For those of you who want the classic idea of James Bond, issue #3 of James Bond hits almost all of those character traits. For those of you who wanted depth to character, this is the culmination of it. Ayala and Lore are their own royalty with the way they push Bond to new boundaries, while really capturing the proper dissonance of who he is.
Even more is that the way the two oscillate between their three characters, peeling back layers to Bond while offering some of the most fun action scenes I’ve had the privilege to read in a comic book. The buildup that is the past two issues offered great character moments, but here it pays off. The issue manages to give wondrous interactions with both every punch of dialogue and literal punch that offers depth rather than artifice in the action.
It is here that we really comprehend the monstrous violence of Bond. In a pivotal moment where he kills someone, the panels make you linger. It’s a great detail that gives precedent to the horror this character performs, and why he is not someone our cultural pathos should praise. The protagonist in Keys consistently offers the backbone of humanity that we as readers need to emote for Bond. With the issue opening in fantastic form by offering her backstory and lunging us into the current events, we comprehend the means with which she is Bond’s equal, but then also his superior.
Despite managing to accomplish their mission, we see the brutality in how Bond lives. Even with his violent tendencies, there is a mess he leaves behind. With the end of the mission, we see Bond brush off his own allies by murdering their target. In earnest, it gives way towards seeing how this arc will evolve with whoever is concocting this scheme.
Durso and Renna giveaway to some of the great visuals. While it’s one thing to hold a book that has some cool art, the fact the panel layouts are unique is something else entirely. The way these two artists compose each panel makes them the equivalent of Roger Deakins with how each shot serves to be great visual eye candy. Pair this with Roshan Kurichiyanil’s wondrous coloring and Ariana Maher’s intensive lettering, and the book holds the eye into great effect.
This book manages to hit its stride for a general audience and those who have been wondering where this book was going. While many of its detractors were aghast at giving Bond a slower pace initially, the team behind Bond managed to do wonders for comic book storytelling. I am not only hooked, but maniacally laughing at how great this series is once the payoff has started to hit. This is genuinely a fun and cool book — just understand what I mean when I say Bond is a danger.