James Bond: Hammerhead #1

by Ian B on October 12, 2016

Written by: Andy Diggle

Art by: Luca Casalanguida

Coloured by: Chris Blythe

Lettered by: Simon Bowland



I've never read a James Bond comic, but I am a big fan of the movies. I've enjoyed Dalton, parts of Moore, even Lazenby, who only appeared in one movie and is generally not liked as Bond, but in my mind, no one will be able to come close to the original, Sean Connery. Why did I bring all of these older Bond's up? Because if there is one thing that Hammerhead does right, it's taking the feel of these older Bond films, bringing it into the modern era, and somehow turning a movie franchise that is generally seventy percent talking about evil plots, twenty percent karate chops and ten percent seducing women into a surprisingly balanced comic issue. So, how does Hammerhead tackle the legend that is James Bond? Essentially by filling the slower moments with enough fan service to keep us entertained, while keeping us wanting more.



The story starts with 007 infiltrating a skyscraper, taking out a few guards in a bit more brutal a fashion than Bond usually uses. His objective is to discover the identity of the mysterious Kraken, who has used a hacker to obtain information that could jeopardize national security. Unfortunately, Kraken was aware of Bond's presence, and shuts down his connection with the hacker. A fight ensues, and the hacker ultimately dies, blown up by an explosive collar presumably placed on him by Kraken. Back at headquarters, M reprimands Bond for losing their only lead to Kraken's identity, revealing to Bond that the hacker stole information from Hunt Engineering, Britain's leading arms manufacturer who is working to replace Britain's current nuclear deterrent. As punishment for failing his previous mission, Bond is assigned watch duty at Dubai's Arms Fair, arriving to meet Victoria Hunt, the daughter of Hunt Engineering's founder who is filling in while he is away entertaining foreign dignitaries. After a moment of talking, Hunt eventually introduces Bond to the Hammerhead, a rail gun that they hope will replace the current deterrent. Unbeknownst to them, however, they are being watched by a mysterious spy in the rafters. As an opening to this miniseries, this issue did a really good job of balancing action and dialogue, introducing us to not only Bond, but M as well through their actions as well as their words, giving us a good view of their characters.



The artwork, while perhaps a tad rougher than I'm used to, works very well for an espionage style story, with lots of deep blacks and shadows adding to the slightly noir aesthetic. Bond himself, while not obvious as a specific actor, has various attributes of various actors in the past, most notably the fine line in appearance that Connery's Bond walks between suave spy and imposing thug. The action flows well and, although on a couple occasions it jumps perhaps a bit too far between panels without an establishing image in between, it never jumps far enough as to be confusing. While it may not be my personal taste in art style, there's no denying that it does exactly what it needs to do to portray what is happening and, more importantly, immediately set the mood of the comic.



I took a chance on this comic, going in relatively blind, with only my experiences with the movies to guide me, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Bond acts as you would expect Bond to act, the action flows naturally and the story naturally allows itself to breathe while setting up further action for the future. With a solid set-up, interesting and classic characters, as well as just the right amount of intrigue, I eagerly await future issues of this series.

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