James Bond, Jr. #3
December 21, 2009
So our hero doesn't drink martinis, doesn't sleep around, doesn't wear a tuxedo, isn't a spy, doesn't have a license to kill, and has the generic puns any halfwit could come up with when quipping. So, yeah, he's just like James Bond – except in everything that makes James Bond James Bond.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. You know, if often surprises me how many franchises aimed at a slightly more adult audience somehow end up with kids' cartoons.
(Cut to the opening for a cartoon version of Rambo)
Linkara (v/o): Take, for example, Rambo. It's freaking Rambo! He picks up a gun and starts shooting and killing things while firing randomly and speaking incomprehensible dialogue! And really, half the time, it just sounds like he's saying (slurring) "Outlaw!" or something like that.
(Cut to the opening for Conan the Adventurer)
Linkara (v/o): How about Conan the Adventurer? Admittedly, Robert E. Howard's classic fantasy hero probably has a better time fitting into a kid's cartoon than others, but the guy from the books and the movie was a womanizing, thieving, bloody warrior. Again, nothing really wrong with turning that into a cartoon. It's just that they went for name value instead of making up their own hero.
(Cut to the opening for a cartoon version of Highlander)
Linkara (v/o): Or how about the Highlander cartoon? How the hell did they get away with a cartoon about beheading people?! Furthermore, who was it that looked at Highlander and said, "Yeah, this could work as a kid's show"?
Linkara: Which brings us to today's subject: James Bond, Jr., a cartoon from the early 1990s that just reeks of "What the hell were they thinking?!"
(Footage of this cartoon series is shown)
Linkara (v/o): James Bond is a secret agent – and I use that term loosely – who routinely has to kill people and sleep with women who are named in rather cosmopolitan fashion after parts of the human anatomy. What TV executive nodded their head at Sean Connery banging some woman before shooting out an enemy in a tuxedo and a smug expression and thought, "Oh, hell, yeah, I'm green-lighting this cartoon"? Well, of course, they couldn't make the best role model out of this guy, so they gave it to his nephew. Wait, his nephew? Then why the hell is he named James Bond, Jr.? The only way that makes sense is if he slept with his sister. Which would not surprise me, considering how the man is apparently allergic to his own pants when around women.
Linkara: So order yourself up a nonalcoholic martini as we dig into (holds up comic of review for today) "James Bond, Jr. #3".
(Title sequence rolls; title card has the opening to the classic James Bond theme playing; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Wow! This actually isn't that bad a cover! We have an action scene that's related to the plot. Hell, even the stupid tagline isn't that bad: "Can James save El Dorado from Goldfinger's evil... EARTH-CRACKER?"
Linkara: (looking at comic) "Earth-Cracker"? What, is Goldfinger really into organic foods?
Linkara (v/o): We open to the woods, where we see James Bond, Jr., accompanied, coincidentally, by the relatives of other members of the franchise, including I.Q., Tracy Milbanks, and Lotta Dinaro. Subtle.
I.Q.: Look here...
Linkara: Wow! Grass! We don't have anything like that outside the woods!
Linkara (v/o): All of a sudden, a tank comes charging at them. How the hell did they not hear that thing coming? Not to mention, I love how that guy in the tank is just hanging out of there like he was friggin' Patton.
Linkara: (calling out) Hey, General! Where are you going?
(A clip of Patton is shown)
Patton: (voiced by Linkara) England! I'm gonna personally shoot that martini-guzzlin' son-of-a-bitch!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): So as the tank begins blasting, no doubt shattering all their eardrums, the young James Bond runs off to the side.
James Bond, Jr.: Quick! Get back to Warfield! I'll try and distract him!
Linkara (v/o): Which he tries to do by standing directly in the path of the tank... which he was running away from in the previous panel. And then suddenly he teleports since now he's off to the side, and the tank is going a completely different way.
James: Blast! He didn't fall for it!
Linkara: Didn't fall for what? Your ingenious plan of standing there and shouting, "Hey! Over here!"? And why didn't the tank just blast his ass?
Linkara (v/o): The tank shoots down a tree, blocking the escape of the other three. The pimp clothes-wearing man grabs Lotta and pulls him [sic] into the tank. How the hell did he do that? Did she just stand there while he reached down and grabbed her with a six-foot arm? Anyway, the man tosses his hat at James, which embeds itself in a tree.
Linkara: Wait, wait, wait, wait! That's Odd Job? Why the hell is he dressed like the deformed offspring of the Joker and Mr. T?
Linkara (v/o): James immediately runs off in pursuit of the tank, proclaiming...
