#68 (Marvel Comics #8)
In the middle of the Caribbean sea, a brand new island
suddenly emerges from the water. In a helicopter above, Walker D. Plank
congratulates Goldfinger on his invention - the tectonic mass
displacer. They land on the new island and explain their scheme to the
assembled pirates and S.C.U.M. agents; formerly rivals, they're now
collaborating so that Goldfinger can raise a Spanish treasure armada
from the seabed by creating a mini-continent with his machine, while
doing so will cause a tidal wave that will flood the U.S.A.'s eastern
seaboard, allowing Plank to loot the country's riches.
A particularly impressive edition of the comic series both in terms of
writing and artwork, this story would have worked wonderfully on TV.
The fragile truce between poisonous Plank and grandstanding Goldfinger
is entertaining throughout - particularly as it begins to collapse
under the weight of mutual treachery - and the immense scale of their
(admittedly shaky) scheme would have looked good in animation. The
story fuses some elements, including the lead villains, from the TV
episodes Never Give a Villain
a Fair Shake and Cruise
to Oblivion, but in a grander setting and without
unnecessary Trevor/seasickness subplots to endure. Odd Job (silent once
more) is rendered fairly unnecessary here, his chief henchman role
usurped largely by the one-hit wonder Blunderbus, Plank's fearsome
first mate in this story. Meanwhile, there's a nice dynamic between
James and his friends, the isolated island setting allowing their
personalities to shine through a little more than they sometimes do at
Warfield when surrounded by constraining influences such as Mr
Milbanks and Trevor. Perhaps to fill the gap created by the absence of
the latter, there's another hint of some minor tension between James
and I.Q., and the latter being rather impatient with James's
intellectual defecit, as in the earlier comic, The
Gilt Complex. When berated by James for spending
too much time with his telescope and not enough time relaxing, he
scoffs at James for preferring to 'sizzle in the sun'. But I.Q. has the
last laugh as, by becoming embroiled in another S.C.U.M. plot, James
has effectively taken his own 'work' on holiday, too.
Lines to Remember: Plank, to the assembled pirates and S.C.U.M. agents: 'For our part, raising the continent will cause a tidal wave that will drown the U.S.A., leaving it and its riches at our mercy. What do you think of that?' S.C.U.M. Agent 1: 'Jolly good!' S.C.U.M. Agent 2: 'Great!' Pirate: 'Terrific idea!' They all clap good-naturedly. Goldfinger: 'And of course, there will be triple-time bonuses for you all.' Everyone whoops and cheers.
& Gizmos: I.Q.'s devices are
relatively benign this week - his only contribution is a telescope, so
he can enjoy the stars away from the lights of civilisation. Nothing so
anodyne for Goldfinger, meanwhile, whose delightfully vague tectonic
mass displacer can apparently raise entire new continents at the
expense of existing ones.
Loco Parenthesis: Since James and his friends are already on holiday, there's no opportunity for dereliction of duty by Coach Mitchell, who doesn't appear in this story.
Blunders & Bloopers: The
word 'tectonic' is misspelled as 'techtonic' here, twice.
We've heard of C.I.A. safe-houses, but 'safe-islands'?
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