James Bond: Service

Written by Kieron Gillen / Drawn by Antonio Fuso

It’s possible to be a James Bond fan even if you haven’t enjoyed one of his movies in a good 20 years. Warren Ellis made it especially easy last year when he wrote a 12 issue run featuring the character, a genuine surprise from Dynamite comics which saw Ellis modernise the M16 characters from Ian Fleming’s 1950s novels, ignoring the flashiness of the movies and getting to the heart of the character. This was a sharper, more brutal take on 007 – perfectly paired with cold, precise art from Jason Masters.

Since then Dynamite has given us shorter James Bond runs by Andy Diggle and Benjamin Percy but neither have lived up to Warren Ellis’s stint. This week’s new one shot James Bond: Service sees writer Kieron Gillen build nicely on that run, while adding his own signature wit and a risky story that mirrors the current American politic climate. In the most 2017 Bond story ever, America’s new Secretary of State rudely understates the value of Britain before a visit, upsetting one nationalist enough to plan an assassination attempt, which M16 plans to stop.

This well paced one and done story features a rarity for James Bond – having to hunt down a would be assassin who’s British for once – but there’s enough appearances from M16 staple characters to keep the feeling of familiarity. Gillen’s Bond is razor sharp, but there’s a warmth to Gillen’s writing that stops the book from ever feeling as brutal as Ellis’s run did.

Although Antonio Fuso draws a few dodgy faces in the opening, exposition heavy pages, as soon as the action kicks in he’s in his element, keeping the book moving forward as fast a good thriller should. Dynamite should consider releasing more Bond one shots like this, especially if they all get covers as gloriously phallic as this one, drawn by frequent Gillen collaborator Jamie McKelvie.

MY GUIDE TO COMIC BOOK STORES IN SYDNEY

Originally posted on youonlyliveonce.com.au. This is the first of many posts I’ll be doing for them in the next couple of weeks!

Comics! They’re the best, right? I read like 100 a week! But every time I try talking to my “friends” about how ball shakingly good the new issue of Saga was, I get the same response! “Levins! I don’t have the disposable income that a DJ Chef can afford! I work in social media! I get paid in likes!”

I feel your pain pal. But you can thank the Asgardian gods, for this weekend is Free Comic Book Day! The only day of the year when you can walk into any comic book store dressed as your favourite Robin and fill your utility belt with FREE COMICS! Each year all the comic book companies put out a couple of free issues for stores to giveaway. Do you like watching The Walking Dead but have never read the comic? Why not pick up the free Walking Dead comic coming out this weekend! Were you confused at the end of The Avengers when that blue smiling guy showed up? Find out who he is in the free INFINTY comic! Looking forward to Man Of Steel? There’s a free Superman comic too! There’s also a stack of comics for kids so if you’re worried about being an adult in a comic book store, why not bring a kid and save your cred while showering said kid with FREE COMICS!

But where shall you go to collect all your free comics? I’ve put together a complete list of all the comic book stores in Sydney to assist your free-comic-getting. We’ll start in the CBD and then move out to the suburbs.

King’s Comics(facebook page) 310 Pitt St, Sydney +61 2 9267 5615

If you’ve never been inside a comic book store, Kings is a great place to start. This huge and well organised store is a perfect example of what a comic book store should be – you’ll find an unbelievable amount of comics from mainstream and independent publishers, a great selection of toys and most importantly, friendly staff who know their shit. There’s not much worse than going into a comic book store and being greeted by rude staff who don’t give two shits about you or the comics in their store. Whether you’re new to comics or an obsessive geek, the staff at Kings are always good for a helpful chat. They’re also good for wearing the best costumes each Free Comic Book Day – last year they all dressed as X-Men!

Their range of comics and trades is frequently updated and they definitely order more of every new issue than any other comic book store in Sydney. The one thing you won’t find at Kings is an extensive range of back issues – their back issues boxes only go back a couple of years – but the enormous selection of new comics easily makes up for this. 

Kings Comics doubles it’s greatness on Free Comic Book Day – and although it might be a bit of a wait to get in, once you’re inside you’ll be treated to 20% off everything in store, 50% off all back issues plus giveaways and cosplay competitions.

Comic Kingdom, 71 Liverpool St, Sydney +61 2 9267 1685

Sydney’s oldest comic book store Comic Kingdom is insane. There are so many things stacked up against it – the organisation of the store is a shambles, the staff are awful (and seem genuinely pleased at their awfulness), they only get a small amount of new comics in each week. But in the years that I’ve been coming to Comic Kingdom, knowing it’s flaws as I walk up the stairs, I’ve found some amazing comics. 

Downstairs at Comic Kingdom is a wild mess of toys, magazines, trading cards, kids comics, books, manga and the strangest collection of movies on VHS that nobody in Sydney wants. It’s worth having a browse through here just for the sheer novelty of how much junk surrounds you. Upstairs is where all the comics live. Newer comics and trades line the walls, with boxes full of older comics beneath them. In a roped off section out the back there’s an insane amount of DC and Marvel back issues dating back to the 70s. If you ask nicely, the staff will let you back there to peruse the selection. Everything is reasonably cheap, there’s a stack of stuff priced at a dollar or less and there are some real gems to be found!

