James Bond 007 and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Dynamite Entertainment and Ian Fleming Publications
We’re back with even more of The Spy Who Adapted Me as we continue our journey following James Bond and his best buddy John Lee, AKA the new Oddjob, as they try to out spy each other in pursuit of a Russian man with an exploding luggage case! So far Mr. Lee has been the main reason to read this book as he is ridiculously well-realized and utterly charming to boot, but Bond himself is no slouch and is always ready to impress when the moment calls for it! Will these issues continue the fun and exciting adventures of our favorite new bromance, or have we already seen everything they’ve got to offer? Let’s find out!!
Issue 3 (January 2019)
The issue begins with M from MI6 talking with a Mr. Park from Blue House which is basically South Korea’s White House. It turns out that Mr. Lee, the new Oddjob that was introduced in the first issue, is in fact a South Korean agent and M has scheduled this little meeting so that they can get on the same page so that Bond and Lee don’t end up killing each other and losing Russian Guy in the process. It’s too bad that M didn’t have the foresight to do this BEFORE Bond was jumping out of an airplane in Australian, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.
Well to be fair, it’s not like anyone was EXPECTING him to jump out of the plane at this point in the mission, but on the other hand, expecting James Bond to follow protocol is like expecting the tides to not come in; you’d only be fooling yourself that it has any intention of listening! So what’s his plan anyway, now that he’s hurtling down to Earth at terminal velocity? So MI6 has confirmed that, for whatever reason, Russian Dude and his escort are heading to some sort of outpost in the middle of nowhere Australia, and since the main thing this base is for is illegal metal trading (including Uranium) there’s not a whole lot of possible outcomes that WOULDN’T be bad for the rest of the world. Bond was SUPPOSED To arrive later incognito but instead, he knocks out a guard and takes his uniform as well as his rifle to secure a nice vantage point for whenever Russian Dude arrives… or possibly someone else!
That’s right! Bond’s new best friend was lying in wait for him and they have yet another macho scuffle before Bond wings Lee in the shoulder and he disappears without a trace. With the path being secure, at least for the moment, he infiltrates the facility not long after Russian Dude arrived (darn Lee and his distracting charm!) and we get a bit more information as to what’s going on here. Russian Dude’s escort is confirmed to be an ORU operative and there’s a scientist at this facility that designed Russian Dude’s case. You remember; the one that Lee said would explode if he died? Well, that ends up being true and the lady from ORU wants the feature disabled because… I guess it would have been too easy to just pay the man?
Again, the big failing of this series so far is just how bland and one note the bad guys have been. There’s nothing particularly clever here; nor does there seem to be any reason for her to turn on this guy instead of working with him other than sheer single-minded villainy. Speaking of things that are single-minded, Bond was presumably hiding quite securely listening to all of this but has decided that now is the time for him to reveal himself in a cool pose just so he can show off and maybe get the ORU agent’s phone number. However, this proves to be a big enough distraction for the scientist to throw some vials of… science stuff I guess, that fills the room with smoke and gives her a chance to escape. Good ol’ Lee decides that now would be a dandy time to show up and the two of them start fighting as the ORU agent and Russian Dude make their escape; albeit it with a much shakier sense of trust between them. Seriously, how quiet must that car ride be now that Russian Dude knows he’s on borrowed time and the ORU agent has to find ANOTHER way to disengage that ridiculous (though quite highly effective) bomb case? Bond tries to pursue in a truck he finds, but Lee is so gosh darn determined to show how awesome he is (and I guess keep Bond from killing Russian Dude) that he climbs on top, bashes his way through the driver side door, and causes the car to crash in a fiery explosion! Thankfully our two super spies somehow manage to survive, but they do the one thing their commanding officers feared would happen; let the bad guys escape while they were playing games. Games by the way that they are FAR from done playing as they prepare for yet another round in front of the backdrop of a burning vehicle, but shots ring out just before they make contact which catches their attention and none other than Moneypenny is there to give these two boys a time out!
I did enjoy this issue quite a bit for the same reasons I did the last two issues as Bond and Lee’s rivalry is a whole lot of fun, but the obfuscation of the ACTUAL plot of this is starting to become annoying and I have the sneaking suspicion that it’s all for naught as I’m going to assume that the big plot once fully revealed won’t be as complicated or shocking as the buildup is leading us to believe. Still, we’re definitely on the right path now with Bond and Lee having to work together going forward, and I can only assume what kind of hijinks they’ll get up to! Maybe they’ll find a reason to put on a two-person horse costume or pretend to be a really tall person wearing a trench coat!
Issue 4 (February 2019)
The issue begins with something I’ve been BEGGING this series to do, and that’s to give us at least some information on who the bad guys are and what their ultimate target is. Apparently (I have no idea if this was covered in any of Dynamite’s other Bond books), there’s a freaking city-state island floating a hundred miles off the coast of San Francisco called OLYMPITECH PARADISE; some technocratic Utopia where all the Elon Musks of the world have built weird shaped buildings to toil away on experimental submarines or whatever the heck it is billionaires do in their spare time. Frankly, I imagine this is what Dana White believes his UFC Island nonsense will end up looking like instead of the reality which would just a bunch of people with compromised immune systems have bloody fights during a pandemic (dude should totally be the next Bond villain after the last few weeks of nonsense he’s been pushing) but regardless of what this OLYMITECH PARADISE is supposed to be, for our purposes it’s clearly the next target for ORU as we watch a simulation of its destruction being played for a bunch of shadowy figures.
