“Though I suppose we all have secrets. We all have scars.”
Intelligent. Elegant. Deadly?
James Bond #1 is an effective but fairly straightforward introduction to the world of espionage through the lens of a surprisingly scarred agent 007. Though his name has yet to be uttered by any character, Benjamin Percy wastes no time in reintroducing us to our favorite MI6 agent, James Bond. While the opening sequence resembles most James Bond films there’s a few unique details that already separate Percy’s debut with the typical Bond fair, a testament to the creative team’s desire to make their own mark on the infamous secret agent man. A new scar already sets the infamously perfect Bond apart from his predecessors. A prominent mark that manages to make the character more devenir, thanks to the delicate touch that artist Rapha Lobosco and colorist Chris O’Halloran utilize to bring James Bond to life. Unfortunately, the relatively bare plot just doesn’t live up to the bravado and robust nature of its lead character.
While there may not be much story to be found outside of a hardly-distressed-damsel and her unexpected target, the sense of action and adventure should be plenty to appease spy-loving comic and film fans alike.
The snowy peak of a ski-resort is one of the most recognizable tropes for a Bond flick. It also happens to be the setting for James Bond #1’s opening. The turtle-necks and skis cliche is a tired one, having been used multiple times by the likes of Austin Powers and Archer to poke fun at the original secret agent. While the opening of James Bond #1 isn’t breaking new ground, it does manage to have more of a classic feel to it than one of satire. Using the consistently clever touch that’s making his Green Arrow run so successful, Ben Percy sneaks in an interesting element for our lead that manages to raise an eyebrow. Said surprise is the fact that Bond’s hands remain relatively clean this time around, having his only target sniped out from under him by his first “nemesis.”
The identity of said rival seems to be Percy’s first attempt at a twist, but it’s far too obvious to shock even the most naive of readers. It’s a turn we’ve seen used in comics, novels, and almost every Disney film for the last 20 years. There’s still enough mystery to maintain some interest, but not necessarily the hook needed to have readers yearning for more. Meeting the reimagined MI6 crew is also an interesting venture, we get to see our favorite spy in action, and we get to see a gorgeous “dame” who’s more dangerous than she looks. If only these individual details amounted to a more immersive experience.
Without a truly inviting story to entangle the reader it’s up to the art team to keep us truly engaged. With a simplistic approach Lobosco manages to capture the old charm that made Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan such a delight to watch onscreen. His is a Bond lifted from classic pulp comics and covers. He’s the kind of hero who looks as comfortable swirling a drink as he does crashing through a ski-resort lobby. The colors by O’Halloran have a robust and bold feel to them. A touch reminiscent of frequent Batman artist Francesco Francavilla. Every panel could be a Mondo poster and every splash page could be a painting. Though he tends to fall back on more typical shading and softer colors when it comes to simple conversations the team of O’Halloran and Lobosco are a match made in HQ thanks to several truly captivating action sequences.
Benjamin Percy’s run on Green Arrow got off to a somewhat rocky start. Percy came late in the New 52 era, adding incredibly unique yet perplexing details like flying drones, tentacled robots, and werewolves to the masked archers’ pages. Though he course-corrected to great success on Green Arrow one can’t help but appreciate the bold and intense ideas he was bringing to the table. If only he was as brave now as we was then. James Bond needs no introduction, and is almost without one here in his debut #1 issue. His wit and allure is unmistakable but without an explosive entrance we have a quiet beginning in James Bond #1 that pales in comparison to the many satires and tributes paid to the character in modern fiction. It’s clear Percy’s intention is to bring the character back to his roots, a task perfectly suited for artist Rapha Lobosco. He keeps away from the often distracting and perplexing visuals that sometimes hamper the modern iteration of the character for want of a classical approach that wonderfully resembles the From Russia With Love days of old. It may not grab the reader as well as the classics it seeks to emulate, but it shows enough promise to warrant a return for the sequel.
- Classic Bond Setting and Wit
- Pulp Visuals
- A Modern Approach
- Lackluster Plot
- Typical/Cliche Story Elements