James: Don't worry, Lotta... They won't kidnap you that easily...
Linkara (v/o): James is somehow able to keep up with the tank as it arrives at an airstrip, immediately loading itself onto a huge plane. And it's only now that Odd Job decides to slap a sticker on the tank that says, "Ship to: Puerto, Peru".
Linkara: Yeah, don't put an address on it or anything, just drop it off near the bus line and they'll be fine.
Linkara (v/o): Actually, what I really love about this is that James says he needs to go see where they're going and it's almost like Odd Job is pointing at it, like, "Go here, idiot." So the plane takes off, leaving James on the runway.
Linkara: Huh, I guess they will kidnap her that easily, kid.
Linkara (v/o): So who's the first person that the young Mr. Bond decides to inform?
James: I've got to get back and find Coach Mitchell.
(Cut to the MST3K gang watching Mitchell)
Joel and the Bots: (in unison) Mitchell!
(Back to the comic again)
James: He'll know what to do...
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, go to your gym coach, kid. That's the right strategy when reporting a kidnapping. Well, apparently, Mitchell...
(Cut to the MST3K gang again)
Joel and the Bots: Mitchell!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): ...is smart enough to report it to the authorities, but in the meantime, he provides exposition.
Coach Mitchell: I see your point, James, but Lotta's father has a reputation for being eccentric... After all, he spent his whole life searching for El Dorado, the lost city of gold!
James: Isn't it meant to be in Peru?
Mitchell: James! Everybody knows El Dorado doesn't really exist!
Linkara (v/o): (as Mitchell) Like the invisible breaths I'm holding for some reason. (normal) More exposition follows back in James' dorm room.
Tracy: Lotta's father was working on a secret project back in Peru, but he's been missing for over a month!
Linkara: You'd think people working on secret projects would have a cover story instead of just saying their project was secret.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, didn't the coach just say he was looking for El Dorado? How secret is it if the prep school's gym coach knows about it?
I.Q.: The authorities have drawn a blank! I don't think they'll believe your story!
James: Getting shipped to Peru in a mini-tank does seem a bit far-fetched.
Linkara: Geez, you know it's bad when the characters admit that the premise is weak.
James: There's only one way to find out, of course!
Linkara: Call your super-secret spy uncle who has the resources of MI6 at his disposal?
Linkara (v/o): Why, of course not. Little James is going to put himself at risk by going to Peru... along with his friends, who insist on coming.
I.Q.: Don't argue with her, James. There is no fury like a woman whose best friend needs help!
(Canned audience laughter and applause are heard)
Linkara: (laughs) The James Bond, Jr. Show will be right back after this ad for expensive crap you don't need.
Linkara (v/o): I.Q., like his grandfather, has gadgets ready for James.
I.Q.: ...a rope-launching watch, with built-in grips for securing to rock walls...
Linkara (v/o): Okay, pretty good so far.
I.Q.: ...a gold detector disguised as a camcorder with a range of twenty-five miles...
Linkara: Aaaaand any credibility this comic had is now circling the drain. Gold detectors do exist, but they're basically like any metal detector, producing a magnetic field that causes eddy currents when a conductive metal is near the coil. It sure as hell doesn't work 25 miles away, and you don't look through a viewfinder like they'll do!
I.Q.: ...the "batteries" next to it are mini-grenades, you arm them by pressing both ends twice...
Linkara: (stunned) Okay, I.Q., if you say you've got a gold detector, fine, I'll buy it. Just don't hurt anybody with those explosives you've got LYING AROUND YOUR DORM ROOM!!
Linkara (v/o): And finally, a homing device, though, that really doesn't seem as impressive compared to the mini-grenades and gold detector!
James: Thanks, I.Q. But haven't you got anything to protect me from Odd Job's flying hat?
I.Q.: The man with the bowler hat who captured Lotta was Odd Job? But that means...
James: Yes! If he's involved, then so is his boss... Goldfinger!
(The James Bond theme plays briefly)
Linkara: Wait, didn't they both die in the movie?
Linkara (v/o): We cut to two days later in Peru. I guess the three travel on horseback the whole way there or something. Now that we're in Peru, let's also mention that they're in the city of Puerto, which does not exist. There is a city called Puerto Maldonado, but since it doesn't look like an impoverished village, obviously they couldn't use that, which is kind of a shame since one of the few remaining industries in the city, according to Wikipedia, is gold collection in small quantities. Subsequently, "puerto" is Spanish for "port", which means that these people simply named their village "Port". You'll also notice that there doesn't seem to be any large body of water anywhere near the village. Huh. Speaking of things that make no sense, James uses his camcorder gold detector to see gold in the hills. While James goes off to the hills to look for the gold, the other two head into town to look for a hotel.
