Bubbles O’Seven takes to the stage in his first outing in Dr O. James Bond with a simian twist, creators Grainne McEntee and Matt Rooke are taking much loved tropes of the spy genre and giving them their own spin. Silly and enjoyable, Bubbles O’Seven is here to fill the gap in your collection reserved for classic spies and lighthearted entertainment.
Publisher: Bounce Comics
Writer: Grainne McEntee
Artist: Matt Rooke
Price: £3 from Bounce Comics
Our rating: [star rating=”4″]
Bubbles O’Seven harks back to classic James Bond, back when it was a bit silly and not as dark and gritty as it’s become. Take one experimented-on chimpanzee, add lashings of the spy genre, sprinkle with a robot shark and you have Bubbles O’Seven. We are not thrust into the action of this first issue, but rather start off slow from the first page as Bubbles returns from a much needed holiday in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Green, vibrant jungles melts into the grey cityscape of London with its multitude of oblivious crowds, drawing a stark comparison between Bubbles’ origins and his place in the world now. His inner monologue shows an intelligent ape that acknowledges people’s inclination to not see the world properly, but more as shapes in a moving camouflage. It’s shortly after this that the silliness begins, including the previously mentioned robot shark.
The character voices throughout are consistent, and well executed. Bubbles with his Queen’s English and quips, his handler – cool and detached – and Miss Prime with the best one-liner of the comic book. Each character has their own individual style, really setting them apart from one another visually so there’s no getting confused about who’s who, although where their allegiances lie is another story…
The pace of the comic book is quick, and each page is action-packed. Bubbles’ back-story is threaded through the main narrative, so there’s no need for a huge write-up or a whole issue dedicated to his origins. And while the comic does take on the tropes of the spy genre – the protagonist having a specific drink (and method of preparation) and room service assassins, the writing is serious enough that these tropes actually lend charm to this comic. A great lesson in how to subvert tropes and create something a bit different.
Rooke’s artwork throughout is simplistic and doesn’t load the reader down with too much detail to assimilate. There is more of a focus on character rather than sweeping landscapes and place, helping move the plot along and keep up the action-packed pace. We are particularly in awe of Bubbles’ pipe and his suave sense of style and hope to see this in future issues.
Overall, this first issue is a really strong start for a spy comic book, plunging us head first into the action and our characters. Bubbles isn’t an enigma – cold and distant – to the reader with a slow build up in his character traits, but rather a familiar friend whose adventure is a genuine pleasure to read. This won’t be to everyone’s tastes – especially if you’re not a fan of re-imagings or ‘spoof’ comic books – but for those looking for this sort of thing, you can’t go wrong with Bubbles O’Seven. Looking forward to the next issue!