One of the things I love about comics is their ability to continually reinvent old concepts for new times and audiences, such as Frank Miller’s Batman and Scott Snyder’s Batman or Kurt Busiek’s and George Perez’s Avengers and Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers. Now, we get a reinvention of the James Bond franchise for comics in the form of Warren Ellis’ and Jason Masters’ “James Bond 007: Vargr” #1.

I’m not the biggest James Bond fan, but I’ve seen all of the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig films (I thought Brosnan’s became a bit too campy and think Craig’s are a bit too serious) and I’m slowly making my way through the older films, having seen all of the Sean Connery and George Lazenby films and the first three Roger Moore films (I thought Connery’s films were the best, thought Lazenby was too sentimental, and think Moore is a bit too arrogant/brash in the role). Of the original novels, I haven’t read any. All of that is context for my saying that I really enjoyed the first issue of “Vargr”.

With “Vargr”, we get a new James Bond exclusive to comics, along with new versions of M, Q, and Moneypenny — familiar, yet new and fresh at the same time. We also get the familiar Bond trappings such as a cold open and the promise of a villain with unusual or peculiar qualities. It’s a James Bond we can all recognize, yet for me it feels more pure than the films because we’re not tied to any one actor’s portrayal of Bond. Ellis seems to be channeling the essence of Bond, rather than writing for the qualities of a particular actor. In a sense, Ellis has reinvented/rebooted/revived Bond for comics and it’s pretty good stuff, and this continual reinvention of older concepts is something comics does so well and one of the reasons why I love the medium.

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