James: Be careful - I'll see you later. Look after Moneypenny, would you, Tracy?
James: My mule!
Linkara: So you named your mule after Miss Moneypenny? Nice to see how much respect you have for her, kid.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, there's something about this kid that's put me off since I first saw him, and I think I figured out what it is: If you dyed his hair and combed it down a bit, he's...
(Cut to a panel of another comic showing...)
Linkara (v/o): ...friggin' Wheeler from Captain Planet! I mean, he's even got the stupid jacket to boot!
(Back to the James Bond, Jr. comic)
Tracy: I wonder if there's a hotel with running water?
I.Q.: I wonder if there's a hotel at all...
(Cut to an image of the central plaza of the real Puerto Maldonado, which is comparatively modern and far less run down)
Linkara (v/o): And once again, here's the central plaza of Puerto Maldonado. Whew! What an awful place!
(Another image is shown, this one showing numerous skyscrapers)
Linkara (v/o): Here's the financial district of another Peru city, San Isidro. Geez! What a destitute hellhole Peru is!
(Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): After the two get shoved around by military officers, they meet an older white guy who says that the military officers are people who live in the mountains, who also have a big cannon up there. Welcome, once again, to Plot Convenience Playhouse, where there's an English speaker right in the village who can tell them that. You'll also notice that despite the face that Peru only has a 3% population of white people, every person in the village and working for Goldfinger, with the exception of Odd Job, is Caucasian. Then again, the only reason I know he isn't white is because I know in the movie he's Korean. Otherwise, he's colored as peach as everyone else. Well, except for the coach.
I.Q.: I hope James is having more luck than us.
Tracy: I just hope he doesn't end up on the wrong end of that big cannon the man talked about!
Linkara: So, I.Q. was smart enough to pack the miniature explosives, but not smart enough to pack a friggin' walkie-talkie?
Linkara (v/o): So Wheeler– I mean, James is climbing a mountain, and doing so Adam West-style without any kind of help or even tying it around his waist or anything.
James: Ahhh! Looks like I hit the jackpot!
Linkara: (as James) Yes, I've climbed a mountain and found... more mountain. (holds up fist) The jackpot has clearly been hit!
Linkara (v/o): He spots a helicopter flying nearby and uses a slingshot – a freakin' slingshot of all things – to toss his homing device onto it. However, he's interrupted by a loud screeching sound. Back in the village, the sound is apparently strong enough to cause an earthquake, bringing down most of the buildings. Back on the mountain, James runs for cover inside of a cave... which makes even less sense considering the possibility of the ceiling falling down on him, but for now, he's protected but sealed in because of rocks falling in on the entrance. I.Q. and Tracy head out in search of James, following behind some of Goldfinger's goons. James frees himself from the cavern using one of I.Q.'s battery grenades, but he drops the other one.
James: ...And that's the other one lost! Oh well! No time to look for it.
Linkara: (as James) Damn, it fell down all of three feet! Clearly, I can't just reach down and grab it.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, I'm not kidding here. A few minutes later, Goldfinger's pass by the rock pile, and I.Q. finds the mini-grenade at the base of the rock pile almost immediately. Speaking of which, didn't James have to climb the mountain in order to get to that little cave? How the hell did all of them get there? Was there a path that James decided wasn't action hero-y enough for him?
(Cut back to the Captain Planet comic, showing more shots of Wheeler)
Linkara (v/o): Geez, this thing reminds me so much of the Captain Planet comic. The art style is similar, Jimmy, Jr. looks like Wheeler, and like that comic, every page contains something completely idiotic.
(Back to the James Bond, Jr. comic again)
Linkara (v/o): While we're on that subject, Jimmy has stumbled across Goldfinger's camp, and even though it's clearly several hundred yards away, he can easily hear what they're saying. Goldfinger has both Lotta and her father, and he threatens to kill Lotta if her father doesn't reveal the location of El Dorado. And he shall do so with with his Earthcracker weapon, an ultrasound generator that causes earthquakes.
Linkara: Pretty sure, that's not how earthquakes work, but even ignoring that, why not just put a gun to her head? That big laser thing doesn't look like it's easy to move, and you're gonna have to swivel it around to wherever El Dorado is.
