The duo of Vita Ayala and Danny Lore have composed some of the most intriguing character-driven fights within the comics medium, and that includes James Bond in issue #5 of Dynamite’s series. This is an issue that really lulls readers into the book through its characterization. James Bond manages to find his equal in the amazing friction he has with Brandi Keyes that constantly propels the narrative forward without the realization the book is mostly dialogue.
The expectation of all action heroes like Bond is that they will deliver on the fighting and violence, but these two do something better. Whenever I’m reading this book, I actually care about the well-being of these two and I want them to win. Thus, in moments of actual violence being encountered, there is a real tension of what is going to happen with these characters. This is abundant in the fight scenes with Brandi Keyes, which always have me terrified as to what is going on.
Ayala and Lore know the tropes of Bond, with the common experience of the “Bond girl” always being killed or becoming increasingly irrelevant as the plot goes on. In this instance, they feed into this expectation of Brandi eventually getting killed and it constantly gives anxiety to the reader. Not only that, but the fight scenes are fluidly drawn by Brent Peeples, who does a wonderful job making the fight scenes alongside the dialogue captivating. But the best part is the ability to have the fights lean into some wonderful wit between the participants.
The artwork is further enhanced by colorist Roshan Kurichiyanil, who makes the panels reminiscent of old James Bond book covers. More so, the lettering done by Arianna Maher manages to keep the flow of dialogue running without drawing away attention from the art. Truthfully, the letterer and colorist compact the reading experience by never allowing the reader to veer their attention away from the focus of this story.
I’ll say it now: Ayala and Lore have managed to craft one of the best Bond comics in a long time. It’s as character-defining and meditative as Ales Kot’s run while still allowing for a huge new breath of life with the character of Brandi Keyes. Genuinely a fun time, and a much-needed hero with all that is happening.
On a side note, I just wanted to applaud this creative team for their assistance in spotlighting more black artists. In this tweet by Vita Ayala, you can find some amazing Black creators with wonderful voices and published works you can help support.
Another tweet by Danny Lore supporting black LGBTQ+ creatives:
HEY!— Danny Gay-da-Lore-ian (@weredawgz) June 2, 2020
I'm in and out of here, but if you're black and not cis (genderqueer, trans, non binary, agender etc)
And you write or draw
Put a link to your work here! I've gotten a bunch of followers today so let's take advantage of that
People in this time need solidarity, and it’s really great to see creatives help in their way to help Black creatives.
You can order James Bond #5 it digitally today.