Four Letter Nerd

4LN Comic Review: James Bond #1

Series: James Bond “VARGR”
Written by: Warren Ellis
Art by: Jason Masters
Colors by: Guy Major
Publisher: Dynamite

Summary from Comixology: “Beginning “VARGR”, the first story in the ongoing James Bond comic series by best-selling writer Warren Ellis! James Bond returns to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. But something evil is moving through the back streets of the city, and sinister plans are being laid for Bond in Berlin…

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A whole lot of #1’s came out this week, but nothing piqued my interest more than James Bond by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters.  This might make me a comic reviewing apostate, but I am not incredibly familiar with the work of Warren Ellis.  I do, however, really enjoy James Bond (I am really looking forward to the annual Thanksgiving James Bond marathon).  My understanding of Ellis is that he is considered a little more “out there” as a writer most of the time, which I don’t mean as a derogatory description just that his stories are a little more on the Grant Morrison side of the spectrum than say, a Jason Aaron or Nathan Edmonson.

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Like most good Bond stories, VARGR starts fast with a good chase scene followed by a no-holds-barred fight between Bond and his target, and it is visceral.  This opening suggests that this Bond will be more akin to, if not darker than, Daniel Craig’s I-don’t-need-fancy-gadgets-to-kill-you-dead Bond than some of the other, slightly more campy, incarnations.  From here we get to see Bond interact with an mildly disappointed “M,” the always charming Miss Moneypenny, and “Q” who outfits bond with nothing more than a fancy bullet, and a smattering of quips about Bond’s famous handgun (Q believes that it’s a gun more suited for ladies of the night).  So far there are no laser watches, cigarette guns, or exploding pens for this 007, which I particularly enjoy.

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I really enjoyed this issue.  I wasn’t really planning on adding it to my subscription list (because it’s been growing, and my budget has not), but after reading it, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.  As the summary states, Bond is about to find himself at the center of a trap.  While this issue only gives us a glimpse of the Renard-esque villain, it pulls back the curtain just enough to make you want to read the next one.

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Some have been wondering what Ellis would be with a more grounded property than some of his other work.  All I can say is this: fear not.  Ellis and Masters are a creative powerhouse that has their finger on the pulse of what makes Bond great.  It’s like they went through each of the previous Bond’s, took the stuff that worked (Connery and Brosnan’s charm; Daniel Craig’s penchant for violence), left out the stuff that didn’t (George Lazenby), and created the perfect 007.  I for one cannot wait for next month, and will be calling my shop to include this on my pull as soon as I hit publish.

Head on down to your local comic shop and pick yourself up a copy of Warren Ellis and Jason Masters’ James Bond #1.

Music Pairing-

Is there anything else it could possibly be?

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Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

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