• James Bond: Service



    James Bond: Service
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: May 24th, 2017.
    Written by: Kieron Gillen
    Illustrated by: Antonio Fuso
    Purchase From Amazon

    Bond sits at a club, his date asks him if he’s paying attention but he quiets her to pay attention to the news report on the television. Alexander Thomas, the Secretary Of State, tells the camera that it’s clear that Britain really doesn’t have anything to offer America anymore.

    Cut to the Imperial War Museum where Bond meets with Felix Leiter, noting that he’s not really sold on Thomas’ style of diplomacy, especially when lines like that are delivered in advance of an official trip. They talk about the upcoming security issues revolving around Thomas’ upcoming visit, Valence hasn’t been cooperating with MI5 and M wants to know off the record if this is how it’s going to be. Felix answers honestly – he doesn’t know. Thomas is an isolationist but he’s not stupid and it’s too soon to say how he’ll be doing things during his time in the position.

    Two weeks later and Bond is at MI6 headquarters. Moneypenny sends him in to M’s office where he’s told of a delicate time sensitive issue he needs Bond’s help with. M is surrounded by boxes that they’ve received and, until recently, haven’t paid much mind to – after all, they get a lot of weird mail – but this latest arrival is of concern because it seems to focus on Thomas. There are no fingerprints, M assumes it’s a cypher, but wants Bond to look into it… just in case. M sends him off to the remote village the box was sent from with an away package from Q, but no guns. Is this an opportunity to show the Americans how useful their British allies can still be?

    Bond arrives in the small town and after hitting the post office gets a clue – the man who sent the box had a tattoo on the back of his head. He goes about asking around and eventually finds the apartment that he rents. When Bond tries to get in, a bomb goes off, a booby trap set using a WWII era grenade. Bond does at least find a fingerprint in the mess and send it back to M, which seems to belong to a discharged Marine named Jack Marshall, a man with a history of violence and nationalist views. Once the realize the cypher is using Enigma Code, Boothroyd is able to crack it – it seems Marshall believes that Britain needs defending and Thomson’s comments have “marked him as an enemy of Britain’s freedom.”

    When M mentions to Bond that they’ve got a likely GPS signal on their man heading towards an old WWII bunker he instructs Bond to get there as quickly as possible but to wait for backup. When he gets there early and sees a man in camo with an older rifle he assumes he’s found his man. He restrains him, only to be attacked by another bigger, much stronger man. Bond wakes up in a bunker surrounded by a team of militants, one of whom has a tattoo on the back of his head. Bond tries to play his patriotism against him, identifying himself as MI6 and asking him to obey orders and stand down, but Marshall assumes MI6 has now been infiltrated by pro EU operatives. They figure there’s backup on the way so they knock Bond out and take him with them.

    Meanwhile, Thomas has arrived and is going ahead with his scheduled appearance despite advice to the contrary, noting that an active terrorist cell is rumored to be gunning for him. Bad move. Marshall and his men are on the scene and heavily armed with Bond, Thomas’ best hope, tied up under the Imperial War Museum…

    You could say that this thirty nine page one-shot issue is ripped from today’s headlines, what with the story dealing with the rise of isolationist politics in both the United States and the United Kingdom, an inexperienced Secretary Of State working as a mouth piece for an inexperienced administration intent on tearing down the system and all. And I you said that, well, you’d be right. Gillen’s story wears its politics on its sleeve, but that’s never a problem, rather, it grounds the story in the current day, just as it should. Those looking for prolonged character development aren’t going to get it, save that for the longer Bond stories Dynamite has been publishing the last few years, but if you want a solid tale of espionage, action and suspense told with a quick and sharp wit, Service should be right up your alley. Fuso’s artwork is interesting. It’s nicely detailed even if it’s a bit sketchy in style, but it works. Facial expressions, eye movements in particular, go a long way towards helping clue us in to what the characters are up to. Action scenes have nice flow to them, nice movement, and buildings, cars and costuming all looks good. It’s also interesting how the blacks often seem to consume Bond, his trademark black suit really looking more like one solid block of black, just two splashes of white, one on each side of his tie, providing contrast.