James Bond: Felix Leiter Issues #1 to 4
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colors: Salvatore Aiala
Letters: Simon Bolland
Cover: Mike Perkins and Andy Troy
Give Dynamite credit. If you are going to take on the James Bond franchise you better be prepared to hire the best writers in the industry. Dynamite’s first two Bond storylines were written by Warren Ellis and the third was by Andy Diggle. In keeping with the tradition of utilizing the best writers for the franchise, they hired James Robinson (Starman, Hawkman, and The Golden Age) to pen the adventures of C.I.A agent Felix Leiter.
Felix Leiter has long been a staple of the James Bond universe. Geo-politically it makes sense that if MI-6 is going to have an operative with a license to kill running around the globe, the United States would probably want to keep an eye on him. Leiter himself has not fared as well as physically as his buddy Bond has though. In Ian Fleming’s book Live and Let Die Felix is mauled by a shark and loses his right hand and left leg. If you only know Leiter from the films rather than the books you might have missed this tidbit because it does not show up until Timothy Dalton’s dismal second (and final) outing as Bond in License to Kill.
Felix, now a private investigator with a storefront office in Key West is hired as a contractor by the C.I.A. to go to Tokyo and work with the C.I.R.O. (Japan’s version of the C.I.A, and MI-6). His job is simple, work with Tiger Tanaka (remember him from You Only Live Twice?) to identify a Russian assassin who has succeeded in wiping all traces of her existence from the computer records of all world’s intelligence agencies. The hitch? Felix and the assassin worked (and loved) together in Afghanistan and he still has feelings for her.
To make matters worse, a terrorist attack using an unknown chemical agent occurs in Tokyo. Suddenly Leiter who is relatively bitter about living life with a prosthetic arm and leg finds himself in the middle of a much larger and more complicated situation than just indicating a Russian ex-lover and assassin.
The art by Aaron Campbell fits the story well. I say that grudgingly as I am not a huge fan of his style. In the first three issues of the book there are some immaculate and creative use of light source and shading. Whereas his scratchy (for lack of a better term) style of drawing people has not worked for me previously in his Green Hornet and Shadow Comics, it fits perfectly in the often unpleasant and ugly world of international terrorism and spy craft.
The highest praise I can give this series and the rest of the Dynamite James Bond books is when I read them I actually start to hear music from the films in my head. I am genuinely looking forward to the fifth issue of this series. Go to your local comic store and give it a shot. It is well worth the effort and money.