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James Bond Jr Online


Marvel Comics (UK) #7
by Dan Abnett

Featuring: James, IQ, Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Goldfinger, Jaws.

Synopsis: Christmas is approaching at Warfield Academy, and the traditional fancy-dress party is in full swing. However, Jaws has arrived outside, dressed as Santa, with some unsolicited gifts - including a ticking bomb disguised as a Christmas present. Indoors, James thanks IQ for his own present - a pair of X-ray vision goggles, with infrared and low-light options. They allow James to see through walls, as well as into Jaws' Santa sack, and he quickly discerns that there's a bomb in it, before recognising the villain behind the disguise. Realising he's been spotted, Jaws makes his escape on a rocket-powered sleigh, and James, Tracy, IQ and Gordo give chase in a snowmobile of their own - a present from 007 for James. It has on-board rockets which James prepares to fire at Jaws, but IQ says there's no need as they've already saved Warfield by driving Jaws away. James agrees, saying that it is Christmas, after all! Meanwhile, Jaws reports back to the 'inner sanctum' of Goldfinger, saying he believes James and his friends let him escape because it was Christmas. Goldfinger remarks that the gang must be going soft, and laments that he wasn't able to plant the bomb - at which point, Jaws realises he still has the bomb in his sack, and it's still ticking. It explodes, while back at Warfield, everyone raises a toast to Christmas and the New Year.

Review: The only explicitly Christmas-themed story in either the TV episodes or the Marvel outings, this is therefore a fairly novel instalment aesthetically speaking, and it's great to see Warfield Academy with a thick coating of snow in the first frame. The villains' plot itself is, however, fairly pedestrian, and feels more akin to a Looney Tunes short than a spy caper (see 'Lows'). James and IQ's decision to spare Jaws rather than taking him out with a rocket-strike is a surprising and perhaps noteworthy plot development, and fitting for the season of goodwill, even if the villains later manage to blow themselves up regardless. But it should also be noted that while James is more than happy to cause destruction and mayhem during the TV run, he seldom talks directly of trying to target villains while they're fleeing as he does here initially, so this also stands out as an unusually belligerent moment for him.

Highs: Mr Milbanks can be seen in the background of a couple of the frames, dressed as a Viking - with pigtails.

One feels Goldfinger couldn't really have picked anyone more conspicuous to surreptitiously drop off an explosive gift than Jaws, whose Santa outfit takes 'wolf in sheep's clothing' to whole new levels of implausibility. Also, why set a bomb timer when you're still carrying it?

Gadgets & Gizmos:
Far be it from us to suggest James is anything but a respectful and chivalrous young man, but his Christmas present from IQ, of x-ray vision goggles
that allow him to see through walls into adjoining rooms, seems to impress/excite him a fair amount more than the usual gadgetary fare. Particularly given that Warfield is a co-ed boarding school, one might venture to suggest it's a device best kept away from teenage boys, just in case. One could say much the same for James' other Christmas present, from his uncle, a snowmobile with integrated missiles; James boasts that he could blow Jaws 'sky high' with one touch of a button, but IQ pulls him back from the brink.

SCUM on the Surface:
The narrative captions describe Goldfinger as a 'SCUM villain'.

Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Phoebe and (seemingly) Trevor can be seen at the school fancy-dress party, but none of them have any lines or contribute to the action.

Given Warfield is shown to be a secure facility throughout most of the TV run, it's perhaps surprising that Jaws can gain access so easily here via sleigh; and he seems to get away with equally little difficulty, without there being any wall to traverse or guards to speed past, as if the Warfield grounds are freely accessible from the adjoining countryside.

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