Back from his high seas escapades, James Bond is tasked with finding a rogue German scientist and rescuing him before his plans fall into the hands of the enemy.
With this issue, James Bond: Origin has become the series I hoped it would be. The first two issues were invaluable setup for the series, while the last few have been part of the previously-mentioned submarine adventure. This issue brings things back into focus and ties into mysteries set up in Origin‘s first installment.
Right from the start, this month’s story feels completely different from what has come before, much of which is thanks to writer Jeff Parker’s choice to have the story narrated from the point of view of Izabel, a member of the Allied Underground. We see Bond from the perspective of an outsider, one who knows a spy when she sees one, who can tell how dangerous Bond is, but who can also see his capacity for empathy. In this issue, we learn more about Bond’s personality than we have in the previous five. The shift in perspective gives readers a glimpse at Bond that is more than his rakish posturing in the face of danger or his self-important letters to home.
While this series has been a great deal of fun so far, this is the first issue in a few months to truly feel like a James Bond story. I actually commend this slow progression, because the man known as 007 certainly didn’t gain his reputation overnight. While I’m generally not wild about origin stories, this series continues to make a great argument for its existence, with elements of James’ familiar personality falling into place for readers without any overt winks or knowing nods to future adventures (the “Anti-Solo,” if you will).
As always, Bob Q’s action sequences are full of kinetic energy, with much of the gravity of each situation perfectly conveyed through the wonderfully expressive characters’ facial expressions and body language. This also helps to sell the romance of the issue. While I’m not entirely sure I buy how quickly Izabel and Bond become close with one another, I also know this is part and parcel with the whole “James Bond” of it all.
I do love that we get to see more of Bond’s personality shine through someone else seeing him work. This storytelling device allows us to peer closer at Bond without completely demystifying his character, which is critical when telling an origin story for a character to whom mystique is everything. It makes the series into more of an exploration on the makings of Bond without veering into “tell-all” territory.
By showing us a new perspective on the title character and bringing the plot back around to the mysteries presented in the first issue of the series, this month’s installment manages to address all of my (very minor) concerns with previous issues and propels the story forward in interesting ways. The final page is classic Bond. While the franchise is mainly popular for it’s action and adventure elements, Ian Fleming’s original novels occasionally featured moments of beautiful solemnity, which this issue captures in ways I didn’t expect.
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