With James Bond incapacitated, Agent John Lee, a.k.a. Oddjob, goes on a rogue mission. To reveal any more of the plot would seriously spoil the most exciting issue of James Bond: 007 yet!
Every time you think you know where this issue is going, I promise you will have the rug pulled out from under you. First of all, Bond himself only makes the briefest of appearances this month. This is Oddjob’s show, and it’s a sight to behold. While the first issue of this series kind of sat with me the wrong way when it sidelined Bond in favor of Lee, all of that careful groundwork has been paying off in the last few issues!
Greg Pak continues to do an excellent job of fleshing out the supporting characters at MI-6 and beyond. His characterization of M as a “tough love” type is especially enjoyable, making him into a bit of a combination of the best aspects of Judi Dench and Bernard Lee’s portrayals of the character. His trademark dry humor is on full display as he worries about Bond, but wants to teach the wayward spy a lesson.
Likewise, Ms. Moneypenny continues to be a bit of a revelation in this series. While she got her chance to shine in Jody Houser’s Moneypenny one-shot from a few years ago, this series has really allowed the character to stretch her legs. This incarnation of the character is more integral to MI-6’s operation than any other version, which is a total breath of fresh air.
Stephen Mooney’s action sequences continue to be on point, particularly in an excellent hand-to-hand battle involving John Lee. Mooney also splendidly pulls off the final page reveal of ORU’s leader, leaving the character in the dark until the last moment for maximum impact.
Let me tell you something: This reveal will have Bond fans talking. I could not believe this one was kept a secret until now. It also raises more interesting theories about this story’s place in the Bond canon. These are all questions I cannot wait to see explored in detail.
With Lee revealing his hand to Bond and the latest twists in the story, I do hope James gets to be more involved going forward. This Oddjob arc is clearly building toward a more recognizable status quo, while expanding upon characters who have gotten short shrift elsewhere in the 007 canon. It’s a lovely balancing act on Pak’s part.
As a massive Bond fan, as well as someone who loved Warren Ellis’ Dynamite series and many of the one-shots and miniseries that followed, I think this book and its sister series (James Bond: Origin) may be the very best post-Fleming Bond media to come along in quite a few years. Somehow, this book keeps subverting expectations and getting better with each issue.