Thursday, 23 April 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #71. Quicksilver

Amazing Spider-Man #71, Quicksilver
(Cover from April 1969.)

"The Speedster And The Spider!"

Written by Stan Lee
Layouts by John Romita
Pencils by Jim Mooney
Inks by Jim Mooney
Lettering by Sam Rosen

It's feeling-sorry-for-yourself time again, as Peter Parker sits alone in the pad he shares with Harry Osborn, bemoaning his lot in life. The police are after him. He's lumbered with a stolen priceless tablet he can't get rid of and he's inadvertently put J Jonah Jameson in hospital.

He's not the only one in a state of disgruntlement either because ex-Avenger Quicksilver's also lamenting his lot. Sadly for the mutant speedster, the whole world thinks he's a villain. This is mostly because of his, and his sister's, recent re-association with that menacing master of magnetism Magneto. Back in New York, he decides he has to see the Avengers to set the record straight. The only problem is, that when he reaches their HQ, he's told by their butler Jarvis that the super-group aren't there. They're all in Africa - presumably having problems with the Man-Ape.

So, that's that plan stymied.

Fortunately for him, the world of the super-powered is driven by coincidence and, when a pile of newspapers land at his feet, suddenly, he's presented with a plan. According to the front page, Spider-Man's a wanted man. Now, if he can only catch that wanted man, Quicksilver reasons, then the world will have no choice but to see him as a hero. His logic is somewhat flawed here. After all, if Dr Doom were to capture Spider-Man, it's hard to believe the world would feel it had no choice but to see him as a good guy.

Someone left with no choice but to see Spider-Man as a good guy is Joe Robertson. He's in charge of the Bugle now that JJ's in hospital. It's turned out the publisher didn't die at the end of last issue after all, he merely blacked out with fright. This, of course, doesn't explain how come he had no pulse but maybe Ned Leeds is just really bad at distinguishing between the living and the dead. Still, who can complain? He might be an idiot and a pain in the backside but a sequence at the hospital shows that the strip would be a whole lot less fun without the bad tempered publisher.

As for Joe, he's happy because Peter Parker's offering him pics that show Spider-Man fighting the Kingpin. Not only do they clear Spider-Man but, more importantly, from Robertson's viewpoint, they clear the student protesters - including his own son - of any involvement in the theft of the stone tablet. Needless to say Joe rewards Peter with a cheque the size of which, he's never before seen.

Things are looking up for our hero on the stone tablet front as well, as he finally figures out how to get rid of it. He takes it round to George Stacy (who, for once, isn't hanging around the police station) and leaves it with him for safe keeping. At last, all his problems are solved.

That's what he thinks - because that's when Quicksilver shows up. Catching Spidey unawares, he sends the arachnid adventurer plummeting from the side of a tall building.

But of course no mere fall's ever going to finish off our hero. He breaks his fall.

And now the fight can begin.

Not that it's much of a fight. It's all right having spider powers but, if you can't actually hit your foe, what use are they? It looks like it's going to be the shortest "fight" in history as Quickie literally runs rings around him.

But then...

...Spider-Man has it. He defeats his uncatchable foe with the simplest tactic ever devised in the history of super-herodom. As the mutant runs in circles around him, sucking the very air away from him, Spider-Man simply sticks his arm out. Quickie runs straight into it and is promptly knocked out.

The police show up. Spidey isn't hanging around to let them shoot him and he isn't going to leave the fugitive Quicksilver to their mercy either. He grabs his unconscious foe and carries him to a nearby rooftop.

Recovered, Quicksilver declares that, as Spider-Man saved him, he can't in all honour continue to fight him. That suits Spidey just down to the ground and, with a quick thwip of his web shooter, our hero swings off, pondering if maybe his luck has changed at last.

Well, really, what are the chances of that?

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