Monday, 16 January 2017

James Bond #12 - Dynamite Entertainment

JAMES BOND No. 12, December 2016
It is hard to imagine that many of this comic’s 10,710 readers agreed with publisher “IDW Entertainment” when they boasted that Issue Twelve of “James Bond” brought the ‘second 007 story’ in their comic book series to an “explosive conclusion”. For whilst the twenty-two page periodical does culminate in the gruesome demise of Beckett Hawkwood, the “terrifying” SPECTRE operative is neither spectacularly dispatched by the titular character or actually even 'killed' for any rational reason except perhaps to bring a tediously overlong narrative to a most welcome end.

Indeed, in many ways Warren Ellis’ script for this final instalment of "Eidolon" appears to be a desperate attempt by the graphic novelist to simply pad matters out until the magazine’s end, and seems a far cry from his writing on the title’s preceding “Vargr” story-arc; a six-parter which was actually praised as being “the best contemporary take on 007” by American television producer Brian K. Vaughan. Certainly, there arguably can’t be any other plausible excuse as to why the best-selling author wastes two pages depicting Miss Birdwhistle chit-chatting through the streets of London, and a further seven showing the British Intelligence Service’s deficiencies as a couple of agents fatally fail to intercept the tale’s facially disfigured lead antagonist from manhandling Cadence as she flees for the relative safety of Portcullis House…

Unfortunately, even this comic’s final, highly-anticipated showdown between Hawkwood and Bond proves something of a major disappointment, with the Secret Serviceman once again being portrayed as a woefully inadequate sparring partner for an enemy of the British government. In fact, the multiple Eagle Award-winner’s impotent spy is completely outfought by an “unstoppable” Beckett and only survives because his opponent contrivingly decides to slit his own throat rather than be arrested by the imminently arriving Police and Security Service. Hardly the most inspiring of James’ victories and one which adds weight to John McCubbin’s criticism on “SnapPow.Com” that Ellis’ incarnation of the Royal Naval Reserve Commander ‘lacks flair.’

Workmanlike at best, Jason Masters’ breakdowns for this book appear as equally ‘drawn-out’ as the narrative, and it was doubtless hard for the audience to attain any sense of excitement or panic until a third of the way through the magazine when Miss Birdwhistle is positively running for her life, armed with nothing more than pen. Admittedly, the South African pencils a pulse-pounding finale, with a multitude of kicks and punches all seemingly carrying a hefty weight. But even this ‘fist-fight’ is disconcertingly soon resolved, and only goes to demonstrate how increasingly adept the artist has had to become at illustrating Bond becoming badly bloodied and bruised.
Writer: Warren Ellis, Artist: Jason Masters, and Colors: Guy Major

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