I remember my first experience with Ms. Moneypenny. It was in the film A View to a Kill. She was at the horse races with James Bond while he was on assignment. While Bond focused on the villainous Max Zorin, Moneypenny was watching a race shouting “Come on Blue! Get a wiggle on!” She was just your average, every day secretary. Fast forward many many years later to the film Skyfall. Moneypenny is an MI6 agent watching 007’s back. Without spoiling the film (you really haven’t seen Skyfall?), we witness the event that lands Moneypenny behind a desk. So when I saw that Dynamite is releasing James Bond 007: Moneypenny, a one shot story about Bond’s favorite secretary, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
So what is James Bond 007: Moneypenny about?
Well…..to be honest with you, it isn’t at all what I expected it to be. Moneypenny jumps around a lot! In the opening pages, we are introduced to a young Moneypenny watching a news report with her parents after what appears to be a terrorist attack. We then jump ahead to when she is an agent on assignment. But then we flashback again to when she is a child in school and her classmates pick on a middle eastern student because she is the same ethnicity of the terrorists that led the attack. Then we skip ahead again to Moneypenny as an agent. Are you starting to see where this is going? Are you catching the pattern? This trends throughout the book, along with a lot of blank panels and missed opportunities.
But Dave, is it good?
Not really. I was looking forward to reading a Moneypenny story. Skyfall added an extra layer to the secretary. Not only can she staple a stack of papers, but she can shoot a gun as well! It’s a one shot, so you can only put so much into one book. But that is the problem! Houser has limited amount of space and instead of writing a great adventure, a lot of the pages are filled with flashbacks of Moneypenny as a child or an earlier part of her career. The real plot of the story doesn’t flesh itself out until the final pages. By the time the story starts to pick up, it ends! I feel like there was a missed opportunity here. Houser had a chance to write a dynamic tale where Moneypenny is the hero, and don’t get me wrong, she ends up being the hero but it all was in front of her. She didn’t need to disguise herself, she didn’t need a false name, she didn’t use any gadgets. Sure she isn’t a “00” agent, but still, she could have been thrown a bone here.
The artwork in Moneypenny is the highlight of the book. Edgar’s line work is sharp and the details bring the characters to life, which is much needed! Kelly uses a colorful palette that enhances the artwork and adds depth to Edgar’s artwork. The duo work magic on a lackluster story.
Unless you are a James Bond fanatic and feel the need to pick up everything Bond, I cannot recommend this book. I was hoping for a gripping and action-packed Moneypenny story and instead, I got a Moneypenny short with a lot of filler. It is a one shot that completely misses the bulls eye.
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