Amazing Spider-Man annual #25
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #25
Danny Fingeroth - Editor
The story involves Roxxon (Marvel's go-to legal but unethical corporation) attempting to synthesize Wakandan vibranium, which Spider-Man finds out when he attempts to stop what he thinks is a burglary, but which is actually a suspicious middle of the night transfer by Roxxon.
Meanwhile, the Kingpin hires the Ghost to get Roxxon's vibranium secrets.
Also interested in the synthetic vibranium are Iron Man and Black Panther. Oh and also Ultron.
I find Black Panther's argument to be underdeveloped, and, as it stands, too blatantly self-serving. If someone can produce an alternate source of vibranium, they have every right to do so, and that serves humanity's interests. T'Challa certainly has a right to be concerned about what this will do to his country's economy, but it's not an argument against Roxxon being able to produce the stuff. And we'll see his objections go beyond this one scene. I also didn't think of Wakanda of being a nation solely reliant on vibranium, the way, that, say, a small Middle Eastern country's economy might be based solely on oil. Wakanda used its natural resource advantage to get ahead in the world, but at this point with all of the investments in science i would think that they are a self-sufficient regional power even without vibranium sales.
As it stands, the Black Panther has nothing to worry about, at least for the moment. Roxxon's synthetic vibranium, aka "NuForm", must be subjected to microwaves or else it decays into Antarctic vibranium (the kind that melts other metal).
In fact, microwaves only delay the decay.
I have to admit, when i first read the above scene, i thought Roxxon exec Jonas Hale's sinister grin was a little over the top. After all, he says there's plenty of time to develop a permanent fix. But then i realized that he's going to sell the stuff now and then hope to find a cure later.
I mean, they're still a legitimate company with liabilities, right? They wouldn't do that! After all, this is a company that sacrificed a shipment of oil to avoid running over a pregnant dolphin!
Spider-Man is investigating Roxxon, and he's met by the Black Panther, whose motives for also investigating Roxxon might be a little suspect given what he's said above, but he does note that he's had dealings with Roxxon in the past and he knows that they "usually have dark cards up their corporate sleeves".
Still, neither Spider-Man nor Black Panther have a legal reason to enter Roxxon's lab. But when they peek through the window, they see the Ghost and decide that's reason enough.
Black Panther shuts off the lights, since his senses and Spider-Man's spider-sense give them an advantage and basically negate the Ghost's invisibility power. But when Roxxon employee Arthur Dearborn hears the battle, he enters the lab and flips the light switch. The Ghost is therefore able to activate the lab's microwave beam projector. It's about to hit the Black Panther when Dearborn jumps in the way. That seemingly kills Dearborn, except that he's really Sunturion.
And that's where this issue's main story ends.
Another story that runs through each of these issues focuses on Silver Sable's super-powered mercenaries.
I don't know what's going on with the art there. I know Alan Kupperberg can do better than that.
Sable is just in a training exercise above. But she gets a mission that requires her "special operatives" instead of just the usual Wild Pack goons. So she summons Rocket Racer (who has to skip a trigonometry exam) and the Prowler (whose wife Mindy is angry that he's still doing super-stuff).
Her third operative is a new one for her: the Will O' The Wisp.
Note that she's dubbing the group the "Outlaws". The way it's phrased, it sounds like that's a new idea, but that can't be the case. First of all, Rocket Racer and Prowler, with others including the Sandman, called themselves the Outlaws prior to ever being associated with Silver Sable. Second of all, the group called themselves the Outlaws (with Sable) in Excalibur #36, which was published prior to this and, more importantly, had a footnote that confirmed that the story took place before Sandman joined the Avengers in Avengers #329. This story definitely takes place after Avengers #329, since the reason that the Sandman isn't among those summoned by Sable is related to the fact that he quit the Avengers in Amazing Spider-Man #348. So i guess Sable is just repeating herself by code-naming the group the Outlaws here.
And actually, that's all the story in this first segment. It ends with the revelation that the Sandman is no longer working with Silver Sable either, and in fact he's working with the radical kidnappers that the Outlaws are going to have to fight.
This annual also has a short standalone Chance back-up. It's written by David Michelinie (as is everything in this issue), and drawn by Steve Ditko. Who is an appropriate choice, given that we are dealing with smarmy executives.
The story has Raymond Trask, an Atlantic City casino owner (and mobster, if that needed to be said) that Chance failed to assassinate previously, showing up. He actually wants to hire Chance, or at least claims to.
But the job really turns out to be a trap.
Chance survives the trap and goes after Trask for the money he was promised.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Per a footnote, Iron Man remains in his armor throughout these issues due to "current issues of Iron Man". Sandman appears here after Amazing Spider-Man #348. The Venom story from this annual is covered in a separate entry.
Crossover: Vibranium Vendetta
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
I've always had nostalgia for this issue as it was one of the first comics I ever read as a kid. That's probably also part of the reason why I like this version of the Black Panther costume better than the more busy designs with capes and the like.
Posted by: Red Comet | October 5, 2015 3:18 PM
Let me guess: no footnote for 1978's MTU #87?
Spidey and Tchalla really should remember having been involved with Roxxon together before.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 5, 2015 6:55 PM
No footnote and he refers to Roxxon only in a general way, definitely not as something that he and Spidey dealt with together.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 5, 2015 7:01 PM
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