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STRONG OF 'J' BRANCH

strong_of_j_branch_cb_adv3 strong_of_j_branch_cb_adv1 strong_of_j_branch_cb_adv2 strong_of_j_branch_cb_adv4
 
Full Name: Mark Strong
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1963 - 1963

ABOUT THE SERIES

Mark Strong is an agent with British Intelligence.

More specifically he is an operative with a division of that organization known as 'J' Branch. It operates out of an office "on the eighth floor of a recently completed office block in the heart of London. The brass plate on the door said "British Travel Agents, Ltd." Interestingly, it is run by a man who was known only as 'J'.

The department has some very relaxed attitudes towards legalities. A case in point is in the first recorded adventure when a man in Paris with needed intel but a reluctance to divulge it is drugged to sleep and transported secretly back to London for an interesting session of threatened torture.

Strong is mentioned several times as being the ace operative for this group and shows no evidence of changing his winning ways. He is not afraid to leap into enemy territory or walk boldly into a hostile embassy, confident he will live long enough to survive getting back out again.

He is a tall, ruggedly good-looking man with somewhat wavy blond hair brushed straight back.

He has a nice set of devices in his arsenal, curtesy of 'J' Branch's inventiveness. An example is a radio transmitter and receiver small enough to fit in his suit pocket but said to be the powerful one in the world. Another is a powerful fast-acting knock-out gas he carries in a vial in the heel of a shoe.

In the first mission we are able to follow him on, he meets a foreign spy chief named Golen who will become a personal nemesis. That man is from the European country of Krania, an obviously Eastern European nation with a major dislike of the U.K.

COMIC BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND MANGA

Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1963
Last Appearance:1963

1 The Kranian Moon Rocket Issue The Kranian Moon Rocket Issue
Published by DC Thomson
Contributors: Unknown (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1963

Published in The Victor #139-#141, 10/19/1963 - 11/01/1963.
A middle-aged woman comes to 'J' Branch when her physicist husband who has been working abroad goes silent for a month. He had answered an ad looking for "scientists in all branches" to do research in the European nation of Krania. The project had "some connection with moon flights". Strong gets himself hired by the firm as a mathematician to infiltrate the facility. He finds out that the rocket being developed, said to be heading to the moon, is really only capable of reaching England.
Click here to read the story.

2 The Zarny Papers Issue The Zarny Papers Issue
Published by DC Thomson
Contributors: Unknown (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1963

Published in The Victor #142-#145, 11/09/1963 - 11/30/1963.
When a body is found in a woods in Surrey, Mark Strong of 'J' Branch is notified. The deceased was a butler at the Kranian Embassy in London. He had been shot through the heart at very close range. Strong was called because the man carried a 'J' Branch identity tag, given to those who have helped the organization in the past. Was the man killed for trying to again pass along vital intel and if so, what was it? And why is Kranian spy chief Golen doing in London? Something called the Zarny Papers is involved.
Click here to read the story.

3 The Unseated Sultan Issue The Unseated Sultan Issue
Published by DC Thomson
Contributors: Unknown (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1963

Published in The Victor #146-#148, 12/07/1963 - 12/21/1963.
Answering a need to help rescue a Sultan whose country in the Middle East was in revolt, Mark Strong of 'J' Branch is parachuting into the trouble zone. He has just reached a good position with the beleaguered ruler when Strong's old enemy, Golen, comes to make his own pitch to the leader - one that comes with a hardly veiled threat.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Kranian Counterfeit Issue The Kranian Counterfeit Issue
Published by DC Thomson
Contributors: Unknown (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1963

Published in The Victor #149-#151, 12/28/1963 - 01/11/1964.
The enemy nation of Krania is flooding Europe with near perfect forgeries of £5 notes as well as other currencies. 'J' Branch has learned the man who made the plates so it just falls on Mark Strong to find and destroy the actual metal. To get into the country he must take the place of that country's exiled greatest violinists.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

This quite short series came and went without making any waves, as far as I can see. That is a pity when you spend a few minutes to look at and read the adventures.

It was very well drawn in black & white which was a terrific way to capture the mood. The stories were, to me, more than 'okay'; they were quite inventive and thought out.

Unfortunately, there was nothing in particular to hold the reader's interest and nothing at all to bring the reader back in a 'what-happens-next' situation.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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