Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #127

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2009.

In Detail...

"The Dark Wings Of Death"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #127
Dec 1973 : SMURF 127.500 : SM Title
Summary: Vulture
Editor:  Roy Thomas
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Ross Andru
Inker:  David Hunt, Frank Giacoia
Cover Art:  John Romita, Sr.
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #104
 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #6
Articles: Flash Thompson, Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Human Torch, The Jackal, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Vulture III (Dr. Clifton Shallot)

Swinging through Mary Jane's neighborhood, Spidey sees a crime scene down below. A woman had fallen to her death, and from Spidey's vantage point it looks as if MJ saw the whole thing. Change into Peter he goes to her apartment to confirm his suspicions. Rattled, MJ tells him the story and that she refuses to go to the police because the killer saw her. Peter storms out with some angry words, hoping to goad her into going to the police out of anger.

Changing back into Spidey, he decides to investigate the crime scene. However, he ends up finding the killer instead: The Vulture! Believing Spidey a witness Vulture attacks, seeking to kill him as well. The aerial battle ends when Vulture avoids a leap and kicks Spidey on the way down. Groggy, Spidey just manages to save himself from going splat on the pavement with a web-net below.

Waking up a few minutes later, Spidey finds himself in an alley near the crime scene. Still wanted for the death of Norman Osborn, Spidey sneaks off before they spot him. With no way to track the Vulture at the moment, he heads for the Baxter Building to resume construction of his Spider-Mobile with the Human Torch.

As daytime approaches, Spidey heads for home to freshen up and get some breakfast before rushing off to school. There, Harry emerges from his bedroom, still giving Peter the silent treatment. Peter tries to talk to him, but Harry blows up in response. Peter fluffs Harry off and takes his leave, heading to the campus where he tries to convince MJ to go to the police again. But she tries to play it off as a story she concocted, being a witness. The argument is interrupted by Flash Thompson pulling up and offering them a ride.

The respite doesn't last long, as the Vulture swoops down and takes MJ away. A surprised Flash loses his focus long enough to just avoid hitting an oncoming car, crashing them into a telephone pole instead. Peter checks on Flash before rushing off for a place to change. Of course, Professor Warren runs into him and decides at that moment to talk to Peter about the neglect he's been giving his class. But, with MJ's life at stake, Peter decides his academic career makes a better victim and dashes off.

Spidey confronts Vulture, but to get him off his tail he drops MJ. Flashing to Gwen's fall off the bridge, Spidey vows MJ won't share her fate and pours on the speed to catch her and land them safely. Now angered, Spidey takes off after Vulture and finds him in a lab terrorizing the lab assistant. Giving the girl a chance to escape, Spidey notices that something is different about Vulture; that instead of a costume he has somehow BECOME a human vulture!

The fight leads back outside where Spidey is able to blind Vulture with some webbing in time for some nearby police to try and capture them both. Vulture escapes their net and grabs Spidey, thinking he's the woman he was after due to his blindness. He takes off into the air, finally removing the webbing and seeing who he actually captured. Annoyed, Vulture takes the only logical course of action; he drops Spidey, who is far too high to web himself to safety.

In General...

Sometimes the world of comics makes it hard to accurately depict things. For instance, it's hard to tell just how far Peter got from Flash's car wreck before Professor Warren stopped him to talk. As it's laid out, it almost appears as if Peter only makes it a few feet away and Warren is more concerned with Peter's GPA than someone possibly being hurt.

But, misinterpretations aside, what we have here is a good story overall. What starts out as a simple encounter with the Vulture gets an extra mystery over Vulchy's changes. Also, there's the mystery of why he's attacking seemingly random girls. Plus, between all the action, there's further development of subplots. Harry and Peter's relationship continues to become strained, and Professor Warren has just about had it with Peter's attitude towards class.

A good start to this two-parter.

Overall Rating...

5 Webs. A good story with lots of action, a mystery, and sub-plots make this well worth your 20 cents! (Or whatever you paid for this issue in the particular decade you live in!)