Linkara (v/o): So Lotta's father gives in to Goldfinger's demands, and they aim the weapon at a big mountain near them, revealing a rather pristine-looking temple made of gold. So, El Dorado just happened to be right next to them and just happened to be buried under a big hollow rock. What a coinkydink! Odd Job spots the young Mr. Bond climbing down a rope and tosses his hat out to snap the rope and send him plummeting to the ground, but apparently only far enough to knock him out. Goldfinger exposits... Seriously, half the dialogue in this comic is exposition... that he can retune the Earthcracker into laser mode to melt the gold. Oh, and because he has to deal with "those meddling kids", he somehow tosses James, Lotta and her father up into the big bowl that a statue is holding so they'll be killed as the statue melts.
Linkara: Once again, you could just shoot 'em. Yes, I know, in the movie, Goldfinger wants to kill Bond with a laser to the crotch, but this just seems really, really tedious and a waste of effort.
Linkara (v/o): Furthermore, what's Goldfinger going to do with the gold, anyway? In the movie, he wanted to irradiate the USA's gold supply to make it worthless so his own gold had more value. If he takes this gold and puts it on the market, he'll just devalue everything. Goldfinger is not supposed to be this much of an idiot. But anyway, back to the actual story.
Lotta: I'm afraid things are about to hot up!
(Linkara sighs and raises his index finger in the air)
Linkara's voice: Because poor literacy is kewl.
Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, I.Q. and Tracy see the whole thing and use the remaining explosive to cause a rock fall as a distraction. James, for some reason still having his watch, launches a swingline down to the ground for them to safety. Yes, this rope that's thin as dental floss is apparently strong enough – and long enough – to support their combined weight to the ground. James immediately heads over to the laser controls... What, nobody was operating the thing? ...and Odd Job prepares to throw his hat. Unfortunately, Odd Job apparently has decided to be (exaggeratedly slow voice) incredibly slow-moving, (normal again) even though his hat is off and ready, since James has enough time to reach the controls, put on the headset for it, figure out how the controls work, and somehow redirect the laser blast so it shoots Odd Job's hat in the air!
James: Hats off to that!
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Agent For H.A.R.M.; Crow hums the James Bond theme)
Linkara: Why do I get the feeling that this kid grew up to be SCI-Spy?
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but never mind that, time to trash a priceless historical find, which is exactly what James does. And Goldfinger even yells out...
Goldfinger: Curse you, Bond! Curse you!
Linkara (v/o): You know, if my evil plans were foiled by a teenager who looked like Wheels from Captain Planet, and a giant temple of gold was falling down on me, I'd probably have some much more adult profanity to spew out than "Curse you!" By the way, earlier, Lotta and her dad were scolding Goldfinger for not caring about the historical value of the city, and now they don't seem particularly miffed at James for crapping all over history. And really, was that necessary? I saw no evidence that the bad guys had guns, so you probably could have just run away or taking them down with a big laser. Anyway, they all retreat, and James reveals that he's saved an Academy Award from the wreckage. Well, that makes it all worthwhile. And so, our comic ends with Tracy telling James that they have to get back to prep school for their classes, though, apparently, that didn't stop them from skipping two days' worth to get to Peru to begin with.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks! But since Christmas is around the corner, here's a special bonus: a look at the episode that this comic was based on.
(Footage of the episode is shown as Linkara describes what happens and how it compares to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Plot-wise, it follows exactly the same way the comic did, though it fills in a couple of gaps, while at the same time forcing us to ask more questions. For example, in the opening, while Odd Job once again kidnaps Lotta with his stretchable arm, they do reveal that his tank was actually carried to and from there with a big cargo truck. Somehow, the tank also shoots lasers, because that makes tons of sense. Oh, and enjoy this bit, as Odd Job throws his hat right at James.
(The above does happen, and, offscreen, the sounds of a head being chopped off and someone screaming, is edited in before the hat embeds in a tree)
Linkara: Okay, that's not what really happened, but I didn't alter the actual animation in any way. It really looks like Odd Job just decapitated James!! (looks sick)
Linkara (v/o): And instead of simply running to keep ahead of the tank, James somehow survives grabbing onto the back of it and following them. And like the comic, Odd Job just slaps a sticker on the tank and drives into a plane. Also, the animation is horrible!
(The headmaster of Warfield is seen)
Linkara (v/o): Here's an example with the headmaster of the prep school, getting a call.
(He is standing with his back to the camera as he faces the window while talking on the phone; he then turns around and sits down in the chair. The animation clearly looks like it's only half-done)
Headmaster: (on phone) Security! Protocol! Oh, very well.
