Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007: Serpent’s Tooth by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy (graphic novels review).

Over the years, I’ve become more reluctant to read media tie-ins, mostly because they aren’t canon and tend to be ignored by source. Thing is I had a curiosity as to how writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy tackled James Bond. ‘Serpent’s Tooth’ is a couple words quote from Shakespeare and used in the story, doing all but have Bond face a dinosaur.

In many respects, Moench has done a checklist of what makes a James Bond film. Big nasty villain intent on ruling the world. James Bond being brought in at short notice after the loss of 009. Selection of special weapons from Q branch. Exotic locations. Women siding with Bond. You get the picture.

About the main thing he gets wrong is Bond referring to Q by his real name. It took years before there was a reveal about that but Bond never calls him that, its always Q. You do have to wonder why any opposition hasn’t decided to take Q out considering how vital he is to the SIS. The weaponry isn’t overplayed and Bond still has to depend on his wits to survive from time to time. Have I said enough to spike interest without going spoiler?

Paul Gulacy’s art, as always, is stunning to look at. Occasionally, with car chases, there is an inherent weakness for any comicbook artist for fast motion not looking quite right. However, it is made up elsewhere. As far as I can see, he hasn’t based any of the characters on anyone, least of all the Bond films. Bond does have a touch of the Hoagy Carmichael, with his hair parted in the opposite direction, about him but that’s who Ian Fleming based him on, so not too surprised there.

Considering this has been out since 1993, its more surprising that Dark Horse hasn’t released a single volume of these three books, especially as how the prices are rising on the secondary market. Then again, that might be down to licencing.

If you’re a Gulacy and Moench completest but missed these three books, then I don’t think you’d be unhappy.

GF Willmetts

April 2022

Book 1: ISBN: 1-878574-38-4

Book 2: ISBN: 1-878574-39-6

Book 3: ISBN: 1-878574-40-4X

Each 117 page squarebound softcover, 1993. Prices: varies around £12.00-£36.00 (UK) each so don’t pay out on the most expensive. Thing is, you need all three books for the whole story.

check out website: www.darkhorse.com

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