On the run from ORU and their own superiors, Bond, Lee, and Kim plan to get to the bottom of Goldfinger’s plans. What they find is a deadly plan they could not have imagined!
This issue continues the mad dash of our three heroes, with the added danger and excitement of them feeling entirely on their own. In previous issues, they’d been accompanied by enemies and the occasional backup. Here, however, there’s a sense that they’re making it up as they go along. Luckily, Greg Pak’s script is smart enough to make sure that the story doesn’t feel as haphazard as our heroes’ actions.
While these action scenes are a lot of fun, there’s an odd coloring choice near the beginning when Goldfinger uses the implants on the back of a pair of soldiers’ necks to keep them in line. The painful shock is represented with what looks like a red spray, which led me to believe for a moment that the two men had been killed. It’s a bit confusing, momentarily muddling Goldfinger’s motives (which are already obfuscated by the many different conspiracies running through the story).
Otherwise, the colors by Roshan Kurichiyanil continue to be a major positive component of the grounded tone of the story, with the earthier colors making things feel gritty, almost dirty. This is fitting, considering how unpleasant and complicated the work of these agents has become.
Speaking of which, this issue gives us the best look yet at Goldfinger’s sadistic nature. His solution to a less-than-lucrative business deal at the beginning of the issue is a nasty bit of business, with the dark smile drawn on his face by Robert Carey being almost more unsettling than the gore that follows.
It’s an interesting choice to see M being so cagey toward Bond. After all, Bond is officially a rogue agent who has fled during medical treatment and debriefing. Naturally, M would want to keep things on the up and up and proceed with caution. However, it’s also kind of odd to see M approach the situation (and Bond) in this way, considering the last issue heavily implied that M was at least somewhat complicit in allowing Bond to escape captivity.
Likewise, it feels a little frustrating to read a Bond book where the title character seems to have so little agency in the story. Much of the time, Bond feels like he’s simply along for the ride, only popping into the story for the occasional deadly quip. This isn’t the worst thing, considering how fascinating Lee has become as a character. However, it is somewhat off-putting.
On the other hand, the humor really lands in this issue. There’s a bit involving a group of tourists watching dolphins that plays like one of the best scenes from a Roger Moore Bond flick.
Despite a few odd beats here and there, the plot has thickened in a major way. The stage appears to be set for a team up like none other, with a diabolical plot in motion that interestingly mirrors some of the events of the novel and film adaptation of Goldfinger. In other words, the next issue is not to be missed for Bond fans.
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