For the record, PERHAPS I’ve been a bit too pushy in that regard considering how Bond movies are usually paced. Sure; a lot of the time the bad guy is kept mysterious and we only have a vague idea of the actual plot until about halfway through the movie. Blowfeld barely shows up in You Only Live Twice as a hand until the last twenty minutes, Blowfeld freaking dies at the start of Diamonds are Forever before showing up again halfway through it, and if you know anything about Goldeneye (both the movie and the game) Janus doesn’t reveal themselves until much later in the film. I don’t know, I guess I get a bit antsier with comic book pacing for whatever reason (which is why the Zombot arc in the Sonic Comic has been absolute torture for me) so let’s hit the reset button and start fresh! Now that we have that out of the way, what is this issue about? It’s about John Lee, Bond, and Moneypenny sitting in a hotel room doing nothing. Sigh… Okay, that’s probably a bit unfair. They’re doing SURVEILLANCE which means that all the sitting around has a purpose, but let’s back it up a bit. Everyone is still in Australia including the ORU agent and Russian Dude who are checking into a swanky resort and our rag-tag crew of international agents is hot on their heels to find out why. Sadly all the rooms close to the baddies have been reserved by a bachelorette party, and here’s where we have to get to the elephant in the room regarding Bond; namely the treatment of women the franchise continues to struggle with. To be fair, this isn’t ANYWHERE near some of the worst moments in the franchise’s history (You Only Live Twice has a particularly egregious bit of sexual manipulation), but watching Bond and company, along with the artist, visibly rolling their eyes at these women having fun… well for a franchise that rightfully shouldn’t have any slack regarding its depiction of women it comes off as rather crass. Still! We do learn a few key details here; namely that Bond is kind of wet blanket while Lee is KILLING it here and being the most charming man to have ever lived! Seriously, making Bond look like an old fogy while the younger, fun-loving, and less guarded version of him cleans up at the party is almost brilliant if I thought they were the least bit self-aware!
The reason I say that is because later on the issue Bond goes BACK to the party and is the center of attention as he seems to just sit sullenly with a drink in one hand and another drink soon to be in the other. I guess there are certain quotas you have to hit when adapting this license, but it comes off as an oddly out of place moment; especially since Lee and Moneypenny are ACTUALLY doing their jobs by then! The whole point of the bachelorette party ruse was to get one of the girls to take Lee back to her hotel room which is conveniently right next to Russian Dude and ORU Lady, and he puts a bug in the wall of her room after putting her to bed AND DOING NOTHING ELSE. See, Lee learned HIS playboy spy skills from Austin Powers who knew better than to take advantage of someone who had been drinking! Anyway, Moneypenny and Lee are working on that while Bond goes back to the bar, and while this stakeout is going on Russian Dude takes a swing at ORU Lady. Agent Lee, without missing a beat, runs to the room and KICKS THE DOOR TO PIECES which would be pretty impressive if ORU Lady didn’t then kick him right in the jaw. Apparently, some untrained Russian Dude taking a swipe at a trained assassin didn’t have much effect, though the chaos of all of this allowed Russian Dude to make a hasty escape. Bond, having heard the commotion, rushes out of the hotel to find Lee facing down Russian Dude who somehow managed to take ORU Lady hostage. I have no idea how this POSSIBLY could have happened considering where all three of them were prior to Bond rushing outside and what we know about their comparative skill levels, but in any case, Lee ends up shooting Russian Dude in the head which comes as a BIT of a surprise as he was the one who told Bond not to do that very thing; lest there be a huge explosion! Bond immediately dives for cover believing things are about to get very loud, but nothing happens other than a few presumed sniggers from those who saw his lightning-fast duck and cover.
I guess ORU Lady managed to crack the code which is why Russian Dude took a swing at her, but what’s more important right now is what Lee and ORU Lady are doing now that the dust has settled. It becomes clear that the two of them know each other and Lee is trying his best darn smolder to try and get her to see his way, but ORU Lady pulls a gun on him instead so I guess we’ll have to see if his chiseled jaw can deflect bullets! Not really as Bond manages to shoot the gun out of her hand, but while he’s lining up his sights for a killing blow Lee tackles him to the ground and ORU Lady escapes; not with the case, but with Bond and Lee none the wiser as to what the great scheme was that ORU was up to. Looks like someone has some explaining to do!
Lee explains that ORU Lady is actually a former agent buddy of his named Aria Kim that he’s desperate to save from ORU, and sure having the main henchperson of this organization being MIND CONTROLLED instead of a genuine believer in the cause is kind of disappointing (and I’m pretty sure this is also the plot of the first GI Joe movie), but giving Lee something that he’s THIS invested in can genuinely turn him into a threat. Even if the two of them truly like and respect each other, a personal mission like this could easily get in the way of that and we don’t know just how far Lee is willing to go even if it means having to kill Bond or vice versa. And so the issue ends on a rather uneasy note as Bond is no longer sure of Lee’s intentions; especially now that they have the briefcase that Russian Dude was willing to explode for. What’s inside? Just a bunch of gold apparently. Seems a bit antiquated in a world of cryptocurrency scams, but ORU certainly wanted their hands on it and now it’s far from their reach… OR IS IT!?
The issue started well enough and I’m at least intrigued by the ending, but the overall impression of this issue is that it’s kind of a mess; compromised either due to the convoluted nature of the script or due to limitations of the licensing agreement. It REALLY bugs me that they had Bond go back to the bar after they had already done what they needed to there, and for what purpose? So Bond looks cool I guess which I’m sure is mandated in whatever contracts Dynamite signed, but as with a lot of licensed books the best part are the ORIGINAL characters; namely John Lee who is still the best reason to read this series and is certainly driving the plot a lot more than Bond is right now. Hopefully, things will pick up now that we’ve got more defined antagonists and a personal goal for our REAL main character. Every book has its stumbling blocks and we can only hope this issue got them all out of the way.