Pullbox Reviews: James Bond Origin #1- The Boy Who Would be Bond… James Bond

James Bond: Origin #1
Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Bob Q
Letters by Simon Bowland
Available 9-05-18

James Bond created by Ian Flemming

At last, the definitive account of James Bond’s exploits during World War II!

MARCH, 1941: Seventeen-year-old James Bond is a restless student in Scotland, an orphan, eager to strike out and make his mark on the world. But a visit by an old family friend coincides with THE CLYDEBANK BLITZ, the most devastating German attack on Scotland during the War. James will fight through hell to survive, coming out the other side determined to make a difference. He’ll find his calling in a new British government service, secret in nature…

The ongoing epic kicks off, by JEFF PARKER (Future Quest, Thunderbolts, Batman ’66) and BOB Q (The Green Hornet)!

In 1941, the world is being dragged into the second Great War. On March 13th, Scotland finds itself the latest victim of the growing conflict as German bombers drop Hell on and around the shipyards at Clydebank. Among those scrambling to find some degree of safety is a group of lads from nearby Fettes College, on an outing at those same shipyards under the guidance of Lt. Commander Ronald Weldon of Her Majesty’s British Royal Navy. Also present is one rebellious young student by the name of James Bond, facing the Blitzkrieg with none of the bluster and experience he’s famous for.

Bond. James Bond.

You’d have to look pretty hard to find someone with no idea of who that is. The name has gone far beyond the realm of fictional character, having gained a status of near mythical proportions. Much like the forging of an elite covert agent, that kind of lofty status doesn’t happen overnight. There’s always been talk of James’s past, speculation on the part of his legion of followers worldwide, and now Dynamite Entertainment has provided answers to the eternal question:

Who was James Bond?

Jeff Parker has worked up a narrative largely told from the perspective of Lt. Commander Weldon, an old friend of James’s father who’s taken an interest in the young man. Parker has imbued Weldon with all of the upper crust grit and gristle one would expect of a member of Her Majesty’s Navy, as well as the sense of personal responsibility for the welfare of the “untrained schoolboys” he’s unknowingly brought into harm’s way. It’s a great balance found by Parker, that of the old military man tasked with encouraging young men to sign up for military service in a time of war, and the feeling of accountability for those same actions- the conflict of recruiters worldwide. As to the main character, James himself, Parker introduces us to a young man brimming with confidence and potential, but only up to a point. In this story, Bond isn’t the experienced operator we’ve known for decades. So long as he’s within his comfort zone, at university dealing with bullies and overbearing professors, he’s very familiar. Safe. When faced with true, mortal danger, however, the self-assured dog of war we know is nowhere to be found as he looks to Lt. Commander Weldon, the man who is to become Bond’s mentor in military service, for guidance and reassurance.

Working in conjunction with Jeff Parker’s narrative is the excellent artwork put out by Bob Q (no idea if that’s any relation to the “Q” made famous in Bond’s lore, but it makes for an awesome little side note). Q’s style has a great quality to its action sequences, and despite Bond’s relative inexperience to the action-packed world of espionage there’s quite a bit of action to found in these early pages. We see that while young, Bond isn’t totally inexperienced in the art of self-defense, and Q has done an excellent job portraying the art of Judo as James lays the smackdown on the foreseeable university bullies. Also shown is the devastation of the town of Clydebank as the German bombers do their dirty work, and the frantic but determined activity of the people on the ground seeking shelter. Most importantly, at least in the context of what I think is the crucial aspect of this story, Q is able to show the two sides of a young James Bond. At first we’re given the brash lad, full of piss and vinegar in the face of authority. Then, in the face of danger and inevitably death, we see the cracks in that youthful confidence, the fear as James realizes that there’s more at stake than he could have anticipated. Overall, Q’s style isn’t particularly gritty, and I think it’s perfectly suited to the story being told.

Also falling into the realm of visual representation, Simon Bowland’s work as letterer does everything it’s supposed to. His dialogue, both spoken and in narrative text, gets everything laid out in the panel without interrupting or interfering with Q’s artwork. His work may not come across as flashy, but Bowland does a good job with the background sound effects. Whether it be the revving of a motorcycle engine, the pop of firearms, or bombs dropping from German airplanes as they hum overhead.

Dynamite has put out some great content adding to the 007 mythos, both in retconned stories set in modern times and going back to Bond’s true origins as a British Royal Marine in Her Majesty’s Service during World War II. This being the latter, I’m wholly on board with the story so far, and look forward to a deeper look into the boy who would be Bond.

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