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.

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