I’ve grown to love Comic Kingdom, and for all it’s flaws, I hope it stays open for a few more decades. If you go in there expecting bad service and a bit of a search for some good shit, you’ll learn to love it too. Their festivities for Free Comic Book Day are pretty minimal, everything in store is already 25% off (it has been for the last couple of months), last year they had a dude selling tshirts out the front so maybe that’ll happen again. Tshirts!

Kinokuniya(facebook page) Level 2, The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney +61 2 9262 7996

The best bookstore in Sydney, Kinokuniya, has a damn good graphic novels section. You’ll find trades from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Image and more, for a little less money than every other comic book store (especially if you’re a Kinokuniya member). The staff in the section are friendly and helpful, if not quite as knowledgeable as the staff at Kings.

Kinokuniya put on quite a show for Free Comic Book Day as well, offering 20% off all graphic novels each year plus hosting an Artist’s Alley which features 12 Australian comic creators selling and signing their work. The Australian comics scene is rarely supported by anyone so it’s very cool to see Kinokuniya give the creators some shine.

Elizabeth’s Bookshop343 Pitt St, Sydney +61 2 9267 2533

Elizabeth’s Bookshop is just across the road from Kings Comics. They have all the Asterix and Tin Tin comics and a small section of secondhand comics. Youll find a few boxes of single issues and a shelf or two of trades. New stock is added fairly infrequently but I’ve found some cool stuff there. I doubt they’ll be doing anything for Free Comic Book Day but if you’re already going to Kings why not pop over and try find a bargain. There’s an Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Newtown as well with a significantly smaller collection of comics for sale. 

The Comic Shop, (facebook page) 10a/170 George St, Liverpool +61 2 9601 2622

The Comic Shop in Liverpool: boring name, awesome store. They’ve got an amazing amount of comics, mostly single issues from all publishers and a good selection of trades as well. Their toy selection rivals Kings Comics, in fact they might actually have more. They’ve got hundreds of statues, so if for some reason having an alternate reality Moon Knight bust in your bedroom staring at you while you sleep is appealing, they’ve got you covered!

The Comic Shop is a fair way out of the city, but even if you dont live nearby it’s definitely worth the trek out. The staff are outgoing and friendly without being annoying. It makes me happy that a store like this can be doing so well in the burbs. They’ve got a lot of back issues which are actually pretty dear however if you head out there this Saturday you’ll be treated to 50% off all back issues which is nice. Everything else in the store is between 25 – 35% off as well which makes The Comic Shop a must visit in your Free Comic Book Day travels.

The Phantom Zone, (facebook page) Shop 22C Horwood Place, Parramatta 2150 +61 2 9891 1848

Just around the corner from Parramatta Westfield, The Phantom Zone is a quaint, clean and well organised comic book store with a nice display of new comics, an impressive amount of trades lining the walls and a modest selection of toys and collectibles. There’s a few boxes of back issues from the big publishers dating back five years or so. 

The owner is friendly enough when he serves you but every time I’ve been inside the store it’s just been me and him in there, me hovering silently around the comics and him staring into his computer, clicking his mouse. Why is that an issue? I guess given the size and location of his store you’d expect a little warmth to convince you to come back. Who goes to comic stores for warmth though?! This is a good store to visit if you’re ever in Parramatta but not as worth the trek out of the city as The Comic Shop is. The Phantom Zone is a way cooler name though.

For Free Comic Book Day, The Phantom Zone is discounting everything in the store by 20% and giving out prizes for everyone in a costume.

Arcadia Unbound331 Stoney Creek Rd, Kingsgrove, +61 2 9510 4884

The only comic book store in The Shire, Arcadia Unbound is also the only store on this list that I’ve never actually been to. I only found out about it today! They don’t even have a website!

What they do have is the coolest entry though. Look at that fucking thing! So badass. While I’ve never set foot inside Arcadia Bound, I did visit their stall at Supernova last year and they had an amazing selection of back issues dating back 30 years or so, all for pretty good prices. The dude running it, who I presume works at the store too, was super nice. Arcadia Unbound are yet to announce their plans for Free Comic Book Day but at the very least if you head in you’ll get your free comics!

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So there you have it. All of Sydney’s comic book stores. So many places to get so many free comics! Then you can brag to your geeky friends about how many free comics you got, before punching one of them in face for saying “Bazinga!”. I’m actually gonna try to visit all of these stores this Saturday, so if you see an out of breath kool guy in a beyond half arsed cosplay attempt (I’m contemplating writing “I’M BATMAN” on my head with a sharpie) please say hello.

Also, if anybody wants to sell me the John Ostrander run of Martian Manhunter, get at me on Twitter.

MOM’S SPAGHETTI

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There was an Eminem / 8 Mile reference in last week’s issues of FF and Uncanny X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men writer Brian Bendis had this to say about it:

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