We'll start with the best thing there is when it comes to the genre of spy fiction, which brings us to Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond and his play in the world of comic books. Dynamite Entertainment has had a very glorious year of delivering comics based on the character that neither have resulted in disappointment nor a brief dissatisfaction on behalf of any fan.
Black Box, with the interior art delivered by Rapha Lobosco. When asked about the development of the storyline, Percy told us all that while he wanted to keep in touch with the spirit of the novels by exploring Bond's psychology, he also said that his take on the character and adventure was to be a love letter to the Roger Moore (Rest his soul) era films. Putting him on the trail of chasing an evil megalomaniac, Bond teams up with a freelance lady spy named Selah Sax to secure and destroy a black box containing worldwide information of intelligence secrets that could put the entire globe at risk of international security and political unrest. It ran from January to June, published in six issues, with a collected edition in hardcover format scheduled to be published later this month.
|Cover artwork by Gabriel Hardman|
Additional entries include a one-shot called Service by Kieron Gillen and Antonio Fuso, released in May, which oversees a story inspired by the political climate of the recent events as well as Britain's relationship with the United States of America, given the turnouts and the change of courses in government administration that differ in ideology than before. Another one-shot as well as a spin-off, featuring M's secretary and personal bodyguard, Moneypenny, was published three months later in August, simply titled Moneypenny, written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Jacob Edgar.
|Cover artwork by Greg Smallwood|
Future plans for Dynamite's Bond comics include the already-announced The Body by writer Ales Kot, whose premise offers a rather unconventional pacing for a Bond story, as he is being checked up by a doctor at the Shrublands (first seen in Thunderball) health clinic, examining 007's scars, with each of them being discussed and how Bond acquired them separately on different assignments. Luca Casalanguida, of course, returns to illustrate the interior art for the third time, which, in my opinion, is the highlight of the entry. It's unclear so far whether The Body is part of the main James Bond saga, or just another standalone miniseries featuring the character like Hammerhead and Kill Chain, but it is scheduled to debut in January 2018. There's also a one-shot "Christmas special" Solstice by Ibrahim Moustafa (both writing and illustrating), which is due to come out later this month. A graphic novel adaptation of Casino Royale that stays faithful to the book rather than updating it will be delivered by creators Van Jensen and Dennis Calero at an unspecified date.
There are also plans for a separate timeline set in the time period of 1941-1945 under the working title James Bond Origins: The War Years, featuring Bond at the beginning of his spy career long before the events occurred in the first of the Ian Fleming novels. It was to be originally seeing the light of the day during Fall 2017. Presumably to avoid overkill, Dynamite pushed the title back to Spring 2018 according to Comic Shop News, with senior editor Joseph Rybandt talking about it in the following:
"We're doing a mix of both [standalones and longer series]--and it was always planned as a mix. We had some things in our schedule that took our main series offline for a bit, but we're coming back strong in 2018 with a new miniseries in January [The Body] and then our most ambition Bond project in late spring or early summer [War Years]."Shifting from Dynamite Entertainment to Ian Fleming Publications, Anthony Horowitz will become the first continuation novelist in the Bond series since Raymond Benson to write yet another installment in his tenure after having his first effort, Trigger Mortis meet positive reviews back in 2015. Still untitled as of yet, Horowitz revealed that the book will come out in Fall 2018, with its story taking place before the events of Casino Royale, which begs the question whether Dynamite's War Years will be in connection with it, as well as the Young Bond counterparts, with all three forming canon in the literary universe of the James Bond adventures.
There has been a lot going on with the James Bond franchise in the literary and comic book worlds, while the film series is still offline, apart from the announcement of Daniel Craig reprising his role as James Bond for possibly the last time, wanting to "go out on a high note." Neal Purvis & Robert Wade are returning to pen the script for the 25th installment in the series, which is set to come out in theatres on 8 November 2019. Other than hefty rumors, no other concrete revelations have been unveiled yet, including the distributors of the motion picture as well as the film director.
Close but no cigar, now we give a transition from Bond (almost) to another spy franchise, Eon Productions, under the management of Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have been producing the James Bond films since 1995, are set to produce a different spy thriller based on a novel by Mark Burnell, titled The Rhythm Section, which itself is the first book in a series centered on Stephanie Patrick, whom actress Blake Lively is announced to play. In this story, Stephanie Patrick is on the path of self-destruction after the death of her family in a plane crash. After discovering that the crash was not an accident, her anger awakens a new sense of purpose and she rises to uncover the truth by adapting the identity of an assassin to track down those responsible. The film will be directed by Reed Romano and distributed by Paramount Pictures, set for release on 22 February 2019, almost nine months before the next James Bond film comes out in theatres.
