Sunday, July 8, 2012

#2B: Bureau of Lost

Book #2:  "Bureau of Lost"

Release Date:  October 1997

Front Cover:  A boy (Marshall?) sits at a soda fountain counter (the World O' Stuff?). "Come on inside for a taste..."

Inside Cover: Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and a cowboy (Jesse James?) split a sundae. "...of wild adventure!"

One-Sentence Synopsis:  Five legendary criminals escape from the Bureau of Lost's Missing Persons Department and arrange an epic heist on the Eerie Railroad.

Marshall and Simon notice that they haven't been losing items as much as they used to and wonder if Al and Lodgepoole from the Bureau of Lost have been slacking.  They manage to track the two down and discover that they have been kicked out of the Bureau after a couple of escapees from the Bureau of Missing took charge.  Apparently, there is a wing that keeps track of all Missing Persons and keeps them in cryogenic chambers.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid escaped and freed everyone else.  The Losers sealed them inside the Bureau and are afraid to return since the escapees have weapons.

Marshall and Simon are roped into helping the two infiltrate the security system so that a gas can be released to knock out the escapees, allowing them all enough time to put them back in their place.  After navigating the complex and ludicrous system, the gang manages to get everyone back in their chambers, except Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Jesse James, the Flying Dutchman, and D.B. Cooper.  Fearing that these notorious criminals will be planning something sinister, the four spread out to hunt them down.

Marshall manages to locate the escapees at the World O' Stuff and learns that they plan to knock over a shipment of gold that is headed for Fort Knox via the railroad.  Marshall alerts the others and they decide that the best way to stop the criminals is to enlist the help of Dash X.

The train stops in Eerie just as a Wild West festival is occurring.  The criminals stop the train on the bridge over the Eerie River.  The patrons all assume that the criminal crew is part of the festivities and gladly hands their possessions over.  The valuables are lowered down to the Dutchman in a get away boat.  However, Dash X intercepts the loot via hang glider(!) and Lodgepoole and Al manage to tranquilize the thieves.

The Losers return the Missing People and agree to ensure that Marshall and Simon never lose anything ever again.  They also agree to talk with the higher-ups about their Missing Persons policy, which Marshall deemed inhumane.  Although it seems like they weren't going to follow through with it, Marshall receives a postcard from Amelia Earhart, thanking him for the vacation.

Evidence Locker Item:  Unknown, possibly Earhart's postcard

"Looks like some weird kid in a crazy flying contraption."

First, this story is a major improvement over the last one.  Things start happening quickly and each chapter gets crazier and crazier.  There is a little lack of focus as the boys navigate the inner workings of the Bureau of Lost, but at least it stays interesting.  But then, things get a little too crazy and the story is unable to withstand all the weirdness it created.

Everything about the story works just fine during the first 4/5ths of the book.  I think it was smart to have D.B. Cooper as part of the gang of criminals, acting as a bridge between the modern world and the old west.  That way there can be fish-out-of-water humor, but not so much that it slows the story down.  This makes for a great turn in which Marshall realizes they have to use technology made after Cooper's time in order to beat them.

And they come up with Dash on a hang-glider with a chainsaw.

While that is a funny image, it is too much.  The whole time, Dash is hesitating to hang glide so the reader is led to believe that he was just lying about his skills and was going to crash horribly and ruin the plan.  But then, he does it flawlessly with a working chainsaw.  It's like the author John Peel was going to write a normal story and then had to meet a deadline and rushed the ending.

Still, it's nice to have familiar characters back actually acting the way we remember them from the show.  Even Mr. Radford appears, happily serving the criminals their milkshakes.  I wanted to see the Bureau of Lost again and I got my wish.  So, for that, I applaud the story.  Even if it did get unnecessarily complicated.

Random Observations:
- Apparently there is another cryogenic chamber reserved for Elvis that has been empty for years in the Bureau of Missing.

- When I picture the hang-glider scene, I can't help but imagine Dash flying in front of a green screen, since that's how it would have looked on the show.  That makes it somewhat tolerable for me.

Conspiracy Theories:
- Dash's first request from the Losers is for them to return his memory.  But they don't deal with memories.  Maybe there is another department that handles the loss of intangible items.

Grade: A step in the right direction for the series, but the ending comes out of nowhere.  B

1 comment:

  1. "Dash on a hang-glider with a chainsaw.” ‘Nuff said, ROTFLMAO!