By Dustin Cabeal
I picked this up to read because I was terribly confused by it. How exactly was this a James Bond title with a scruffy blond man on the cover? Well, it’s not, not in the sense that it follows James Bond, but rather Felix Leiter. The joke was on me because I thought I could just pick this up and maybe enjoy it without having to read any of the other James Bond titles, but this character comes straight out of Warren Ellis’ run that either just wrapped or has one more awkward issue left. How does it tie in with Hammerhead? No idea. How do all three fit together? No idea. Having read this, it’s unlikely that I’ll read anything else attached to it.
Felix is ex-CIA. He blew a job, and it cost him his right arm and left leg… weird that an explosion took opposite appendages, but I’m not a doctor or explosives expert. Now he’s doing a job for Japan as a favor to the US. He’s tracking down an old fling who’s traded sides and wiped any data of her existence off the map. There’s fighting, there are flashbacks, there’s some sex… James Bond shows up and bores everyone. It’s uninteresting.
The writing is slow and methodical which may match the novels, but is a poor fit for the comic. Felix never stops narrating, and it’s one big pity party for him. I lost track of how many times he brought up his arm and leg being lost or how he lost his job. I mean the issue mentions twice that he’s one of the few people alive that can identify this woman and you only need that information once. Felix is like your drunk dad telling you the same stories over and over and each time he remembers a detail that’s not important to the story, but you’re stuck there because I don’t know… family or something.
The art is strangely inconsistent. There are parts that are very gritty and good looking and then others that are lacking detail but still trying for the same look. It bounces back and forth, and it got a bit distracting after a while to the point that I stopped focusing on the visuals as much. To be honest, they weren’t needed much either because James Robinson’s narration never once trusts the artwork to tell the story.
I’m going to take a second and talk about the cover as well because Mike Perkins cover is super awkward if you really look at it. The face and hands seem to be in proportion but look at the shoulders and the arms. They’re tiny as fuck! Paired with that wide ass torso and it makes Felix’s head look huge. Seriously just look at it, and it gets harder and harder to accept.
The biggest disappointment of Felix Leiter is that it doesn’t stand alone. It needs James Bond to show up and remind you of the universe it’s in. There’s zero character development, just check boxes and too much backstory. If you’re just in love with Dynamite’s Bond Universe, then go for it, but if you do not then skip it.
James Bond 007: Felix Leiter #1
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainmen