Officially licensed to kill
released OUT NOW! Publisher Dynamite Entertainment
Writer Warren Ellis
Artist Jason Masters
Although its release was timed to coincide with SPECTRE, this first James Bond comic book series in almost two decades is based on Ian Fleming’s original novels rather than the movies. But “Vargr” is set firmly in the present day instead of Bond’s original ’ 50s milieu, meaning that 007 embraces modern developments like texting, while both secretary Moneypenny and her boss M are black.
With his penchant for terse dialogue, visceral violence and fascination with cutting- edge technology, Warren Ellis is a perfect fit with Bond. Resembling a malevolent Tony Stark, bionic villain Slaven Kurjak’s interest in cybernetic prostheses echoes Ellis’s seminal Iron Man arc, “Extremis”, while there’s something of Black Widow about the delightfully- named female lead, Dharma Reach.
Masters, whose 007 is closer to a dashing Pierce Brosnan than a more rugged Daniel Craig, also brings an exhilarating cinematic quality to the numerous action sequences, starting with the first issue’s traditional cold opening, in which Bond pursues a suspect through a snowy Helsinki.
The pace slows for the remainder of the first issue as M and Q set the scene, but the action ratchets up in the second and third issues as Bond is dispatched to Berlin after taking over the caseload of the fallen 008. But with the nature of Kurjak’s sinister plan only beginning to be revealed at the halfway point, “Vargr”’ s overarching plot has only just started to take shape. Hopefully the final three instalments will deliver on its early promise. Stephen Jewell
Warren Ellis is a perfect fit for Bond
While writing the series, Warren Ellis pictured Rising Damp/ Death In Paradise actor Don Warrington as M.
Quick, kick him in the nuts!