Today sees the official release of the first issue in a new series of James Bond comics, the first time 007 has been seen in this format in two decades.
The first issue begins a six part adventure named VARGR, written by Warren Ellis with artwork by Jason Masters. This story is set in the modern day, although there will be other stories based on Ian Fleming originals.
Intriguingly the press release announcing July’s press release announcing the new comic promised it to be “true to Ian Fleming’s source material yet bursting all preconceptions of what a Bond story should be”.
As a word of warning, I’m not much of a fan of comic books. Although I do find the artwork fascinating, I also find it difficult to connect to the story. That means I’m not the ideal person to review this comic.
My first impression was of surprise. Despite the promise that it would be true to Fleming, the reality is that although different from the films, that is what the comic closer resembles. Without giving too much away, Moneypenny is black, as in the Daniel Craig films. And so is M, who immediately reminded me of Admiral Greer as portrayed by James Earl Jones from The Hunt For Red October.
While those changes closer reflect the ethnic make up of modern day Britain, it is what Moneypenny is doing at her desk and Bond’s relationship with M that have nothing to do with Fleming. Instead of the mutual respect between 007 and his boss the relationship is verging on contempt. Straight from the big screen in other words.
And I see little else that comes from Fleming, except a slight nod is some dialogue between the quartermaster and M towards the end of the first issue.
It is too early to judge the series on just one edition. I’d be more interested to see the Fleming based stories anyway. But it will be interesting to see if James Bond can carve out a new career as a comic book hero too.