This week, a new James Bond film comes to theaters with Spectre hitting North American shores after setting records in the UK. The film continues the Daniel Craig era of Bond, which offered a reboot of sorts, bringing in a new Bond who was back-to-basics and re-learning who and what he is.
But there's another James Bond coming to fans this week, in James Bond: VARGR, from Dynamite Entertainment. This James Bond, from writer Warren Ellis and artist Jason Masters, doesn't need to learn who he is.
"This is the fully-formed Bond of the middle/late period of the books," Ellis told ComicBook.com in an interview celebrating the release of the first issue. "This is the point at which Bond's weaknesses are in fact coming to the fore – the callousness, the vengefulness."
That's all coming directly from the Ian Fleming novels, which Ellis used exclusively for source material, something he said was "easy."
"The Fleming estate sent me all the original books and I re-read them all," he said nonchalantly of how he focused on those and not the films. Ellis then dryly joked he also had "aversion therapy for any other interpretation of the character. Just seeing a photo of Roger Moore will now make me convulse like Malcolm McDowell at the end of A Clockwork Orange."
This James Bond, then, is "very aware of his job description," and doesn't feel manipulated by his government. "It is a job for Bond, not a vocation. he doesn't approach much of his work with passion," Ellis explained. "He's a civil servant, after all."
That helps in bringing him out of the original era of those novels, and transposing him into the present day, as Ellis has. That's because "the core of the man's personality will be the same in any era," the writer said. "The socialization and politicitizing of that core – his upbringing, the mores of the time – will of course be different, and that's observed, I think, in VARGR. But a cruel misanthrope with some kind of sense of duty will be the same in any time, at the root. The expression is different in places because of what's expressed above – his gender and race politics are different, for instance, simply by dint of this Bond growing up in a different decade. But the things that intrinsically make him Bond are always going to be there no matter what."
Thankfully, he's balanced out a bit by his expanded cast. Ellis said it's necessary to have M, Bill Tanner, and Moneypenny in any Bond story in order to bring Bond into a palatable presentation.
"Tanner makes him human. Moneypenny makes him fallible. M puts him in his place. He'd be unbearable without those three people in his orbit," Ellis said simply.
Of the stories themselves, Ellis is contracted for a second volume, but he "hasn't quite settled on what that is yet." And as for the Norse word "VARGR" being a thematic hint or a more direct reference?
"Not telling," he teased. "Have fun with that."