|JAMES BOND No. 4, February 2016|
Frustratingly published a week later than “Dynamite Entertainment” originally announced, and sporting a rather unappealing Dom Reardon cover illustration that disappointingly provides few hints as to the stupendous slug-fest occurring within the comic’s interior. Issue Four of “James Bond” must have come as something of a scintillating surprise to the 16,838 collectors who bought the magazine in February 2016 and found themselves enthrallingly embroiled in a ten-page long punch-up with the murderous Mister Masters that ably demonstrates just how earnest writer Warren Ellis was in trying to replicate “the original, brutal, damaged Bond of the books” within his “Vargr” narrative.
In fact in many ways the Essex-born author uses this particular publication to depict Ian Fleming’s iconic creation at his most savagely vulnerable by having the secret serviceman “alone in Berlin, with nothing but the clothes on his back and the gun in his hand” repeatedly injecting his insensible foe with a massive overdose of heavily contaminated Oxytocin. It’s certainly hard to visual Sir Roger Moore’s more “light-hearted” incarnation of the Royal Naval Reserve Commander ruthlessly dispatching his vanquished ever-pleading opponent in such a grisly blood-splattered manner; “Oh god. Please don’t. I don’t know what’s happening. Please. I’m begging you. Please don’t do this.”
Fortunately once the fight is over, and Bond faces the evil mastermind behind putting “a disease inside a drug”, Slaven Kurjak, this twenty-two page periodical doesn’t become any less engrossing an experience, courtesy of some wonderfully written and professionally polite dialogue. Indeed, there’s a real sense of enforced calm to the conversation between the two adversaries as James’ lab coat-wearing enemy merrily chats away to him about how originally the researcher had been “looking for a cancer cure worth selling”, whilst the British spy matter-of-factly tries shooting at him through bullet-proof glass.
Arguably this comic book’s greatest testament however, is the utter exasperation its abrupt ending undoubtedly brought its readers. Sealed tight within a laboratory about to undergo the “extreme cleaning process” of “three hundred degrees Celsius [and] nitrogen dioxide jets”, Bond momentarily appears to be about to break free when his efforts using a homemade oxy-fuel cutter come to naught. Realising his labours have failed, a cursing intelligence officer turns to face his demise and without warning confronts eight-pages of advertisements before the magazine’s back cover infuriatingly confirms the cliff-hanger ending…
|Writer: Warren Ellis, Artist: Jason Masters, and Colors: Guy Major|