Wandering the aisles of my local comic shop I happened upon Silverfin: The Graphic Novel, A James Bond Aventure.
See Young Bond in action for the very first time. It’s James Bond’s first day at Eton, and already he’s met his first enemy. This is the start of an adventure that will take him from the school playing fields to the remote shores of Loch Silverfin and a terrifying discovery that threatens to unleash a new breed of warfare.
- Writer: Charlie Higson
- Artist: Kev Walker
- Reading level: Ages 10 and up
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
- ISBN-13: 978-1423130239
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
- $9.99 USD
- Order online: Amazon
The cover intrigued me: an art style similar to Mike Mignola and Matt Smith. I had never heard of Charlie Higson or Kev Walker but giving it a good thumbing motivated a purchase.
We have the first adventure of James Bond, a young man attending Eton. He makes friends but also an enemy whose father is behind something mysterious and troubling. Through charm and charisma, he makes friends who aid in this first step towards his adult life. As this unfolds James learns from his dying uncle about his life as a spy during World War One. A good amount of emotion and feelings between characters.
Silverfin has all the hallmarks of a James Bond tale: a bold villain, life and death situations, capture and escape, elaborate plans for world domination, supporting characters and a healthy dose of good fun. Part of that Bond experience is to suspend your knowledge of the real world and go along for the ride: it doesn’t get too crazy but our hero is more than capable, even at this young age.
Powerful eels are a key element that frames the story but we learn they’re merely a backdrop to the real evil being pursued in the form of our villain Lord Hellebore. Oddly there’s a monster in the form of a man transformed by his own serum; it’s a step we haven’t seen in a Bond tale before and feels out of place.
The story is all about the characters and their interactions: good, friendly, angry, evil. The plot and backgrounds support and move the characters along but definitely take a back seat. It’s refreshing to read a relatively short graphic novel and experience characters that grow and develop as they progress.
This is a story about young people for young people. Having said that I found the references and images to torture outside that age group. As well some of the violence is overly graphic. Death occurs frequently but contrasts violence and its consequences with character relationships and natural loss.
Silverfin: The Graphic Novel is based on a prose novel and Charlie Higson wrote both so we have the best possible conversion available; it’s part of a series of young reader novels. Kev Walker spot illustrates the Young Bond series and did an excellent job illustrating this first tale. Since the characters are the focus their expressions, movements and life on the page all need to work seamlessly and Higson gets it spot on. Colour plays a large role in presenting moods and emotions for the panels. No credits are listed for inker or colourist, unfortunately.
Published for the North American market in 2010 with a book trade focus this 6×9″ graphic novel has no extras, which really are a practice of the comic market. That same focus comes through in the extremely reasonable $10 price point. Very solid binding on heavy stock paper makes this a book that should survive multiple readings.
While looking online for information neither Disney nor Hyperion had Silverfin: The Graphic Novel listed. The rear cover said to go to www.youngbond.com which had information but had closed down. I was able to find basic publishing information from Young Bond Dossier from whom I was able to obtain the images above. From the looks of things, this may be the only graphic novel adaptation from the Young Bond book series. That’s a shame.
Originally published at Comic Book Daily.