James Bond: Felix Leiter #1
Written by: James Robinson
Drawn by: Aaron Campbell
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
From superstar creative team James Robinson (Starman, Red Sonja) and Aaron Campbell (The Shadow, Uncanny) comes the Bond spin-off highlighting 007’s American counterpart! Felix Leiter finds himself in Japan, tracking down a beautiful, Russian spy from his past.
But when the mission takes a turn for the worse, he will discover that there are more deadly schemes afoot in Tokyo and beyond!
In the James Bond movies, Felix Leiter is never given much to do, even though he is Bond’s best friend and top CIA ally. He’s never been a fan favorite either, but that’s probably because seven actors have portrayed Felix in the movies. And the last time Felix played a major part in a movie, he was kidnapped the night of his wedding, his bride murdered, and then he was thrown into a shark pool, where his arm and leg were bitten off. Even in the Daniel Craig era, Jeffrey Wright was given little to do as Felix, sharing few scenes with 007.
In James Bond: Felix Leiter #1, writer James Robinson brings us a very different Felix Leiter. As the series opens, Felix is no longer working for the CIA, and is instead working as a private investigator. His current assignment sees Felix helping the Japanese identify a Russian assassin named Alena.
Robinson’s Felix is a man who is down on his luck, looking more like a homeless guy rather than a top spy. But thanks to some “upgrades” to his prosthetic limbs, courtesy of a certain British friend, Felix is also learning that he isn’t as helpless as he once thought. And we learn that even Felix has a sate for dangerous women, and a specific drink.
The artwork took some getting used to, due to some scratchy line work and some
inconsistency from page to page. For instance, in one page, there’s a gorgeously detailed neon cityscape. The next, everything on the page is mess, so you have to study it to figure out what the heck is going on.
Robinson’s writing however, is good enough to make you forget about the problems with artwork. But beware: this is a very slow burn story. However – there’s huge potential here, and I trust James Robinson will deliver in the end.
One of the coolest things about issue #1 is that is also introduces another Bond supporting character in the form of Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese secret service (portrayed by Tetsuro Tamba in You Only Live Twice). I always liked the cracter and was dissapointed he never again appeared in a Bond film.
While James Bond: Felix Leiter #1 is not as compelling as Warren Ellis’ 007 series (yet), Felix Leiter is still a satisfying read thanks to James Robinson, the book’s ties to the main Bond title, and its expansion of James Bond’s world, and for finally giving 007’s friend a turn in the spotlight.
James Bond: Felix Leiter #1 score: B