It’s partly the violence, but more the over-reliance on it over an actual plot. And the repetitive nature of the violence; even allowing for a certain level of gore, some semblance of variety would have been appreciated.
I’m intrigued by your “updated Fleming” reference as it implies Ellis stated this as his intention in an interview somewhere. I’m assuming the idea is “what shocked audiences in the 50s wouldn’t shock them now, so we ramped it up.” If that’s what he was going for, I’d argue he failed. Nothing in the series is worse than what I’ve seen in movies as mainstream as Inglourious Basterds or even what was played partly for laughs in The Kingsman. And it occurs to me a lot of the most disturbing violence in Fleming’s books has Bond on the receiving end. Except for a bloody nose, Ellis’ Bond is strictly on the dealing end of the violence in this. We feel for Bond in Fleming’s torture scenes; it’s harder to feel for what amounts to a walking Gatling Gun in a bespoke suit.
Ellis went for a violent Bond, and your enjoyment of his comics were very dependant on how comfortable you are with that level of violence. I came to love comics through Hellblazer, The Sandmam and other Vertigo titles - by comparison to which Ellis Bond is a Disney movie.
I didn’t get far with Vertigo, but I used to love Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing (and made it a little ways into Hellblazer), which at the time was pretty disturbing. But there, the disturbing stuff was in service to the plot. I can handle violence when it’s the logical outcome of a situation, but when I feel like the entire story is constructed in service of violence, I get alternately bored and disgusted.
And again, even the violence might have worked for me if it wasn’t so one-note, and the artist were better at staging it in a way that was easier to follow and better paced.
Here’s the happy part, though: I didn’t pay anything for this experience. I used the “Hoopla” app to borrow it for a read. I highly recommend the app to anyone with membership in a participating library. They have Eidolon, Vargr and Hammerhead, as well as a lot of other titles from Dynamite, DC, and others. No Marvel, though. It’s been a great thing for someone like me who has little interest, less money and no shelf space left for more comics.