James Bond Vol. 1: VARGR by Warren Ellis is a terrific take on this classic character, the ultimate in the suave British Spy. This tale of intrigue and thrills cast Bond in a contemporary world where society at large seems to be passing him by. A world with the Cold War where he just doesn’t seem to fit in. But still, a man like Bond, has his uses.
Bond: It was a simple operation, sir.
M: Killing a man is simple?
Bond: Simple as in a lack of complexity. No trade craft required. All I had to do was locate the actor in question and eliminate him.
M: Yes, well it’s not gone unnoticed. People in high places are suggesting I retire the OO Section entirely.
M: And the conducting of foreign policy still requires access to a small box of blunt instruments. You don’t get to retire to a casino quite yet Bond.
With the death of another OO, Bond is tasked by M with taking over his workload as well. The agent was working on an European drug smuggling ring that was trafficking in a synthetic drug with horrific side effects. Bond follows a lead to Berlin where the action immediately begins. The target of a failed assassination attempt, Bond realizes his cover is compromised but continues forward. He meets with a rich Serbian scientist, Slaven Kurjak, who was disabled in the Kosovo war. Kurjak is developing advanced prosthetic technology, which enables the wearer incredible strength and agility.
Bond deduces that the drug being introduced to London is nothing more than a massive experiment being run by Kurjak. He must stop the drugs from entering the country while being hunted by enhanced killers of Kurjak’s own making.
Seriously. Warren Ellis writing James Bond. How have we not had this before? I know this book will offend or anger a cadre of Ian Fleming purists, but the Bond in this book is so much more entertaining than what is currently being passed off on the movie screen. This is Connery’s Bond in a modern world that doesn’t find his misogynistic attitude quite so acceptable. The constant ribbing he gets from everyone about his gun is worth the price of the comic on it’s own!
Q: I couldn’t interest you in a proper gun instead of that prostitute’s shooting instrument?
Ellis is at home and very comfortable writing Bond and the artwork and story line are terrific. Despite the changing times, Bond only knows one way to close a case. With his gun, his wit, and his brain.
A fun and terrific book!