Something For The Weekend: Jimmy’s Bastards From Garth Ennis, Russ Braun And AfterShock Comics

by Oliver MacNamee

Of course this was always going to be a reverential satire of James Bond and the sexual politics of the time, which has only really faded since Daniel Craig’s grim, gritty take up of the role. And with writer Garth Ennis at the helm, the jokes and jabs at the sexism of yesteryear, that is personified in Jimmy Regent, an anachronistic throwback to Fleming’s original chauvinist spy, are only equaled by the blood spilt across this series, Jimmy’s Bastards, now collected in the one trade by Aftershock.

Jimmy is a man who’s time is up, but no-one’s ever informed him and so he effortlessly fends off would be terrorists and colourful but crazy villains with names as ridiculously funny as their costumes. And this is just on the first few pages of the first chapter, what would have been the first issue, of course.

Enter Nancy McEwan, his new partner and an agent far from impressed at Jimmy’s reputation as they face down Jimmy’s illegitimate children. A whole cult full of ’em, thanks to years of sleeping his way around the globe. Talk about being part of the problem. Although, it would seem Jimmy is a big part of the violent solution too, as he calmly strolls from one danger to another, while all around him lose their head. That is until the Gender Fluid is unleashed and all Hell breaks loose across London.

The suave style of art Russ Braun brings to bear on this book is the perfect fit. His clean, clear, confident line-work reminds me greatly of José Luis García-López, but I’m sure I’m not the first to pay him that compliment. It’s both classic and contemporary, giving Jimmy, and his wardrobe, a sense of a man with sophisticated tastes but somewhat dated; in a good way. He still shops on Saville Row while the rest of us make do with TJ Maxx.

If you’re a fan of Ennis, then you’ll know what to expect, with some jokes (especially the scene in which Regent is revealed to be being fellated by one of many women he has gone off with, on the promise of a good time and plenty of Bolly, as you do) bordering on the shocking for the sake of it I felt. But, as a Bond parody, it works exceptionally well. His drinking and carousing are all questioned by an unimpressed McEwan, and his victory is by no means a forgone conclusion, either, as it sets up the scene for a follow up series I’d be more than happy to read after this first volume.

Overall, it’s a fast paced, slick ride suitable for any Bond-like protagonist with its conspiratorial, globally reaching bastards (literally) and the threat of violence around every corner, all with Ennis’s trademark gross-out wit.

Jimmy’s Bastards Vol.1 is out now from AfterShock Comics.