Wednesday, 19 October 2016

James Bond #10 - Dynamite Entertainment

JAMES BOND No. 10, September 2016
Hand-picked by the Fleming Estate to be the writer for this “ongoing spy thriller comic book series” it is clear from the British operative's ruthless killing of his foes deep inside an underground steam locomotive station that Warren Ellis’ incarnation of the titular character for Issue Ten of “James Bond” is arguably the “purest crystallization” of the fictional secret agent “since the original novels”. However even the franchise’s most ardent followers must surely have felt that the Eagle Award-winner’s depiction of 007 seemingly enjoying skinning a captive Gareth Cullen with a Stanley knife in order to “make nice chamois leather rags to polish our cars with” was taking the cold-blooded intelligence officer’s callousness a little too far. Certainly the torturous scene, graphically illustrated by Jason Masters and laden with (gallows) humour as Tanner complains about getting “all the blood out from my nails”, would seem more appropriate behaviour for one of the Secret Serviceman’s sadistic arch-villains rather than the title’s heroic lead?

Sadly, such a disconcertingly memorable sequence is also this magazine’s only real glimpse of “Jimmy” in action, not counting his ‘head shot’ of Hawkwood’s last remaining goon at the start of the comic, as the Essex-born author’s storyline interesting shifts its focus away from the Royal Naval Reserve Commander and instead settles upon the exploits of Bond’s mysterious superior M at “designated Safehouse India Uniform Lima.” Admittedly this surprising change of direction in the book’s writing does provide the audience with an opportunity to see just how formidable a gun-mistress the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service’s personal assistant Miss Moneypenny really is. But it also slows down the plot’s pacing with some quite disinteresting conversational pieces between the Intelligence Services Commissioner and Sir Stephen Mackmain; the majority of which strangely seem to make this twenty-two page periodical’s final third reminiscent of General Georgi Koskov’s somewhat lack-lustre post-defection debriefing in the 1987 motion picture “The Living Daylights”.

Jason Masters artwork for this particular instalment of “Eidolon” is equally as inconsistent as its script, on account of the South African pencilling a fantastically dynamic shoot-out between Bond and Cullen during the magazine’s opening, and then seemingly struggling to reliably illustrate the bearded Head of MI5 throughout the rest of the publication. Indeed, considering the poor quality of some of his panels, especially those involving the facially-disfigured Hawkwood, it is hard to imagine just why Ellis personally “requested” him to be “the artist” on the title…
Writer: Warren Ellis, Artist: Jason Masters, and Colors: Guy Major

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