#66 (Marvel Comics #6)
All's peaceful at Warfield Academy, until a huge
explosion rumbles across the campus. It's James and I.Q. who are
responsible, having ill-advisedly mixed transium and ranium in
Milbanks' chemistry lesson, causing the pair to be confined to the
academy over the holiday weekend. Tracy turns up to gloat, boasting
that she's off skiing - and delivers a parcel that's just arrived in
the post from I.Q.'s Uncle Max in Venice. Max, a chemist, has sent I.Q.
a strange stone amulet.
following night, as they speed through France, I.Q. reads up on
talismanic iconography in the hope that he'll find a clue about the
object Max sent him. As James heads for the buffet car, he encounters
Odd Job, but quickly knocks him flying with a copy of Agatha Christie's
Murder on the Orient Express. James and I.Q.
grab the amulet and head onto the roof of the train as Odd Job breaks
through the cabin door and follows them up there. Just as he's about to
throw them off the train to their deaths, James thumps him with the
book again, and I.Q. touches his hat with the amulet. It suddenly turns
to gold, and the weight of it causes Odd Job to topple off the train!
them captive along with Uncle Max, the crook admits that he faked the
letter to lure James and I.Q. to Venice with the stone, and demands
they hand it over. James gives Goldfinger the other trinket he picked
up from the house, and Goldfinger orders Odd Job to lock them away.
Soon enough, Goldfinger realises the deception when the stone doesn't
work, and sends Odd Job to fetch the real one - but James whacks him
with the book for the third time, while I.Q. touches the submarine wall
with the Philosopher's Stone.
artefact stories are few and far between in James Bond Jr
but, like Lamp of Darkness
before it, this one actually works fairly well. The exotic combination
of the Orient Express, Venice and the Philosopher's Stone may result in
far-fetched fantasy, but at least it's enjoyable at the same time, and
would have translated well to the small screen as a TV episode. The
regular characters remain very faithful to the TV show - except that
I.Q. seems slightly grouchier than usual about being lumbered with a
philistine like James for the entire train journey. Meanwhile Odd Job's
unseen presence outside Warfield, and his trailing of the teens along
the journey, contribute to a real sense of menace, admittedly dampened
somewhat by the fact that he's easily defeated on several occasions by
being bashed over the head with an Agatha Christie novel. The crook
(with a couple of brief exceptions) seems to have been muted again,
reverting to previous form in the Goldfinger film
and the early TV episode Earthcracker
- which is probably welcome, even if his incessant wordless
sniggering throughout this story does begin to wear rather thin after a
while (see 'Lines to Forget'). Goldfinger himself is characteristically
egocentric as usual, and the big reveal that it was him, not Max, who
lured I.Q. and James to Venice is quite a clever twist, partly
mirroring Dr Derange's similar scheme in The
Emerald Key. Overall, while not the best of the
seven original comic stories, like all of them it isn't terrible, and
ticks all the boxes for a passable yarn.
Lines to Forget: James, to I.Q.: 'Want me to bring you anything back [from the buffet car]? A sandwich? A soft drink? He overhears Odd Job laughing: '... a sniggering Oriental assassin?'
Gadgets & Gizmos: Odd Job's camera spectacles may not be entirely inconspicuous, but they take a very good picture. I.Q. limits himself to explosive chemicals today, meanwhile.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: The organisation isn't mentioned at all in this instalment.
Loco Parenthesis: Coach Mitchell's shocking pococurantism as regards his pupils' safety is as apparent in the first of the new comic stories as it was in the TV episodes. He's quite content for James and I.Q. to rush off to Venice unchaperoned to tend to a 'matter of life and death', provided they don't threaten his job security by failing to return before Milbanks does.
first original comic book story of the twelve-issue run, this is the
first of three new stories to feature Goldfinger and Odd Job. Meanwhile
it's not entirely disappointing to note that Trevor Noseworthy is
omitted completely here, for the first time in an original story since Catching the Wave. Gordo
and Phoebe are also absent.
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