By Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
James Bond is an agent of the state. His actions seldom need to be motivated beyond “for Queen and Country.” We can infer some other values that the character holds from his choice of career. For example: he believes that violence can (and should) be used to bring about justice. He’s pro sex, but possibly in a way that devalues his relationships with his sexual partners. Issue three of James Bond: The Bond reveals another of Bond’s values — he hates white supremacy.
Or… is that it? The thing that seems to really get Bond going is the hypocrisy inherent in white supremacy. His appetite for sweet, violent, humiliating revenge seems to be fueled less by his desire to stamp out intolerance and more to do with people and organizations neither understanding nor practicing what they preach.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: fuck these nazi shitheads — they’re awful and deserve every bit of punishment writer Ales Kot and artist Rapha Lobosco inflict upon them via 007. But it’s important to note that we don’t actually see them do anything terrible in this issue. Yes, they say racist shit, but their actions are restricted to hanging out in the sauna together. The issue is non-stop restrained homoeroticism — nowhere in this issue does anyone ever wear clothes.
I mean, get a load of that dude in the background just showering in front of his friends. This always-nude setting also allows Lobosco to draw the tattoos these guys have covering their chest, arms and stomachs over and over. It’s a subtle marriage of what these dudes are worshiping: their own racist iconography and each other’s bodies. The Nazis, of course, claim that it’s not gay but instead “is… fraternity.”
This point sticks in Bonds’ head. We know because the first thing he berates the leader about when he reveals himself to be a secret agent is how their homophobia actually reveals their repressed homosexuality or bisexuality. Kot gives Bond five massive speech balloons to make this point. Bond himself has dubbed this “Point One.” Point Two is basically “I’m going to stop these guns from getting into the wrong hands” and Point Three is “your white dream is over.” The last two points could very well be from his mission briefing; they’re bullet points that he can recite in a couple seconds. The hypocrisy of bunch of dudes that clearly like to hang out naked and admire each others bodies while also hating gays is the personal issue for Bond.
Up to this point, 007 has been pretty careful about how he engages these guys. He didn’t start swinging broken vodka bottles until he had the leader and two goons separated from the rest of the herd. But the second that leader throws a little of Bond’s (and MI6’s) own white supremacy back at him, our hero loses his cool. He walks back to the sauna and guns them all down with the battlecry “Good night, white pride.”
Is he just cleaning up the rest of the Nazi garbage? Or is he acting out his own frustration with himself and his country? Is he symbolically murdering the white supremacy in his own life? Kot and Lobosco don’t let us linger on these questions for very long, letting Bond’s righteous fury speak for itself.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?