Ales Kot is on a goddamn roll. After having just released a thoughtful, politically-charged comic, a coming of age sci-fi thriller, as well as working on a Bloodborne series, Kot has different fingers in many different pies, his brain firing from the left and right, on every cylinder. If any of his previous works may have sounded too high-concept or felt too dense for you, fear not, comic-lover– this Bond’s for you.
For Bond fans looking for familiarity from their globe-trotting hero, Kot’s take on the character in James Bond: The Body, released by Dynamite, is closest to Daniel Craig’s: gritty, grounded, and bloody. Complementing Kot’s square-jawed, Bruce Wayne-ish Bond is Luca Casalanguida, whose art is a perfect fit for the material. Not too realistic, but not cartoony, just enough breathing room between reality and escapism to give this Bond gravitas.
What makes their take on the character and world unique thus far is both the humor and hints of ethics inherent in just this issue alone, served in a somewhat minimalist manner.
In this first issue of The Body, the story begins with Bond being cared for by his sassy, faithful butler, his MI6 medical doctor, Dr. Vird. As Vird patches Bond up from yet another night of physical punishment (which Bond takes pleasure in: “I want it to hurt.”), Bond recounts the events of his evening which led him to this bandage-filled moment.
The banter between Bond and Vird is the highlight of the issue, writing-wise, as their conversation bounces from surgical detailing to breaks of playful pop culture references. (Praying for the Bond / Manson buddy cop issue.)
Kot once described Bond as a “complex” character, calling out the “imperialist colonialist construct” qualities of the character. It’ll be interesting to see how he addresses this in further issues, but here in issue #1, stokes that fire by having Bond react unfavorably to a racist food service worker.
It’s not the crux of the issue, but it certainly provokes some thought as to how different this Bond will be. Non-womanizing thus far, as well as #woke. I can’t wait to see where Kot and Casalanguida take this.
James Bond: The Body #1
Written by Ales Kot
Drawn by Luca Casalanguida
James Bond: The Body #1 released on January 17th, 2018 from Dynamite.