James Bond 007 #3
Writer: Grek Pak
Artists: Mark Laming & Roshan Kurichiyanil
My first reaction when seeing the cover of James Bond 007 #1 was “Pak writes two of the best IPs?” This writer is truly living a charmed life with Bond and Firefly on his docket. The more of this series I read, the more I trust in him the way his publishers do. This issue stands out as breaking from the typical James Bond formula as his adversary turns into a hesitant ally. Laming and Kurichiyanil’s action looks great and doesn’t miss a beat with its ferocity. Dynamite has a great team working on the book and it shows.
Bond movie tropes imprint themselves into culture and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gives a chance to subvert an idea that is inherent in readers’ minds which can lead to surprise and awe. In this issue, the subversion on James Bond’s reservations to work with others has left me excited and wanting more. Following a Russian smuggler is a seemingly simple mission that gets confounded by the arrival of a new Oddjob. Bond is up against a new rival proving to be more than a match for his tactics and combat skills. Being thrown together by their agencies to complete the mission puts them on the same terms but barely resembling friendly.
The issue fleshes out the side-characters we know and love, with M and Moneypenny getting major standout moments. Pit against Bond’s abrasiveness and arrogance, M is left to devise a diplomatic way of dealing with the new Oddjob. While Bond would prefer to kill Oddjob, M meets with his boss at a café to sort out an alliance. Moneypenny deals with Bond’s showboating early on in the issue as he parachutes into Australia so everyone can see him. He’s drawing out Oddjob instead of remaining stealthy for his mission; he’s getting sloppy and MI6 can’t have that. Moneypenny tells him as much, right before the action ramps up and she appears to set him and Oddjob straight.
While the issue is great at expanding side character personalities, its padded out with martial arts and explosions. I’m not complaining in the slightest, it’s amazing and really lets the art team take control of the story. In-between the spaces of my above praise, there’s the mission of catching the smuggler and taking care of his bodyguard. He seems rather bumbling while she’s clearly holding everything together, eliminating any threat that gets near him. You can tell from the Laming’s linework on her facial expressions that she’s more than what she seems. At different points in a few short panels, there’s a look of contempt, a collectedness, and firm resolution. While there are words to fill the spaces throughout the issue, the art is emotive enough to speak for itself.
There’s always going to be Bond adaptations and people will always flock to them. It’s just one of those archetypes that we enjoy watching and reading about. It’s difficult to stand out in that ocean but this series and issue manage to do that. If you’re a James Bond fan or simply enjoy a good spy thriller, this is the book for you.
A fun conclusion to the Odd Job arc that adds wonderfully inventive twists to the James Bond formula.