Indie comics label Dynamite Entertainment is launching a monthly James Bond comic this year, and they've nabbed acclaimed comics writer Warren Ellis to pen the series. Titled simply James Bond 007, the series is envisioned as the first project of Dynamite’s big picture plan for the character, a plan that includes adaptations of the Ian Fleming novels (the comics rights are a separate license from Eon Productions' iteration of the character) as well as untold origin tales (the first two kills which gave Bond his 00 status, if I were a betting man). Their initial offering will be a six-issue arc (drawn by Jason Masters) called "VARGR", and is described by the comics publisher thusly:
James Bond returns to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent... but something evil is moving through the back streets of the city, and sinister plans are being laid for Bond in Berlin.
You can read Dynamite’s entire press release here - but ultimately what piques my interest about this project is what Ellis had to say about the character of Bond back in 2002. It was pointed out to me by Twitter pal Casey Moore, and it reveals a writer who was reading the “back to Fleming” writing on the wall 13 years ago, accurately predicting the more grounded approach the film series would soon take.
In the guts of it, though, is Bond as a scarred man with clear psychological damage, often on the edge of being removed from service by M on mental health grounds. It’s made stridently obvious that being on the 00 detail of the Secret Service is a job that fucks you up. Bond is not a superman. He prevails because he is quite simply nastier and more determined to wreak utter bloody havoc than the next guy. In some ways — and I don’t think Fleming was unaware of this — he is what Allen Ginsberg called “bleak male energy,” causing and taking immense damage in single-minded pursuit of what he wants...He is England’s blunt instrument of international assault — the spiteful, vicious bastard of a faded empire that still wants the world to do as it’s bloody well told.
There’s more, and it’s a pretty good read. Problematic hot takes be damned, it sounds like Ellis understands the initial - and lasting - appeal of the literary character of 007. He gets it; I'm in. (I don’t know what he’s on about with regard to Brosnan’s portrayal, but not gonna fault the guy for trying to find the good in something.) Not that there have been a ton, but this will be the first Bond comic I've checked out since Mike Grell's 1991 miniseries Permission To Die, a well-intentioned pastiche that made curious creative choices like portraying Q more or less as the real person on which he was based.