But the scene does not come from a new series of The Boys a revitalization of Punisher: Max. Rather, it comes from James Bond: 007 #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. And it’s absolutely perfect.
The Brutality of Bond
This latest take on Bond might come as a surprise for those who only know 007 from the movie franchise. The Bond made popular in films from Eon Productions is an aspirational figure, a smooth operator decked out in luxury brands (remember his expresso maker in Live and Let Die?). Save for some notable exceptions, he ends his exploits unscarred and in the arms of a beautiful woman.
To be sure, these takes do find Bond committing horrible acts of brutality. In Thunderball, Bond uses Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi) as a human shield to protect himself from an assassination attempt during a dance, dropping her dead body at a table when he’s done with her. In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond strangles a woman with her bikini top. Timothy Dalton’s Bond knocks corrupt DEA agent Ed Killifer (Twin Peaks‘s Everett McGill) into a shark tank in License to Kill. Even the debonair Pierce Brosnan Bond offs media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) by dropping him into a drill at the end of Tomorrow Never Dies.
But as shocking as these moments are, the Bond films find ways of dulling or justifying the actions. Carver, Killifer, and others are bad guys getting their just rewards. The fights look cool, occurring on amazing Ken Adam sets and accompanied by a rollicking score. The natural charisma of Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or even George Lazenby compels us to like Bond, even after his terrible acts.
Despite some initial reservations about the Scottish Connery playing 007, Bond creator Ian Fleming largely liked the adaptations he saw. However, the movie Bonds lacked the cold-blooded cruelty of the book character. Fleming claimed that he wrote his Bond books for “warm-blooded heterosexuals in railway trains, airplanes, or beds,” and while that fits the fantasy figure of the movies, his Bond had a palpable lack of feeling. He was a tool of Her Majesty’s secret service in the guise of a human being.
A Cold Comic-Book Bond
Ennis and Lobosco’s Bond has no such softness about him. A veteran of flashy books such as Vampirella and Hack/Slash, Lobosco tempers his dynamic sensibilities to let the reader see Bond’s hard edges. He draws Bond with none of the glamor of the actors who portrayed 007 in the past, and instead makes him a more unremarkable figure, befitting the dull instrument of Fleming’s works. The furrowed brow and clenched jaw that Lobosco gives Bond betrays no internal feelings, but rather operate as nothing more than mechanical functions.