James Bond #1 Review

by Jay Hill on December 03, 2019

Written by: Vita Ayala & Danny Lore
Art by: Eric Gapstur
Colors by: Roshan Kurichiyanil & Rebecca Nalty
Lettered by: Ariana Maher
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment

Today I’ll be reviewing the comic book Bond… James Bond #1. England’s greatest spy is back for a new thrilling adventure. Pistols will be fired, dames will be kissed, martinis will be shaken, not stirred, and eventually, a villain will be brought down.

For a comic literally titled Ian Fleming’s James Bond, the title character doesn’t appear that much in it. That isn’t exactly a bad thing because most of the comic is dedicated to introducing two original characters, insurance claims investigator Brandy Keys and her assistant Reese. They are called in when a valuable painting appears to have been stolen and replaced with a counterfeit. The mystery and investigation laid out are strong enough to be an interesting comic by itself, but the knowledge that this will lead to the involvement of 007 makes it even more intriguing. But, I understand, his absence could also make anyone here strictly for James Bond's adventures annoyed, or even, angry. Keys, being an investigator, can get to the bottom of the mystery and her assistant, being a former thief, has the skills to access any place necessary. So it keeps a quasi espionage feeling, without introducing the spy into the narrative. But, although creating an entertaining experience, the main narrative of this issue does little to bring anything innovative to the table. it’s a solid intrigue story of a stolen painting that doesn’t have any sort of twist or diverting of expectations and that’s what keeps this comic from feeling like anything really grand. While fun and well-executed, it feels a little bland. That should change when the grand scheme is revealed being that the problem is big enough to have caught the attention of MI6 and their best agent.

Those slight spy stylings of the narrative are also aided by the art. It’s sleek like a martini glass. The essentially common scenery of the story is given a wispy charm with the linework. It has a stylish fashion that pops, and the palette used in conjunction helps. There's a shot of Keys holding a pen and the way it is illustrated exemplifies this nature; just like the 007 films (and the spy movies they’ve inspired), it has a deliberate coolness to how it is displayed. And the few action scenes are done with that same coolness. They're drawn so that the flow of movement is felt while reading.

James Bond #1 begins a mystery with an enjoyable first issue. It introduces new characters who are interesting, competent and will be interesting to watch interact with the titular agent. But if you’re here for James Bond, you will be left waiting for his arrival. And while the tale in the issue is fun and the new characters compelling, there is little else new brought to the table. But, with what was laid out in these pages, a lot is left open for future issues to do something special.

Our Score:


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