James Bond is one of those characters that could either work really well in comics or simply fail in the execution. Having recently read some of the reprints of the strips from the 70s when Titans Comics released them, it seemed a no brainer that Bond could really work in comics.
There's likely to be two camps when it comes to Bond. Some have focused on the true source material while others concentrate just on the films. As good as some of the movies have been, sometimes the emphasis gets placed on the actor portraying Bond rather than the story. Here, it's all about the story. Warren Ellis throws us right into the action. Bond is chasing someone for an important reason and you don't even think or care what Bond looks like. His take on Bond feels unique and it's great to see Dynamite isn't trying to mimic any of the movie versions.
That's the great thing about Ellis' approach. This feels like a James Bond story and the exact time frame isn't important. Jason Masters gives us a Bond-ish looking lead and we're free to just dive into the story. There are elements that make this feel like a classic time period but that's mixed with some slightly more modern touches. Within a few panels, Masters really captures and conveys Bond's attitude and outlook on his job, in particular when he's talking to M. Guy Major's colors really adds a vibrance to the art. At first I thought I'd rather have a black and white story but Major's colors do spruce things up.
Ellis does give us a little behind the scenes look at Bond before he sets out on his next big mission. It does help to make Bond feel a little more human and obviously sets up the tone of the series and where the story will take us. The action is focused on the opening of the issue with the second two thirds setting up the main story. You're left wanting a little more but that could just be because I've been hungering for a legit Bond comic for some time.
This first issue of JAMES BOND is exactly what you could want in a comic. Not tied to any particular era from the films, this is a story anyone can dive into and enjoy. Warren Ellis throws us right into a typical James Bond chase and introduces us to his take without drawing out the set up. Jason Masters' art is great for giving us a non-specific Bond and Guy Major's colors adds a nice sheen to the art. As this is the first issue, there is some set up for the bigger story. We're off to a great start and Ellis has given Bond some nice little twists to deal with.