Of­fi­cially li­censed to kill

SFX - - Reviews -

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!

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