Friday, September 1, 2017

Review - Moneypenny One-Shot (@DynamiteComics)


"Oh leave Agent Moneypenny alone. She's here to protect us, after all."

When it comes to characters, James Bond has more or less cornered the market on the international spy business. There are others in his organization that support him though; some of whom aren't nearly as feted because their roles are perceived as nothing more than support. In Moneypenny One-Shot from Dynamite Entertainment that's shown to be far from the case. The issue is written by Jody Houser, illustrated by Jacob Edgar, colored by Dearbhla Kelly and lettered by Simon Bowland.

On a 'routine' protection mission, Moneypenny discovers a complicated assassination plot that bears a startling resemblance to a terrorist attack from her childhood. Can she call upon her secret agent skills to stop the plot...?

While James Bond's exploits and abilities are often the center of attention in that universe, Houser wants to remind readers that he's not the only agent with a propensity for awesomeness. Houser's approach in Moneypenny One-Shot is to explore the past of the titular character herself in a way that's intertwined with the overall narrative. Moneypenny is clearly every bit as capable as most other agents and Houser's narrative explores her training and tribulations to get to where she is today. The dialogue is fairly succinct yet extremely effective at doing just that--Moneypenny reacts to situations with a cool calmness that's makes for a top agent. By the end of the issue, Houser allows the other characters to demonstrate a subtle and unspoken reverence for Moneypenny on the part of those who know her best, enforcing the notion that she's confident in her abilities and in general.

Giving the book a retro feel are Edgar's illustrations. His style is somewhat pulpish in its appearance and the characters are illustrated with clean, thin lines throughout that allow them to stand out effectively against the settings. Seeing Moneypenny spring into action is quite beautiful because Edgar's style affords her an elegance as she charges into battle despite plenty of bullets whizzing by her. The fact that Edgar chose a very formal panel layout also plays into the notion that Moneypenny is a lot more business than pleasure--the complete opposite of James Bond in many stories. Kelly's colors are largely muted and bolster the book's somewhat anachronistic feel in a good way.

Moneypenny One-Shot is a fun issue that really delves into one the more prevalent characters in the James Bond universe. Moneypenny is generally depicted as a calm and reserved agent behind a desk, but there's enough in the issue to prove to readers that she's anything but that. Houser respects the character and wants to ensure that the reader respects her just as much. Edgar's illustrations are a great fit for the overall tone of the book. Moneypenny One-Shot offers a pretty brilliant origin story of sorts for Moneypenny and by the end of the issue the day is saved without nearly the same collateral damage that the other 00 agent is known for.

Moneypenny One-Shot is available now.

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