Amazing Spider-Man #279
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #279
Missing In Action: Tom and Jim both agreed this was a stupid idea, a month without Spider-Man. A stunt predicated by David Michelinie's Web debut, where Spider-Man is captured and apparently killed. I was warned that sales would plummet. But the Secret Wars-style "Nabisco" corners alerted the fans and speculators this was an "event" of some kind, tying these books together. Sales were way up for the month. Spider-Man was banned from the entire Marvel line for the sales month, appearing only in The Vision and The Scarlet Witch miniseries, which had been plotted in advance of our stunt.
I don't think it's a stupid idea. It definitely shows the growth of the event-driven gimickization that was happening in comics at this time, and despite the warning Priest got, an awareness that these events would drive sales. They didn't have Nabisco corners for the Casket of Ancient Winters or the Scourge issues, but surely those various issues would have sold more if they had. But it's still a fun change of pace, and its major benefit is that it allows the tie-in books to focus on some female characters. The Peter Parker issue will star the Black Cat, and this issue features the return of Silver Sable. Sable hadn't been seen since her debut, but there was a jokey reference to her in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #113, so someone was thinking about her.
For this issue, Sable rehashes the argument with her Uncle about how her Wild Pack organization, which was originally formed by her father to hunt Nazis, is now a for-hire mercenary group. She says that her operation is Symkaria's "major source of outside revenue" and later "the cornerstone of the Symkarian economy".
The Wild Pack has been hired to hunt down Jack O'Lantern, but the majority of the crew has been gunned down by his men as the issue begins. So Silver Sable gets the idea to hire Spider-Man to fight Jack O'Lantern for her...
...but of course that goes nowhere because he's missing. Meanwhile, Sable happens across a liquor store heist gone violent, and when the death of a mother triggers a flashback to the death of her own mother...
...Sable decides to get involved personally and hunt down the killers.
This despite the fact that at the beginning of the issue she's depicted as being cool and emotionless.
Jack O'Lantern decides to be pre-emptive about hunting down Silver Sable as well, so everyone converges on the tenement house where the liquor store crooks are holed up.
After a big battle where Sable proves highly effective (despite the Lantern's awesome pogo platform!)...
...Sable has the choice between stopping Jack O'Lantern or making sure the liquor store killer is brought to justice, and she chooses the latter. Although it does turn out that she gets a substantial reward for taking out all of Jack O'Lantern's goons.
A nice look at Silver Sable, with some good, somewhat stylized, art from Rick Leonardi.
Cameos by Mary Jane, JJ, and Joe Robertson, wondering where Peter Parker is (i guess JJ and Robbie haven't heard from Joy Mercado yet).
Here's the scene Michael mentions in the Comments.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place more or less concurrently with Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #117 during the period where Spider-Man is missing. The last page of this issue is reprinted from Web of Spider-Man #17. Spider-Man shouldn't be appearing anywhere between Web of Spider-Man #17 and Web of Spider-Man #18. As Michael notes, the scene with the orchids is shown from the other end in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #118.
Crossover: Missing In Action
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showFlash Thompson, Foreigner, J. Jonah Jameson, Jason Macendale, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Joy Mercado, Mary Jane Watson, Silver Sable, Uncle Morty
You left out a scene where someone sends Sable exploding flowers. That scene takes place concurrently with the start of Spectacular Spider-Man 118- it's the first clue that the Foreigner is Sable's ex-husband.
Posted by: Michael | December 24, 2013 11:40 PM
Thanks Michael. Added that scene. There's also the scene in Spectacular Spider-Man #117 where Foreigner mentions his weakness for women with silver/blond hair.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 25, 2013 12:31 AM
This was a fun issue. It portrayed Jack O'Lantern in a menacing light. I really liked the villain, but he would be mishandled when he changed identities.
I also like Silver Sable and the Wild Pack a lot. She's definitely one of Marvel's men and women of international mystery like Paladin, Solo, Dominic Fortune, and various PM&IF characters (among many others). I always thought a good series could be devoted to that concept, but nothing was ever successfully done about it.
The Rick Leonardi art is very nice. I really wanted to see a monthly series from him.
Posted by: Chris | December 25, 2013 11:45 PM
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