tone for the issue, especially if they drift more toward the Connery era of Bond and those sorts of stories.
Ellis and Masters stay very true to the source in this first issue of Bond and, for the most part, it works. They play off of the excitement of there finally being James Bond comics while also maintaining the structure of how a Bond film plays out and I am curious to see where they take this arc. I’ll be back for more, with the hope of seeing a stronger Bond personality shine through as the plot gets thicker.
The Verdict: 7.5/10