James Bond #5 gets the adrenaline pumping in the leadup to the concluding issue of the VARGR storyline. What could have been a meandering 24 pages of explanations, revelations, and set-up is really an action-packed, brisk read with critical tidbits communicated so the reader knows where Bond will be heading for the final lap of his mission, and why.
Everyone knows that Bond survives his missions. He isn’t the sort of character franchises kill off only to resurrect a few months or years down the road. 007 is, essentially, immortal, but without the cheap shock value of ‘deaths’ that will clearly be reversed shortly thereafter by fantastical means. Part of the fun is witnessing how he remains alive despite the odds, with special joy provided in discovering how he flees traps laid out by his enemies.
It is interesting to note that the second and presumably final issue predominantly concerned with exposition arrives in December. Fans have been given two months to test the waters with the new series, get into the exceptional artwork, see Bond do his thing just a little bit and take in a fair amount of exposition. One gets the underlying sensation that by issue 3, which arrives in early January, things will really start flying…or exploding…or doing whatever crazy things Bond is best known for. Ellis and Masters have our attention. In the New Year it will be time to deliver the goods.
To say that the level of anticipation surrounding this book in the Bond fan community was high would be an understatement. Warren Ellis, a celebrated writer who has co-created fantastic original works as well as thrown his hat into the Marvel ring a few times, was a huge coup for Ian Fleming Publications. What would Fleming’s Bond transported to modern day be like?