For the fans of the spy genre, last year had a brief revival of a twelve month period longevity of the aptly named "Spy Craze", arriving on the hot spot for the first time since the 1960s, beginning with Kingsman: The Secret Service, significantly followed by the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise as well as a film adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which itself is a period piece set in the sixties, and wrapping the run with the long-awaited twenty-fourth entry in the James Bond series, Spectre.
|A panel from James Bond 007: Hammerhead, art by Luca Casalanguida and Chris Blythe|
Other spy films released this year include the comedy-oriented Central Intelligence starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, and lest we forget, the second adventure in Gerard Butler's Mike Banning Secret Service adventures, London Has Fallen, earning enough success for the producers to commission another sequel, revealed to be titled Angel Has Fallen. Furthermore, Jason Statham returns as the world's deadliest assassin, Arthur Bishop in Mechanic: Resurrection, featuring an ensemble cast consisting of Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh and Tommy Lee Jones. For those not aware, the film is a sequel to the 2011 adaptation of The Mechanic, made famous by the beloved actor for action lovers, Charles Bronson. And then along came yet another spy comedy, Keeping Up with The Joneses, starring Jon Hamm, the celebrated "Mad Man" (mind the pun?), as a Bond-like secret agent, paired up with Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, the lady spy. Director Robert Zemeckis delivered yet another outstanding film under his helm set in World War II, with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard equally cast in the lead roles of intelligence agents with a directive to take down a Nazi ambassador in Casablanca. Titled Allied, the story centers on the life of the two spies and their love story in the time of war, as both come to struggle with conspiracies that loom over them like shadows. It was met with positive reviews.
|James Bond #1 Exclusive Cover|
by Timothy Lim
Meanwhile, in October 2016, Dynamite released a separate James Bond comic book in the vein of the generic incarnation of the cinematic series, entitled Hammerhead, by writer Andy Diggle and artist Luca Casalanguida, both of whose works in terms of storytelling and art direction were praised. The comic consists of six issues and acts on its own, unrelated to the ongoing series as cited above. Additionally, the publishers have been planning on a faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, soon to come out on its own as a graphic novel rather than a serialized comic book. But, a first look at the title is yet to be previewed.
Hitman video game franchise also arrived, but rather than overseeing a full release, the game is episodically debuted every month as its developing studio IO Interactive puts a level in the market every month. In difference from the previous installments, the game, simply titled Hitman, is campaigned in the way of a television series, running its course from March to October 2016, with a retail version set to come out in January 2017, labeled as Season 1. No talk has been made of a supposed Season 2, as of yet, but it's rather obvious it is in the pipeline. The story deals with a shadow client setting the fuse to a war provocation between ICA and Providence, a secret society that covertly controls important world affairs, while Agent 47 and his handler and trusted confidant, Diana Burnwood carry out the bloodwork while investigating the mystery behind their hire.
2016 has been quite a ride for the spy fiction genre overall, with several media formats welcoming in original titles and sequels in parallel, and filling in their own importance within the industries while the superheroes keep smashing the box-office and gaining the primary attention. And this was the first article published in this very weblog, more to come soon with every announcement in the open.
Thank you for reading and welcome to The Secret Agent Lair!