First impressions of the new James Bond comic

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.

James Bond 01 Cover

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.

Click here for more info on the new James Bond comics from Dynamite 

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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One Response to “First impressions of the new James Bond comic”

  • Robert Coyle

    I don’t want to sound racist or intolerant, however I disagree with changing the racial identification of Moneypenny and M from what has previously been established by Ian Fleming, and reflected in the first quarter-century if the motion pictures.

    Case in point: Superman. In the comic books, movies, and television series (Superboy), Lana Lang is identified as a Caucasian redhead woman. However, in Smallville, Lang became a black-haired Asian woman.

    This modern movement toward political correctness at the expense of literary honesty bothers me.