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James Bond Jr Online


Marvel Comics (UK) #8
by Dan Abnett

Featuring: James, Tracy, Gordo, Jaws.

Synopsis: James, Gordo and Tracy are in Hollywood, on a trip organised as part of their film class. Tracy and Gordo are enjoying watching the filming of a blockbuster action sequence, but James seems far more interested in chatting to Sandy Monica, a major film star. Tracy isn't happy about this; and when Gordo declares Sandy 'a babe', Tracy replies tersely, 'I can see that.' Sandy is called away by an assistant, telling her the director is ready to film her scene. She asks James to wait for her, and he insists he isn't going anywhere. James, Tracy and Gordo gather to watch Sandy's shoot; James explains the premise of the scene, which is that Sandy's character is captured by a villain and carried off in a limousine. But it soon becomes apparent that Sandy isn't acting this time, as the limo crashes through a nearby fence and James recognises Jaws at the wheel. James leaps into his sports car and pursues the limo around the backlot. Jaws loses control and drives the limo straight into the side of one of the film studios, where a sci-fi movie is being made, and pulls Sandy out onto the set. One of the cast, in alien garb, objects to their presence, while Sandy demands Jaws let her go. But Jaws tells her that SCUM is going to ransom her for a high price. James follows Jaws and Sandy through the sci-fi studio, and onto a Wild West set. Jaws pushes past a cowboy actor as he continues to drag Sandy behind him. James requisitions one of the cowboys' horses and leaps on its back, then charges after Jaws onto another set, where a medieval battle scene is taking place. Fed up of being chased, Jaws grabs a sword from an actor and challenges James to take him on. James lassoes Jaws with a rope, cowboy-style, then uses the rope and horse to hoist Jaws up to the studio roof, leaving him unable to escape. James rides to safety with Sandy on the horse behind him, holding onto his waist. James declares to Tracy, Gordo and concerned onlookers that all is fine, and 'that's a wrap!'

Review: An unusual little story, which feels like it takes at least some of its cues from the TV episode Location: Danger. Not that it's fair to compare them in a better-or-worse kind of way, as they're entirely different in length and format - but we see many of the same tropes here in a largely similar high-speed chase through the multiple genres of the movie backlot. Unlike that TV episode which featured Felony O'Toole, and uniquely for James Bond Jr as far as we can tell, there is no commanding villain pulling the strings here - or at least, none that we see or hear of; so while we know Jaws is working for SCUM, he's left to sustain the antagonistic action entirely on his own, and he isn't the most interesting of villains. Sandy isn't the most fascinating leading lady either, and does little other than become quickly besotted with James and end up utterly reliant on him saving her. There are some nice snarky remarks and evil glares from Tracy at the start, though, which is a bit of a redeeming factor.

Highs: The Hollywood backdrops in this strip do lend a sense of novelty - with action, thriller, sci-fi, western and medieval outings in as many pages - although perhaps the trick it misses is visiting a spy movie set. Location: Danger already did that, of course, but then it also awkwardly conflated the movie backlot with a tourist-oriented theme park; whereas this strip perhaps feels closer to what one would imagine working studios to be like.

James seems to enjoy talking like a cowboy as well as riding like one. 'That's mighty big talk for a bandito, mister!' he tells a bullish Jaws at one point, in a line that sounds oddly flirtatious.

Gadgets & Gizmos:
IQ's rare absence means we're almost completely devoid of any electronics - unless you count the pair of space robots on the sci-fi movie set.

SCUM on the Surface:
Jaws tells Sandy that SCUM is behind the scheme to ransom her, but it's unclear whether any particular puppetmaster is pulling the strings. 

The car that's seen flying over an exploding oil tanker during the action movie shoot at the start looks a lot like James's sports car, and its stunt driver looks a fair bit like James from a distance; so it's perhaps a bit naughty that the previous issue uses that frame to promote this one, given James himself doesn't get up to anything nearly so high-octane here.

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