Monday, 19 December 2016

James Bond #11 - Dynamite Entertainment

JAMES BOND No. 11, October 2016
Having previously ‘told’ the story of “Eidolon” in a straightforwardly linear manner, Warren Ellis tries something a little different for Issue Eleven of “James Bond” by revisiting M’s previously depicted arrival at “designated Safehouse India Uniform Lima” via a series of flashback sequences, and resultantly shifts the vast majority of this twenty-two page periodical’s focus firmly away from the lead protagonist. Indeed, for those very few bibliophiles ignorant of Ian Fleming’s creation, and purely cognisant of Eve Sharma’s ability to thwart both Beckett’s crack-shot henchmen and the facially-disfigured SPECTRE stay-behind operative himself, this particular publication would seem to be more about promoting the female MI5 “prime field team” leader as Britain’s foremost secret agent, rather than the titular character.

Such a somewhat disconcertingly lop-sided narrative is actually made all the worse by the Essex-born author’s seemingly intentional portrayal of an incredibly impotent 007. For despite his role in a ferocious fire-fight fought within the cramped confines of a lavish lounge, as well as the agent spending the better half of the magazine chasing after the ‘Heathrow Hitter’ Hawkwood in a pulse-pounding car chase through the English countryside, the secret serviceman’s sole success comes courtesy of his close-range shooting of Sir Stephen Mackmain in the back, and even then the spy's marksmanship is so surprisingly poor that the blue-suited traitor requires a subsequent ‘head-tap’ before he’s truly ‘out of the picture’…

So poor a showing by Bond behind both the wheel of a Bentley and a hand-held firing piece must genuinely have dismayed many of this comic’s 11,340 readers, and frustratingly seems to take place simply to ensure that the adventure continues into a sixth, arguably unnecessary, instalment. There certainly doesn’t appear to be any other justification as to why Ellis depicts James being unusually presumptuous in writing off a nemesis who has tried to kill him repeatedly and has access to “a volumetric vacuum bomb”; “Hawkwood’s in the wind. But he’s the last member of the Eidolon cell. What can he do on his own?”

Disappointingly, Jason Masters artwork for this somewhat underwhelming script is just as inconsistent as its writing. True, the South African’s pencilling for the majority of the shoot-outs is pretty dynamically drawn, just as his breakdowns of the car chase appear to genuinely emanate a sense of racing, break-neck speed. But his two-dimensional illustrations of Miss Sharma overpowering Hawkwood’s heavily-armed goons, followed by an awkward-looking Bond running for a car are amateurish in appearance at best.
Writer: Warren Ellis, Artist: Jason Masters, and Colors: Guy Major

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