MI6 looks back at Simon Jowett & John M. Burns "A Silent Armageddon" released in March 1993...

James Bond 007: A Silent Armageddon #1 Review
16th July 2005

The Story
Having established its James Bond layout with the previous adventure "Serpent's Tooth", Dark Horse publishes its third Bond story - with a technological twist! Using the criminal group Cerberus, established earlier in the comic series, this first of four issues sets things moving in the story arc.

Prologue ‘First Strike’ opens the story with a high ranking military personnel being escorted to a secured US location. While being given a briefing on the systems, an electronic intruder is detected which raises security questions.

The story then jumps to a police raid which James Bond is observing under escort by Felix Leiter. After successfully entering the building, the SWAT team is blown to pieces as Bond realises something is not right a second prior to the blast.

Bond sends a memo to M which moves the story in a fresh direction. The memo explains what Bond is currently investigating and gives the reader clues as to the explosion and who could be responsible.

The story jumps once again, 10 years in the present, and introduces Eddie who is interrupted from planning a computer game by the arrival of thugs. They want to get their money off him for the drugs they have been supplying him. He works for Troy - the supplier of the drugs by hacking into computer systems.


Above: Front cover

Eddie has discovered a computer worm called Omega which he offers information on to Troy in payment. After convincing Troy of the potential of the worm, Eddie discovers who could be responsible for its creation and puts the wheels in motion to acquire the virus. The story steps ups a notch with a short phone call between Professor Garrard and a stranger who has killed some of his friends.

Above: Opening cell from A Silent Armageddon Part 1

As the killer draws closer, a student of Professor Garrard is murdered, another is killed and the reader is left with the distinct feeling that they were not the only two. Shifting back to the school, Troy prepares to raid the facility in order to locate the creator of the computer virus.

A short discussion between Terri and Garrard follows, just before the thugs enter the school and begin to dispatch people. The violence is a little heavy, even in the Bond universe, with the villains culling adolescents.

Upon hearing all the commotion, the Professor leaves to investigate allowing our heroin the chance to escape. As the thugs proceed through the school, Terri falls into a river which carries her to safety. Pulling herself out of the river she witness the school explode.

The story then moves on to an irate Troy, who is insane with rage at the failing of the mission and takes his anger out on Eddie. Back at the gutted school, Bond arrives and looks over the carnage. He come to the conclusion that this was a Cerberus attack, and links the activity to the blast in the USA 10 years previous. On the way to the hospital to visit a shaken Terri, Bond advises M to send someone who can deal with children and to get him off the case.

The computer issues are dealt with in descriptive box outs and are just on the edge of character monologue. Through the use of a memo to M, we learn Bond's inner monologue which is a fresh device in this era of 007 comics. Bond is just a secondary character in this first issue as the story is setup for the forthcoming parts.

Above: Cell from A Silent Armageddon Part 1

Using the established Dark Horse layout, this cover places a newly realised Bond supporting the leading female. She is standing on crutches, and both figures are over shadowed by the Cerberus logo which is set off by bright yellow flaming out. The high contrast colours (yellows, blues, oranges and greens) makes it one of the most dynamic. Jowett and Burns vision of James Bond is a cross between the classic Fleming figure and the lighter shades of actor Timothy Dalton.

Burns has create a memorable mini series with well defined characters and realistic environments to accommodate them. The opening full page panel introduces us to the concept of a computer virus via the use of the military. The hues set the mood. The opening also features large amounts of detailing, including the often overlooked backgrounds. The characters are softer compared to the later comics, but still capture good form. With this series being cut in half, only the first two issues were printed. Art for issues 3 and 4 is available but hard to come by.

Writer Simon Jowett injects some sharp, smart and witty dialog in to the fast moving story. From the opening of this issue, the story is moved equally in dialogue and visuals, with the occasional use of report style notes in the cells to convey plot points.

Best Line
"I didn’t hear no recess bell"

Above: Dark Horse Comics promotional brochure

MI6 Briefing
Title: James Bond 007: A Silent Armageddon #1
Publisher: Acme Comics LTD, Dark Horse Comics Inc, Glidrose Publications LTD
Released: Issue #1 - 1st March 1993
Writer: Simon Jowett
Artist: John M. Burns
Cover: John M. Burns
Letters: Ellie de Ville
Editors: Dick Hansom, Jerry Prosser

Data Stream (Issue #1)
Villain: Cerberus, Mr Lefleur, Eddie Byle, Troy
Plot: Criminal organisation Cerberus, is willing to kill anyone who stands in their way of controlling Omega - a computer program with the most valuable possession of all - a consciousness.
Bond Girls: N/A
Allies: Terri Li, Felix Leiter, Professor Garrard, Legget
Locations: Military base and various, USA; Oxford, UK

MI6 Rating

Images courtesy Dark Horse Comics.

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