Geek Culture

James Bond: Reimagining the man with the Midas touch

Arguably the best James Bond villain, and certainly the one with most memorable quote ("No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!"), Goldfinger has been reimagined in Greg Pak's incredible 007 series.

James Bond 007 Vol. 2 HC
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Eric Gapstur and Robert Carey
Cover: Dave Johnson
FC | 152 pages | Action/Adventure | $24.99 | Teen+

Arguably the best James Bond villain, and certainly the one with most memorable quote (“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”), Goldfinger has been reimagined in Greg Pak’s incredible 007 series.

This is a much scarier Goldfinger, “the most ruthless sociopath in the world”, as the previews described him. And facing him is a deadlier, more desperate James Bond than the one we know from the film named after this villain. Spoilers ahead.

ORU Prime

Dynamite Entertainment‘s James Bond 007 Vol. 2 HC collects issues 7-12 of Pak’s series. And just as James Bond: Origin gave us a grittier teenage version of Bond, so too does this series show us a more grounded adult version of 007. With no Pussy Galore in sight.

In this reimagining, Goldfinger still retains his obsession with gold, but he is also the leader of the terrorist organization known as ORU. Nice wordplay, right?

As ORU Prime, Goldfinger is responsible for the 13,331 deaths currently attributed to his terrorist organization. He has also turned two agents into ORU operatives.

The first one is Aria Kim a.k.a. Agent K, who is now ORU’s finest assassin. Meanwhile, Bond’s rival and friend, the Korean secret agent John Lee, tried to rescue his lover Aria. Only to end up becoming an ORU operative, too.

Lee is actually a reimagined Oddjob — Goldfinger’s famous henchman in the film. Pak, who is Korean-American, “re-envisioned the character as a rival spy from Korea on par with James Bond himself”.

Now it’s Bond’s turn to try to infiltrate ORU and find out what sinister plan Goldfinger has in mind.

Agents and double agents

Pak is a masterful writer, and keeps us hanging on the edge of our seats throughout this wild ride. You will definitely hate Goldfinger and his henchman Dr. Essen.

Bond and Lee have an exhilarating fight sequence. Goldfinger and his operatives then surround him, and Goldfinger orders Lee to kill him. Lee, however, saves Bond’s life by suggesting to Goldfinger that they should turn Bond into an ORU operative. Which Bond accepts.

Alarmed, Moneypenny warns Bond to escape, but he decides that this is the only way he can infiltrate ORU and find out what Goldfinger is planning.

Moneypenny wants to lead a team to extract Bond, but M stops her. He tells Moneypenny that she had given Bond an escape route, which he rejected. This was Bond’s decision. He says Bond may become the world’s deadliest assassin. But this was his choice.

We witness the painful conditioning process that turns Bond into an ORU operative. And wonder where his loyalties now lie. While shuddering at the deadly trio that he, Kim, and Lee have become.

Goldfinger’s plot is breathtakingly ambitious and nefarious, and I won’t spoil it here.

This was such a thrilling series. I’m really sad it’s over. In particular, Aria Kim and John Lee are such compelling characters that I would love to read more about them.

The comic books have turned me into a James Bond fan, after all.

(Editor’s note: This review is based on an advanced review copy provided by Diamond Entertainment. James Bond 007 Vol. 2 HC shipped on July 8.)