JAMES BOND 007 VOL. 2, available from Dynamite Comics on July 8th, follows the titular super spy as he infiltrates ORU to uncover Goldfinger’s plan for terrorist domination. Greg Pak’s story continues through this second volume to showcase an alternate take on one of Bond’s most iconic villains, updated with a modern, evil plan.
Dave Johnson’s cover art is a sly statement on Bond’s conflict as he goes undercover for this volume. Bond is ostensibly one of the good guys, but he spends most of his time acting the villain part. Johnson’s use of the Ying-and-Yang symbol underscores Pak’s key story elements nicely.
Pak’s story is a prime Bond adventure with a healthy blend of action, romance, and surprises. In the story, Bond goes undercover to get acquainted with Goldfinger and ultimately join his organization. The goal? Discover and foil ORU’s master plan.
The story is straightforward, but Pak infuses plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. When the final conflict is revealed, Pak throws in a plot twist that puts Bond into a moral dilemma that you never see coming. It adds a layer of complexity that turns a typical Bond adventure into anything, but. A seasoned Bond fan might think, “Didn’t James Bond kill Goldfinger in the movie?” and you’d be right, but this new take on the Goldfinger legend felt completely fresh and new without detracting from the spirit of the original.
Eric Gapstur and Robert Carey’s art is exceptional for a wholly unexpected reason. The character designs are standard fare for the handsome and square-jawed spy. The action scenes are authentic enough. But what really stands out is the incredible volume of scenery changes.
This volume has almost a different scene change on every other page. It must have taken Gapstur and Carey weeks to render a casino, Goldfinger’s mansion, Bond’s headquarters, a storage facility, an island visited by the 1%, a Director’s penthouse, and on and on. While that might seem like an inconsequential artistic focus, what the high turnover in scenery does is push you through the story at a break-neck pace. For a decently sized volume (about 175 pages), there’s barely a lull to be found—an excellent example of using the background, as much as the character movements, to push the pace.
Rosha Kurichiyani’s coloring works well on two fronts. First, keeping pace with the tidal wave of scenery changes is no easy feat. While the backgrounds may not be super detailed, they’re colored realistically enough to keep the settings believable and grounded. Second, Pak’s story calls for a high amount of dramatic shadow on just about every panel. Kurichiyani handles the shading work with aplomb to give each scene change a little more dramatic depth.
Ariana Maher’s lettering work is heavily dependent on the dialog in this volume. There’s the occasional ‘BRAKA” of gunfire, but this volume relies heavily on word balloons. Maher makes excellent use of space by shrinking the line spacing as tightly as possible to conserve space while still keeping the dialog readable. Maher’s space conservation allows the art and action to shine through to tell the story along with the dialog instead of competing against it.
JAMES BOND 007 VOL. 2, available from Dynamite Comics on July 8th, is an exciting entry in Dynamite’s run of Bond stories. The story keeps you guessing and the art flies. This is one of the better Bond stories you’ll read this year.