Powerful Pages - James Bond: Vargr by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters (Graphic Novel - 2016)
As a general rule, I am wary of movie properties being adapted as comic books. While I love both mediums, it just doesn't seem to work as well as it should in many instances. However, Marvel has recently revived their Star Wars line to tremendous effect, and the praise heaped upon this take on everyone's favorite super spy courtesy of Warren Ellis and Jason Masters forced me to give it a look. I'm glad everyone got the word out, because Vargr is a fantastic edition to the Bond catalog. Cutting edge, dark, thrilling, and moving at a rollicking pace, I couldn't put this grisly escapade down. Ellis did a fantastic job of plotting a non-stop assault that really put our hero through the wringer. Masters took a low-key approach to the art and elevated the piece with his deliberate work and his refusal to shy away from the gruesome effects of all the carnage taking place. I'm a big Bond fan, and I found Vargr to be as thrilling as any of his adventures on the big screen, and while it stayed true to the character, it was also the most ferocious take on the property I have encountered. If this were a movie, Daniel Craig could play the part, though it would be far closer to John Wick than Casino Royale in terms of brutality. While I note that Craig could play the part (and I honestly can't see any of his cinematic counterparts pulling off this level of phsyicality), I did like the fact that Ellis and Masters elected to render their own version of the character. He isn't drawn like any of the actors who played the role and he doesn't necessarily look like the bloke (forgive me) on the old Ian Fleming book covers either. In the end, I think that's precisely why this worked for me so well--Vargr felt perfectly at home in the character's legacy, but it was definitely its own thing. It didn't aim to pay homage, it aimed to take a beloved property and break new ground, and I think that Ellis and Masters accomplished their mission. Job well done, lads!
Final Grade: A
|Thrilling, dark, and action-packed, Vargr is a great entry into the Bond legacy.|