REVIEW: ‘Ian Fleming’s James Bond,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ian Fleming's James Bond #1

Ian Fleming’s James Bond #1 is published by Dynamite Comics. It comes from the creative team of writers Vita Ayala and Danny Lore, artist Eric Gapstur, colorists Roshan Kurichiyanil and Rebecca Nalty, and letterer Ariana Maker.

Ian Fleming’s James Bond #1 opens with a bang. Both literally and figuratively as James is caught in bed with a woman. Few details are provided about the man who catches James is in relation to the woman he’s with, but it is clear that he is in a great deal of trouble. So James performs a daring rooftop escape, culminating in a planned explosion to cover his tracks. As he walks away from the scene fixing his cufflinks, the perspective shifts.

Three weeks later at the Dayton Keene museum in England, a man named Mr. Davies is very angry. He has just learned that one of his prized paintings has been confirmed to be a fraud. As he shouts at the scientist who confirmed it, a mysterious woman enters and introduces herself as Brandy Keys, an insurance claim investigator who had confirmed the painting’s original veracity. Along with her assistant Reese, Ms. Keys begins investigating what could have happened to the painting. As she sets out on this investigation it becomes clear that there is more at stake than a missing painting. Soon enough she finds herself wrapped up in a much larger plot. One that infamous MI6 agent James Bond is also involved in.

The story from Ayala and Lore is a little bit of a disappointment. While the “art theft” plotline is interesting in its own right, it doesn’t have much substance. Everything is handled stylishly, but it’s still roughly twelve pages of an insurance claim investigator looking into a missing painting. There are some threads that point to a more exciting story, but they don’t lead anywhere yet. Combine that with the titular character only appearing on four of those pages and it all sorta feels like a drag.

However, the art from Gapstur is excellent. The characters are interesting to look at and drawn with wonderful expressions. The decision to include panels where Reese explains how he would steal the painting and illustrate them gives the issue a lot of character. Pages with action or fighting are easy to follow and are given a very visceral feeling thanks to Gapstur’s work. In addition to that, the colorist duo of Kurichiyanil and Nalty do a fine job. From the bright flames of an explosion to the black silhouette on a red background in a bar fight and everything in between. The work of all these artists is a boon to the book. Finally, the letters from Maker are clean and easy to follow while also adding weight to the action with effects.

I wish I had liked Ian Fleming’s James Bond #1 more as it was a joy to look at. But opening a James Bond book only to find him left out of most of it was kind of a bummer. If the accompanying story had been more exciting this would have been easily forgiven. But, unfortunately, the insurance fraud investigation doesn’t provide the most compelling plotline. A fan of slow-burn action comics might enjoy this, but there are definitely better action comics out there.

Ian Fleming’s: James Bond #1 is available wherever comics are sold


Ian Fleming's: James Bond #1
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TL;DR

…opening a James Bond book only to find him left out of most of it was kind of a bummer.