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James Bond #4

    Ian Jane

  • James Bond #4

    James Bond #4
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: February 10th, 2016.
    Written by: Warren Ellis
    Illustrated by: Jason Masters
    Purchase From Amazon

    The fourth installment of the James Bond: Vargr storyline, from Warren Ellis and illustrator Jason Masters, begins with Bond strolling down a perfectly normal sidewalk on a perfectly normal evening enjoying a perfectly normal cigarette. He's mistaken for a Mr. Hutcheon by a man who introduces himself as Masters. Of course, each man knows who the other is, and 'Masters' tells Bond that Al-Zein hit the station and that there were no survivors (tying in to issue #3). They need to find a secure location, and so they do.

    Bond makes a call on his cell. He tells Hutcheon, who is aware that Al-Zein is monitoring their phones, that it's a personal call. And it seems that way, but those who receive it know that Bond is speaking in code. And those on the other end are acutely aware of what he's talking about.

    Bond and Hutcheon visit the scene of the crime. Bodies are everywhere. Shortly after, a not so naí¯ve Bond makes a move against Hutcheon, who he knows is not what he seems. It gets rough - bones break, eyes are gouged, bodies are slammed, broken glass becomes an instrument of death. Bond, however, is the smarter of the two combatants and of course, being Bond, comes out the victor. He knows who his foe works for - Slaven Kurjak - the same man who employed Ms. Reach, the one with the hands. Bond wants Kurjak, he's willing to kill to get him… but Kurjak has gone to Vargr.

    “This is how the world should be, controlled with experiments.” And Britain, being an island and all, is basically a giant concentration camp…

    Ellis' hardboiled Bond continues to be a great read, this fourth issue taking the building blocks of the first three and continuing to climb to greater heights. The way that it is spread out is deceptively simple - Bond meets Hutcheon, Bond fights Hutcheon because he knows who he is, and then Bond talks to Kurjak. Consider it a play in three acts if you want. But of course, it doesn't end here, it ends with a cliffhanger that could take the story in a few different directions. Not knowing where Ellis will go is half the fun, of course, but the level of intrigue in this installment of the run does turn things up a notch or two. They story itself will probably get pushed along further in issue #5, as this chapter has a lot of action and a lot of setup (therefore leaving the payoff to come) but it's good stuff.

    The art from Jason Masters has evolved since the first issue. Backgrounds feel less sparse, things are a little more claustrophobic (appropriately so) and the sense of movement, particularly in the combat scenes, has more of a flow to it. Things are becoming a bit more fluid here, while the detail in the character designs that has been there since day one continues to keep our eyes engaged in its ability to communicate subtleties of Ellis' story. The color work from Guy Majors helps here too, it suits the art really well, while Dom Reardon's cover image grabs your attention and makes you want to check it all out.

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