(He hangs up the phone and walks out of the office, opening the door as he does so, but not bothering to close it; then James enters the room, waving Tracy and I.Q. in, who do so, closing the door as they do. All of these animations look only half-done, like something out of Hammerman)
Linkara (v/o): Well, it was their second episode. How about we compare it to the animation of the X-Men animated series' first episode, made a year later.
(Footage of the episode in question, part one of Night of the Sentinels, is shown, with far better animation. It shows people running in fear of the Sentinel, who rampages through town and smashes into a building)
Sentinel: Do not be alarmed. I am here to serve and protect.
Linkara: Isn't it fun when they clearly just don't care?
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of, I have no idea why the hell they went into the Headmaster's secret panel there, other than the possibility of that being where the Headmaster keeps his three mules for expeditions to Peru! So they travel to the village, and it plays out similarly, except we actually have nonwhites in the village. Hell, Tracy actually tries to stop Goldfinger's goons from stealing some bananas, but they pull actual guns! And... why couldn't that tank shoot mortars again? Like before, James climbs up a mountain as vaguely Bond-esque guitar chords play. Like the comic, he slingshots the homing device onto a copter.
James: (aiming the slingshot) This homing device will make a nice present. (he fires it at the helicopter, where it lands on the tail) Bulls-eye!
Linkara: "Bulls-eye"?! You were actually aiming for the thin poles that that'd be difficult to hit?
Linkara (v/o): Subsequently, we never do get an answer as to why Odd Job is in that helicopter or why they needed to use the tank, which never reappears, to capture Lotta. Oh, and as the earthquake hits, we're treated to I.Q. in a bathtub. Thanks, James Bond, Jr., that's really what was missing from all of this. Subsequently, that looks like a pretty snazzy bathroom for an impoverished village that still relies on animals to get around. In the cartoon, James is actually smart enough to pick up the grenade again, but somehow it falls out of his pocket. Score one for the cartoon. Of course, that score goes down because the comic thankfully left out a character: some snobby brat named Trevor Noseworthy, who exists solely to create an antagonist for James, even though he has no reason to actually hate him. He tells the Headmaster about how heard about James, Tracy and I.Q. going to Peru. What, nobody noticed that they've been gone for two days? And how the hell did he find out about it? But the Headmaster shrugs him off, believing him to be hallucinating because of a bump on the head he got during the tank attack. We also get this piece of music...
(Said music sounds like a "wah-wah" sound, but played on an electric guitar or a synthesizer instead of a trombone or trumpet)
Linkara: Wow, I never thought I'd actually hear that version of that "wah-wah" music, done with a synthesizer. And it sounds just as cliched as the actual version.
Linkara (v/o): Like the comic, I.Q. and Tracy run across the mountain that James had climbed up. Seriously, is there like a bike trail or something up there? In the show, Lotta is also ethnic, so I guess somebody spilled whiteout all over the comic version. Also, I've never really noticed before, but Goldfinger sounds like he can't decide what his accent is.
Goldfinger: (laughs) A very good (Editor's note: "Russian?") question, my dear. ("French?") Very good. ("German?") Perhaps if your father heard my plan one more time, ("Tommy Wiseau?") it would cause him to rethink his position.
Linkara (v/o): James is captured again, and he meets up with Goldfinger.
Goldfinger: Who are you?
James: Bond. James Bond... Jr.
Linkara: It's amazing how adding just that one word drains the response of any kind of power.
Linkara (v/o): So, to make a long story short – too late – they once again stupidly put the three up in the bowl, despite clearly having machine guns, though we do get this humorous exchange.
James: Goldfinger, wait!
Goldfinger: Not this time.
Linkara (v/o): Otherwise, it plays out as before, only with more annoying dialogue, padding, but a few bits making more sense, like James hooking the statue over to the side so they can just jump off of it, instead of trying to swing-line down with all three at once. And like before, Odd Job takes his sweet-ass time throwing his hat. James once again destroys an archaeological find, and it all ends with stupid puns.
Tracy: Let's go, James, we have classes to attend back at Warfield.
James: (turning to camera as he leaves) One girl touch, slightly tarnished.
(The electronic "wah-wah" sound plays again as Tracy drags James off and the screen fades out, ending the cartoon)
Linkara: In other words, the show sucks, the comic sucks, and suckiness abounds. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll, to the James Bond, Jr. theme)
Come to think of it, why did Coach Mitchell bring up Lotta's father to begin with?
Linkara will be back in... "Another Top 15!"
(Stinger: A clip of an episode of The West Wing is shown)
President Jed Bartlet: Can I tell you what's messed up about James Bond?
Charlie Young: Nothing.
Bartlet: Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.