#69 (Marvel Comics #9)
The students of Warfield Academy are at Saint Jeune,
Switzerland, to take part in the annual inter-collegiate Winter Sports
Championship. James, Tracy, Gordo and Connie Fore, an exchange student
from Ottawa, are competing in the skiing event, while Phoebe covers the
story for the Warfield Magazine. I.Q. and Trevor are the reserves for
the team. As James wins yet another race, there are moody faces from
both Trevor and the main competitors for the title, from Bermuda's 'St
Negatory's School For The Academically Blessed'.
slopes, James and the gang notice the effects of the avalanche and
discover one of his machine's transmitter masts. No overhears their
plan to inform the authorities via his surveillance system, and
launches another avalanche, turning up the 'glacier speed regulator'
for good measure. As the mini-glaciers chase the skiiers down the
mountain, the avalanche sets in, and the resort is quickly evacuated.
Trevor wants to get going, but Phoebe, I.Q. and Coach Mitchell are
concerned, and decide they should all stay behind to look for James and
them, No tells Negative Team to head after James instead, who has
discovered another transmitter mast. Deducing that the masts must by
spread out from a central point, James works out where No is based and
they head for one of the peaks - but the Bermudan team arrive on
snowmobiles and pursue them with gunfire. One of them corners him, but
a choice snowball from Phoebe takes out the Bermudan just as he's about
to shoot. With the ski team and search party reunited, it's Trevor who
realises that No must be after the Swiss bank money.
Review: Writing as the world continues to recover from the largest financial crisis for decades, it's probably
fair to say that the plight of the Swiss banks in this story wouldn't
garner quite so much sympathy now as it may have done in 1992.
Nevertheless it's a reasonably inventive storyline, albeit far-fetched,
and a nice solo story for the sinister Doctor No, whose trademark
ninjas are replaced by - umm - a nefarious ski-team from Bermuda, an
island group with no mountains and no snow. That particular loose end
isn't tied up, and nor would we expect it to be - this is James
Bond Jr, afer all. But the plot is nevertheless suitably
cold and calculating for the villain in question - as is the fact that he
ends up suffering the indignity of rolling away in a giant snowball!
For the first time in the original comics, Trevor makes an appearance,
and is even more unpleasant than usual at first - presuming that James
and the others are buried in the avalanche and concentrating on saving
his own skin. But later on he's more cooperative, and is actually
the one that works out what Doctor No is up to. Were it to be
translated onto TV, this would work best as a largely action-based
episode, given that the plot doesn't have the necessary twists and
turns for a proper spy story. But it remains enjoyable to read, and
provides a picturesque backdrop of which the artist takes full
Phoebe's journalistic commentary acts as a neat framing device for this
story, and is rather endearing. At a push it could be seen as a
reference to her previous bid for Fleet Street in Rubies Aren't Forever,
although that may be crediting the continuity department with a little
too much finesse. It's also nice to see Trevor contributing to the
fight against S.C.U.M., even if he displays his typical cowardice earlier in the story.
Lines to Forget: Doctor No, as his mini-glaciers pursue James: 'There’s no outrunning my icy grasp, Bond!'
Gadgets & Gizmos: Like a fair proportion of I.Q.'s inventions, his Swiss army knife (geddit?) has a laser attachment.
S.C.U.M. on the Surface: No (pardon the pun). The organisation isn't mentioned at all, and the good doctor's stooges are described by him only as 'Negative Team'.
Loco Parenthesis: To Coach Mitchell's (rare) credit, he does actually decide to stick around to look for James, Tracy, Gordo and Connie after the resort is evacuated - although arguably that simply serves to put IQ, Phoebe and Trevor, who also tag along, in danger too.
Blunders & Bloopers: So superfluous is Connie Fore that she is confused with Tracy by the comic's artist on at least one occasion, so that they briefly swap hair colours.
Notes: Negative Team - Doctor No's stooges and the Warfield gang's skiing rivals - are purportedly from an equivalent academy in Bermuda (though, given its name - St Negatory's School for the Academically Blessed - it's likely to be a front), and are belittled as such by Bond even before they turn out to be hardened criminals as well as poor skiiers. Does the author of this strip have something against Bermudans, or was it simply luck of the draw?
James and friends have visited Bermuda themselves - they set sail from the territory on the SS Phoebe in the TV episode Cruise to Oblivion.
This is James's first visit to Switzerland since Avalanche Run, and the last of four visits to the country in total.
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