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James Bond Jr Online


Marvel Comics (UK) #9
by Dan Abnett

Featuring: James, IQGordo, Dr No.

Synopsis: James, Gordo and IQ are on a mountaineering excursion high in the Italian Alps. They're hoping to make it to one of the peaks, and with three hours before they have to report back to Coach Mitchell at base camp, James thinks they have time. At this point, the sky goes dark, James's watch malfunctions, and a humming noise begins to emanate from the mountain above them. They decide to keep climbing to check it out. Further up the mountain, the trio come across a snow-covered building, equipped with an antenna dish and radars. The humming noise seems to be coming from the dish, and IQ theorises that it must be emitting some kind of electromagnetic pulse, given the effect it's had on James's watch. IQ says that an EMG pulse generator this high in the Earth's atmosphere could have a profound effect on global weather patterns. Before they can theorise further, SCUM helicopters appear on the horizon and begin firing guns at them. They are told over loudspeaker to stay where they are, but James instructs Gordo and IQ to descend down the mountain out of the helicopters' line of fire. However, the choppers pursue and continue firing, splitting IQ's climbing rope. James grabs onto IQ before he falls, but the trio are now surrounded by the helicopters. They are taken into the building, where they meet Doctor No; he explains they are in a weather control station, which he plans to use to threaten world governments with hurricanes, blizzards and droughts. IQ flatters Dr No into letting him look at his computer system before he kills them, saying he'd like to meet his maker 'having examined a work of true genius'! No  credulously obliges, and IQ quickly gets a grasp of the technology, before using it to trigger a massive lightning strike onto the station itself. The antenna dish is melted and the machine is destroyed. James, IQ and Gordo have slipped away during the confusion, and resume their climb as the clouds clear.

Review: A solid enough, action-packed plot, albeit rather similar in theme to the TV episode Weather or Not, and the longer comic story Absolute Zero which also features Dr No. It's also the second occasion in the Marvel UK mini-run, after Close Encounters of the SCUM Kind, where Dr No displays credulity to a degree that we rarely see from him in the TV episodes, which detracts a little from his effectiveness as a villain. On the plus side, it's a good outing from a character perspective for IQ, who feels bad about his lack of climbing ability and blames himself for the group getting captured, only to redeem himself later on by saving the day. The one regret about this aspect is that James doesn't bother reassuring IQ he isn't to blame; and he really isn't - he's almost level with James in progress terms when the SCUM choppers shoot his climbing rope to ribbons. On the other hand, James does catch him and save him from a very nasty drop - a rare and welcome deviation from the 'rescues the girl' trope immortalised in the TV episodes' theme tune. Which is an inadvertent bonus of these mini-strips more generally; with no real time or space to introduce female guest characters for James to woo, there is some focus on strengthening the bonds between the regular Warfield group instead, which is sometimes neglected in the longer stories, as the supporting cast are often left staving off Trevor back at base.

Highs: Literal ones - the mountainous setting makes a great dramatic backdrop, with the distinctive SCUM helicopters taking on an especially menacing presence in these bleak, treacherous surroundings.

Lows: It's become a common and perhaps unfair criticism of these mini-stories that the resolutions are too perfunctory, but this is particularly the case here, as IQ is barely at the control panel for a second before he's completely destroyed Dr No's facility and evil scheme.

Gadgets & Gizmos: We've occasionally heard in the TV run that James's watch doesn't always work properly because of the many additional functions IQ installs in it. But in this case, it's Dr No's sinister weather control machine with electromagnetic pulse generator technology which sends the timepiece haywire.

SCUM on the Surface: Very much so. Dr No is referred to by James as a 'SCUM-pawn', and his mountain base is replete with uniformed agents and SCUM-brand helicopters.

Loco Parenthesis: It probably bears repeating at this point that the Warfielders are still technically children, so it beggars belief that Coach Mitchell - mentioned but not seen here - is allowing them to climb mountains peaks unsupervised during a school trip. Then again, maybe no act of negligence by Mitchell should surprise us at this stage.

IQ was last seen sabotaging one of Dr No's laboratories in the TV episode No Time to Lose. One would think No would've learned his lesson. 

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