|Blake Lively will star in The Rhythm Section as Stephanie Patrick|
|Official Artwork by Philip Tan|
We're back to comic books, yet again, and with Dynamite Entertainment nonetheless, that are one of the best (if not the best!) comic book companies of today. Debuting in November, Agent 47: Birth of The Hitman, interconnects with the events of the aforementioned video game, while delving deep into 47's past and his first official assassination, as well as his association with the shadow client from the video game's 'Season 1', whom he looked up to as a brother. The second issue is set to come out later this month, which is said to set up the upcoming events in 'Season 2'. It also explores further into the background of 47's closest ally and his missions handler within the ICA, Diana Burnwood, at the beginning of her career and rise above ranks. The comic book is written by Chris Sebela and illustrated by Jonathan Lau.
Back in September, the world saw the release of the long-awaited and demanded sequel to the critically acclaimed 2015 spy extravaganza film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, a gory and violent love letter to the cultural impact that the spy fiction on the screens left upon, including the James Bond films, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (itself adapted to film in 2015) and The Avengers (no, not the Marvel Comics superheroes) with John Steed and Emma Peel.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle, this sequel expands upon its predecessor with an original story by Matthew Vaughn (who returns to direct) and Jane Goldman (who also worked on the screenplay of the first). Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong reprise their roles as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, Harry Hart and Merlin respectively, who team up with their American counterpart organization called Statesman, after their very own spy committee, Kingsman, was destroyed and wiped off the face of the earth by the villainous Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) and her henchman, Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft). It also stars Jeff Bridges as Champagne, the charismatic head of Statesman, Pedro Pascal as Jack Daniels, a Statesman agent, and last but not least Halle Berry as Statesman's technician and quartermaster, Ginger Ale. It also features special appearances by Channing Tatum, Poppy Delevingne and Elton John. Although, not as successful as the first film, The Golden Circle was welcomed by the fans of both the films and the comic book, as well as the general audience.
|Cover Artwork by Leinil Francis Yu|
|Kingsman: The Secret Service by YesGnome|
If I could bring it to a highlight and help introduce to the mainstream spotlight, earlier this year, a video game company called Artplant, purchased the rights to Project I.G.I., a tactical first-person shooter video game series developed by Innerloop Studios. The franchise consists of two video games, one simply titled Project I.G.I.: I'm Going In (published by Eidos Interactive), and the other called I.G.I. 2: Covert Strike (published by Codemasters). While the publishing rights to the first video game remains with Square Enix, which obtained every intellectual property that Eidos Interactive had in 2009, the second video game is made available to download on GOG.com. Both the games see an agent of I.G.I. (acronym for Institute for Geotactical Intelligence), David Jones, a former SAS officer, embark on a mission to prevent an international crisis provoked by rogue war-mongers.
|Promotional Art for Project I.G.I.: We're Going In|
Video games company 3D Realms is known for franchises like Duke Nukem and Rise of The Triad, both of which have been part of the culture that revolutionized the world of video games during the 1990s as First-Person Shooters, following the footsteps of Wolfenstein 3D, a franchise that was used to be part of the spy fiction before Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) changed courses for it. Recently, 3D Realms announced that they were working on a new video game, their first in years, called Shadow Stalkers, a video game that is aimed for gamers from Generation X. Its content is said to be of the flavor circulating around James Bond and Hitman.
|Official title logo for Shadow Stalkers|
Before it goes a case forgotten, after its latest appearance on the screen four years back, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character is given a comeback in TV series format, sponsored by Amazon's streaming services. First announced in September 2015 as a project by Paramount Television, televised by former Lost showrunners, Cartlon Cuse and Graham Roland, and co-financed by Michael Bay's production company, Platinum Dunes, as well as Skydance Media, Amazon commissioned three scripts for the Pilot episode, after which stage a ten-episode straight-to-series was ordered. Directors Morten Tyldum (Passengers) and Daniel Sackheim (The Americans) were brought on board, with Tyldum directing the Pilot, and Sackheim handling multiple other episodes as well as producing the series.
Succeeding in the shoes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine, the latest actor to portray Jack Ryan was announced to be John Krasinski, with his version said to be "a contemporary take on Tom Clancy's character." Despite this, however, the series is said to be heavily influenced by the Harrison Ford films, Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994), which might be an indication to feature a more experienced field agent-like Jack Ryan than just another CIA analyst paving his way to rise above ranks in his career. Abbie Cornish joined the regulars cast as Cathy Muller, Ryan's fiancee. Actors Peter Fonda, Timothy Hutton, Mena Massoud and Wendell Pierce also co-star in the series. Titled Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, it's set to premiere on Amazon Video sometime in 2018.
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