Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Luca Casalanguida
Colors: Chris Blythe
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Greg Smallwood
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Kill Chain is the newest, of several, James Bond miniseries released by Dynamite over the last few years. The creative team of Diggle & Casalanguida return, after an arc by Gillen & Fuso, to follow up their Hammerhead storyline.
The book starts on a Russian tundra with a dour man speaking in parables. We’re not told this is the “big bad”, but the ominous threat is felt through the art and dialogue.
We catch up with Bond, using his charms to seduce a female agent, Ryka Van De Havik (I kind of love that name). It all seems very by the books, until we find out that she isn’t just another notch on his belt. Like any good spy story, no-one can be trusted. What people are capable of isn’t apparent until you feel their knife in your back. Even as we see that nothing is as it appears, the story is still easy to navigate, and stays intense throughout. Without ruining anything, the issue also leaves Bond contemplating his own actions, a slower moment we don’t often see from the iconic character.
Casalanguida’s art compliments both the Bond aesthetic, as well as Diggle’s gritty writing. He employs a traditional cartooning style like Will Eisner or Darwyn Cooke, with shades of Tim Sale’s darker, rigid figure work. The action is chaotic, but Luca never loses the flow of movement from panel to panel. The female lead is properly seductive, and though Bond doesn’t mirror any of his Hollywood counterparts, you always know it’s him. It’s worth mentioning that the colors were dead on, as well. Drab, muted tones make the blasts of gunfire and explosions pop.
This issue had all the Bond tropes we’ve come to expect, but handles them incredibly well. It also manages to subvert some of those expectations, showing that even Agent 007 is human. The art is spot on and delivers on every front. It reads quickly, so I’ll be happy to see the next instalment of this series.