By Brandy Dykhuizen and Jarrod Jones. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while squeezing in a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
James Bond 007: Hammerhead #1
Written by Andy Diggle.
Art by Luca Casalanguida.
Colors by Chris Blythe.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
JJ: Andy Diggle stepping into Dynamite’s James Bond series might be the biggest no-brainer 2016 has seen so far. Sharp-witted and armed with a keen eye for what makes a solid action sequence — coupled with the small fact that the writer’s been working with Dynamite for the last three years (check out Control if you haven’t already) — it came as little surprise that the London-born scribe would slip into the role as 007’s latest writer after Warren Ellis wrapped up his run earlier this year.
Unsurprising maybe, but it was still an exciting proposition nonetheless. James Bond, as written by the fella who wrote The Losers, Hellblazer (starring another iconic English character, John Constantine), and Action Comics #19? (That last one’s a touch specific, maybe, but I’m still sore over Diggle leaving that title.) I may not be the best at keeping track of my money, but I’m pretty certain $3.99 shuffled its way out of my wallet the moment those solicitations hit.
Now we have Hammerhead #1, a sharp little doozy of a debut with all the action, one-liners, and slick sophistication you can handle in a 007 yarn. Diggle’s story comes with the same pulpy vibe as Ellis’ Vargr storyline (only with a punchier title), where our sleek superspy more closely resembles Fleming’s brow-beaten 00 agent than the cat-like Connerys and Brosnans of the past. Diggle’s Bond is about as blue-collar as Daniel Craig’s take on the character — here, Bond is preposterously good at his job, but he does tend to leave his footprints on the living room rug.
Much like Sam Mendes’ 007 was influenced by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Diggle lets a little of that “grim superhero” seep into his story. Here Bond glowers over the Dubai Arms Fair while grappling with the task he will soon undertake, he swings into an earlier action sequence garbed in black via grappling hook, and he interrogates a suspect by dangling him over a stairwell. That’s all good stuff made better by Luca Casalanguida’s sturdy artwork, which evokes the work of certain Batman artists from the Nineties — chiefly that of Graham Nolan, though there’s a bit of Scott McDaniel in there as well. Casalanguida and Diggle’s efforts are going to make a stupendous hardcover one day, just you watch.
With all this goodwill going around, it’s frustrating that I have to mention letterer Simon Bowland’s peculiar creative decisions, which take more than a minute to get used to — Bowland employs lowercase letters in Hammerhead‘s dialogue, which is fine, but when Diggle puts tense in a character’s dialogue, Bowland simply capitalizes the words. With all the acronyms that generally fly around this kind of exposition, the lettering causes a visual discord; there were times where it felt as though people were screaming at each other for no reason whatsoever. (M, to Bond: “HUNT ENGINEERING, 007. As in Britain’s leading ARMS MANUFACTURER.“) Ctrl+I, Ctrl+B, Mr. Bowland. It will make for a more engaging read.
7.5 out of 10
Written by Jim Zub.
Art by Djibril Morissette-Phan.
Colors by K. Michael Russell.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
BD: Farrah may have some obvious struggles maintaining the demons beneath the surface, but it appears she has also gotten under the skin of a few other folks. She’s sharing her dark cloud, not only by distributing her doom and gloom, but by leaving a conspicuous trail of blood behind her. Even the fellow actress who’s irritating optimism Farrah shut down during a casting call sees fit to bring the experience up at her next head-shrinking session. Her acting skills might not be getting her the recognition she deserves, but the powerful anger she’s toting around sure is getting noticed.
Part Hollywood noir, part commentary on ageism and replaceability, Glitterbomb dives into the darker side of an already perverse place. Farrah is questioned by a plainclothes policeman near the murder scene, and while he lets her go for now, we get the impression this is only the first move in a drawn out cat-and-mouse chase. Her brutal honesty and lack of sadness at her agent’s passing may not be entirely out of line, but Detective Rahal doesn’t seem convinced by her demeanor that this is all just flippant talk.
For anyone who’s worked in showbusiness, the criticisms on impermanence and clamoring to be a part of the revolving door of pretty faces must sting true. Those of us whose paths are less in the public eye can still relate to the fear of being replaced by a younger, prettier model, and Farrah’s frustration by the pointlessness of it all. It may not be the most uplifting of stories, but Glitterbomb gets right to the point with the absurdity of expectation and insatiability, and is happy to dole out the pain where vengeance is due.
7 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.