Released: June 15th 2016
Received: Borrowed from a friend
When I heard that Warren Ellis was the writer (author behind Hellblazer, Iron Man Extremis, and and Castlevania) I absolutely have to give this a try. Perhaps I made the mistake of letting my expectations get too high, and that is why I ended up not loving this? It’s a decent story with solid artwork and action scenes. Mostly it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
I should probably mention that gratuitous violence first. If you’ve read Hellblazer or seen Castlevania, this really shouldn’t come as a shock. Though the truth is the number of heads shots and amount of gore that came with them…was excessive. I normally binge through an entire volume in one sitting, but with this one I ended up parsing it out between a couple of days. I just kept needing breaks from the gore. So consider yourself warned.
That may make it seem like I have a problem with gore. Okay, so I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of it, but to be honest if it’s done well and serves the purpose of the plot I really don’t mind it. In this case however, it just didn’t feel like a James Bond fight scene. The franchise isn’t exactly known for its gore levels (though it is known for many other things). That’s really my biggest complaint about it.
Speaking of it not feeling like a James Bond story, perhaps it’s just me, but he didn’t actually strike me as the typical expectation of James Bond. Sure, he was interesting. But he was also a little bit silly, for lack of a better description. Perhaps Warren was trying to take a different spin with this James Bond? I’m not sure. I think if he had spent some more time working it through it could have worked – maybe this shows more in later volumes? I may have to take a peek at them and see.
There are some highlights worth mentioning, like the obligatory Moneypenny cameo or the gun humor. Those were more true to what I was expecting. Especially Moneypenny’s personality and jokes. Ironically, after all my complaints about James Bond not feeling like, well James Bond, I have the opposite complaint about his villain. He was just too on the nose for my liking – saying the exact phrases you’d expect from a Bond villain. Then again, maybe I’m being harsh because I love Warren and expected better?
I think perhaps one volume wasn’t enough to get a fair idea of this series. I have a rule for trying new TV shows: give it three episodes before you give up on it. Normally my rule for graphic novels is three issues (and there’s almost always more than that in a volume) but this may be an exception to the rule. I’ll try volume two out and see what I think.