Site hosted by Build your free website today!

James Bond Jr Online


Corriere dei Piccoli / Corrierino 1993 #28
('Una Vacanza Poco Rilassante')
by Federica Montanari

Featuring: James, IQ, Gordo, Captain Plank.

Synopsis: James, IQ and Gordo are on a beach holiday on Maui, Hawaii. Gordo is showing off his impressive surfing skills, and IQ says he'd like to learn how to do it too, as it impresses girls. James points out that what probably won't impress them is IQ's allergic reaction to the special sunscreen he invented, which has brought him out in blotches. At this point, a surfer called Kamua arrives, who seems to be popular with the locals. She's the favourite to win tomorrow's surfing competition, and soon demonstrates her skills, but Gordo seems dismissive of the idea he'd be beaten by a girl. Kamua overhears this and challenges Gordo to prove his skills, leaving him lost for words.

A young man turns up and tells Kamua that a ship called the Sea Princess has disappeared as it was entering the harbour. Kamua is worried, as her sisters were on board. Later, as James wonders what could have happened to the vanishing ship, IQ develops a Polaroid photo of James, and passes it to him. James notices that the volcano behind him in the picture is billowing with steam, whereas it's meant to be extinct. They go over to show Kamua the picture, and she confirms the volcano shouldn't be active. James suggests they all go and check it out - which is music to IQ's ears, as being on the beach is irritating his skin.

James, Gordo, IQ and Kamua begin to climb the volcano, and IQ quickly begins to get tired. James finds a crater on the side of the volcano, and takes a look inside. Within the volcano is a villains' lair belonging to Captain Walker D. Plank, where he has taken the passengers from the Sea Princess captive - and plans to do the same with another incoming vessel. We learn that his equipment is capable of capturing and dematerialising any means of transport within a large radius. Once he's set up three similar bases around the globe, he will be able to intercept any transport operation on Earth if the governments of the world don't sign over their gold stocks. James and IQ agree they cannot allow this to happen.

The gang creep inside the crater, while Plank heads to the peak of the volcano from where he intends to watch the latest ship-vanishing exercise. James sends the others to free the prisoners, while he begins to climb onto Plank's ship-vanishing machine, with the aim of smearing IQ's special insulating sunscreen on its antenna, thereby blocking out its beam. Meanwhile, Gordo and Kamua quickly free Kamua's sisters Anoa and Akiki, and the other prisoners, from a nearby holding cell - but Plank returns and catches them in the act. Back at the machine, James has spread the sunscreen on the antenna, but it's such an effective insulator that the now-active machine is vibrating violently, and is about to blow up.

An almighty explosion rocks the volcano; James makes it free, and so have IQ, Gordo, Kamua and her sisters, and the other prisoners. But Plank has also escaped on a jet ski, along with papers containing plans that will allow him to replicate his evil scheme elsewhere. James borrows IQ's rocket-powered surfboard and pursues. Plank soon runs straight into the path of a huge wave, which unseats him from the jet ski. He surfaces for air just as a coastguard police boat pulls up to take him into custody. Kamua thanks the gang for helping her sisters, and apologises for spoiling their holiday. IQ is getting on like a house on fire with Akiki, one of Kamua's sisters, who is also passionate about electronic engineering, and James remarks that IQ seems to have found his soulmate.

Review: Generally a well-paced, action-packed instalment, and a welcome return to the ship-snatching industry for Captain Plank. We're a little hazy about the mechanics of the technology he uses here, and it's possible something has been lost in our translation; his machine is said to 'dematerialise' transport vessels, which is far-fetched in itself. But a couple of frames in the strip also appear to imply that any passengers aboard are actually teleported into Plank's lair; we can see at one point the outline of what looks like a human figure beginning to appear on a Star Trek-like transporter pad attached to the machine, next to a line of captives who are being led into cells by pirates. If so, that's quite a conceit to swallow, even for James Bond Jr. It may well be a misinterpretation of what's going on, but in which case it's otherwise unclear exactly how the ships are dematerialised, and how the passengers aren't being dematerialised with them. Meanwhile, it's probably fair to say that guest character Kamua has a promising introduction but is henceforth underused; having been established as a champion surfer and endured Gordo's sexist remarks about her not being able to beat him, she then isn't called upon to employ her surfing skills at all during the adventure as one might have expected, leaving the honour of out-manoeuvring Plank on a surfboard to James - a boy - instead.

Highs: While James describes Kamua at one point as beautiful, the only apparent boy/girl connection being forged by the end of the story appears to be a surprise one between IQ and Kamua's (naturally bespectacled) sister Akiki - satisfyingly undermining James's early jibe about girls being put off by IQ's sunscreen allergy.

While James often comes across as rather full of himself in general, he seldom brags about his personal appearance; but here he plumbs new depths by immodestly declaring that the Polaroid photo must be a masterpiece if he is the subject.

Gadgets & Gizmos:
IQ's homemade sunscreen, which features ultra-filtration and reflective insulation technology, is of such a high sun protection factor, it seems, that it can be smothered on the antenna of Plank's machine to block out its dematerialisation beam. IQ's also designed a surfboard equipped with water-propelled rockets, which Gordo declares that he certainly wouldn't need to use to beat a girl in tomorrow's surf comp. It is, however, used by James to pursue Captain Plank.

SCUM on the Surface:
There is no specific mention here, and Plank's henchman look to be his usual band of ragtag pirates rather than a uniformed contingent.

Blunders & Bloopers:
Anoa and Akiki have red and blonde hair respectively in the frame where they are rescued inside the volcano, but have black hair like Kamua at the end of the strip.

It's a rare occurrence for both Tracy and Phoebe to be AWOL from a full-length strip, and the absence  of their moderating influence in this lads-only holiday in the sun possibly explains why alpha males James and Gordo have noticeably dialled up the swagger.

All text content © James Bond Jr Online 2009. If you would like to use any of the text from this site please ask permission first. This is an unofficial fan website and is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the owners, creators or distributors of James Bond Jr.