|JAMES BOND No. 8, July 2016|
Whilst hardly the quiet before the storm, on account of Warren Ellis’ script containing both a powerful punch-up within the confines of a lift and a startlingly sudden mortar attack just outside Heathrow Airport's entrance, Issue Eight of “James Bond” arguably must have proved a far more tranquil read for its audience than some of the title’s previous fast-moving publications. In fact, for the vast majority of this twenty-two page periodical the British spy is somewhat simplistically shown just smooth-talking his way from one conversation to another, as he innocuously pushes the plot along at a somewhat pedestrian pace right up until the book’s inevitable cliff-hanger, when an armed agent from the “compromised intelligence service” decides to pay M an unexpected visit at his office.
Fortunately, this void left behind by the Eagle Award-winner’s decision to scale down his narrative’s pulse-pounding action is rather delightfully filled with the sort of enthralling interdepartmental intrigue involving MI6 that captivated cinema goers watching the 2015 motion picture “Spectre”, as well as a similar nod to the titular character’s earlier silver screen appearances. Certainly franchise aficionados must have enjoyed the interplay between the secret serviceman and his latest female ward, Miss Birdwhistle, when the Royal Naval Reserve Commander discovers his seemingly naïve, vulnerable-looking charge is actually a secret sadomasochistic Mistress who suddenly manhandles him in a manner reminiscent to that of Grace Jones’ May Day from the fourteenth spy film “A View To A Kill”; “Can I just stop to say Ouch?”
This book’s greatest draw however, is undoubtedly the silent multi-panelled sequence set within Los Angeles International Airport where Bond single-handedly dispatches two CIA agents tasked to murder him and his Diplomatic Section ‘lady friend’. Blisteringly brutal as James breaks noses, stamps heads and twists necks, the entire episode is as savagely violent as it is swiftly resolved, with Jason Masters’ bone-crunching illustrations of heads being mercilessly slammed into walls or feet repeatedly battering skulls genuinely making the reader feel every single vicious blow.