Synopsis: James Bond risks his life for the world everyday. Today, Bond must protect the home front. When an ex-soldier, Beckett Hawkwood, attempts to harm Cadence, James must race to her rescue, yet the larger threat still remains to be revealed. Will Bond save Cadence in time? What does Hawkwood have in store for London? And why is his favorite mode of dispatching people snapping their necks?
Review: Bond stories always seem to hit familiar beats. There is nothing wrong with this in theory. As long as a story can entertain its audience, the story has merit. The trick is to find a way to keep the story and action varied enough to bring the audience back. Does this book do that? Kind of. We have the damsel in distress (who thankfully is not a helpless damsel), we have Bond instituting a plan, disposable agents of MI-6, and the inevitable showdown with the villain. All of the elements are there for an exciting climax. Hawkwood, the main threat at the moment, is singular in his attack strategy: brutal. The man snaps no less than two or three necks, and he gouges his own henchman’s eyes out. For me, I thought this was exciting at times, but I don’t think it added to the stakes of the threat. Hawkwood’s motivation is what really saves this issue for me because it is simple and fits with the character. (I won’t reveal it, but I thought it fit well.)
I love it when comic book artists ensure to give their locales credibility. London looks instantly recognizable with double-decker buses and the houses of Parliament. Cities that feel dynamic and lively are often hard to convey, but I think this was accomplished here. The final showdown panels between Bond and Hawkwood work well. The action is easy to follow, yet it never feels bland.
Was this my favorite issue of a Bond book? No. There were elements that felt to business as usual. Conversely, sometimes you just want a familiar kind of storytelling in certain things. Bond is familiar to many, and many will probably disagree with assessment of this issue. By no means do I think this issue was bad. Ellis is an accomplished writer, and I believe he has done a great job with this series overall. I just think this issue was missing an element of surprise and excitement.