Sunday, 15 May 2016

James Bond, Volume 1: Vargr Review (Warren Ellis, Jason Masters)


Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo...

A new drug originating from Germany floods British junkies’ veins, killing them viciously. 

… bah da bah baah, bah da daah…

After avenging a fallen 00 agent in Helsinki, James Bond aka 007 heads to Berlin to teach the Krauts a lesson! 

… bah da DUH bah da DUH ba da dada! 

BANG! 

Warren Ellis - one of my favourite comics writers - on James Bond? Oh hells yeah! Was it all that and a shaken martini? …. Eh. 

Vargr is a pretty standard Bond story which is disappointing as I thought Ellis would mix it up. It’s got lots of action, fighting, shoot ’em ups, car chases, along with Bond staples like Moneypenny and Q (though he’s just referred to as the Quartermaster here). There aren’t many gadgets or Bond girls though (boo!) and in the one bar scene Bond orders a bourbon! 

It’s also got the classic Bond villain which is so by-the-numbers it’s funny - the villain’s opening line is “Mr Bond, I’ve been expecting you”! Then of course later on when he’s captured Bond and put him in an elaborate death trap, he tells him his entire plan and leaves before seeing Bond die, ensuring Bond will escape (which he does). It was probably funny because I kept hearing Scott Evil in my head during that scene, “What? Why don’t you just shoot him?”

Ellis incorporates his futurist fascination into the book and it works pretty well - cybernetically-enhanced henchmen is something I could see in a Bond movie. Jaws worked, right? It’s the next step up from him. 

I liked Jason Masters’ art a lot. His Bond looks a lot like Sterling Archer (which is appropriate as Archer’s a pastiche of Bond) albeit with a scar which makes sense given his rough and tumble life. The action looks good, the settings too - the comic’s full of fine visuals. 

James Bond: Vargr is a perfectly decent Bond story but Warren Ellis unfortunately doesn’t lift it above the average - aside from some sarky quips, almost anyone could’ve put something like this together. It’s an ok read but I was hoping for better with this creative team. If you like Bond or Warren Ellis, you could do worse than Vargr.

James Bond, Volume 1: Vargr

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