#67 (Marvel Comics #7)
Just outside the Warfield grounds, James and his
friends are enjoying the sunshine when James spots a rider who has lost
control of her horse. Jumping on his bike, James rides alongside and
helps the girl to safety. She introduces herself as Kalinka Rubels, the
daughter of Russian special envoy Maxim Rubels, and explains she's only
in Britain briefly while her father oversees the visiting Faberge Eggs
exhibition. On hearing of his daughter's rescuer, Rubels sends a letter
to Mr Milbanks inviting the gang to the opening of the exhibition.
Review: The second James Bond Jr story to discuss Anglo-Russian relations (expanding on a theme alluded to in Red Star One), this is an unusual and enjoyable outing that features both a rare appearance by Scumlord, and the return of jewel thief Tiara Hotstones. Tiara is a far more complex character here than elsewhere in the series, elaborating considerably on her fondness for James that's subtly alluded to in Dance of the Toreadors. Not only does she help James escape from Scumlord's clutches, she also returns the real Faberge Eggs to him following Scumlord's defeat, suggesting that her conscience has developed a great deal since the events of Rubies Aren't Forever and Dutch Treat in which she played a far more conventional villain role. Interestingly, she doesn't mention whether or not the money Scumlord gave her was in fact all there (or indeed real), leaving open the intriguing possibility that she was paid properly but double-crossed S.C.U.M. anyway. It's also interesting that Scumlord's prime motivation for stealing the eggs appears not to be wealth, but the hope of a diplomatic crisis between Britain and Russia. This mirrors Doctor Derange's plan to create hostility between France and Russia in The Eiffel Missile, and raises the question of S.C.U.M.'s own allegiance - or is it simply a nudge towards the anarchic 'Mayhem' of the organisation's name? In the TV series, Tiara Hotstones appears to have a Russian accent whereas Scumlord's is English. Could this be the true reason behind her failure to deliver the real Eggs: to protect her own national pride and bag some cash in the process? Whatever the motivations, it seems highly unlikely that such an incident could cause any significant hostility between the two nations - surely the Russians would recognise that the British state wasn't remotely responsible for the theft. Or was it? Does S.C.U.M.'s influence go deeper than anyone ever suspected? In any case, an intriguing and enjoyable installment of the comic series.
The complexity and moral ambiguity of Tiara's
character in this story
is otherwise unheard of for recurring villains in James Bond
Lines to Forget: James spots a pretty woman in
trouble while 'birdwatching' through I.Q.'s binoculars: "Why,
from here, I can see all sorts of endangered species!"
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: Very
much so. Crucially, this is the only instance in either the TV series
or the comics in which a face-to-face meeting with actual
dialogue between Scumlord and James occurs. (The nearest we get in the
cartoon is their glimpse of one another at the crime
Big Attraction.) Even
here their exchange is relatively brief, disrupted as it is by Tiara's
tear gas attack - and although Scumlord speaks to James, he doesn't
actually get a chance to respond. Another similarity this outing shares
with Big Attraction is
the significant treachery that takes place within the villains' ranks,
with Tiara essentially betraying S.C.U.M. three times in succession -
and this time, to help James.
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