The otherworldly creature called the Beyonder came to Peter in human form, trying to understand humanity. It had questions about human bodily functions and human wants. It learned from others that humans tend to want wealth so it turned a skyscraper into solid gold. The building partially collapsed under its own weight, rupturing gas and water mains. Spider-Man helped evacuate the employees inside. A special government agent named Charles Anderson was determined to keep Spider-Man out of the building. Later, agent Anderson was seen delivering golden items to Wilson Fisk.
|Cover Art:||John Byrne|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Tales #278|
The military has blocked off Park Avenue and blocked the view of the street with a giant tarp. Meanwhile, Spider-Man swung away from the scene complaining to himself that he had been shot at by the police but Kingpin was being rewarded. There was one upside: he had managed to grab a notebook that had been changed into gold. He justified taking it by saying he found it in the trash yet he still felt guilty.
He snuck into his apartment through a skylight, grateful that his neighbor that watched the sunrise didn’t see him. Turning on his TV, he saw a news report about the situation on Park Avenue. The military had evacuated five city blocks from Lexington Avenue to the Hudson River. The reporter promised that the public was in no danger and Peter scoffed. He didn’t know which worried him more, the risk of a global depression or that the federal government was cooperating with the Kingpin. He decided that he was too exhausted to think about it and passed out.
At the same time, agent Anderson had taken control of the situation. Another agent reported that the lasers had arrived and were dismantling the building. He inquired about the unauthorized personnel that had seen the building and Anderson responded that they had been taken away to a debriefing center. By the time their experts were done, the civilians wouldn’t know what they saw. The sergeant didn’t like the sound of that and Anderson told him to take it up with the president.
Chunks of golden building were taken away by truck and taken to ships on the river. The ships made their way to the Atlantic Ocean and dumped the cargo into the seven mile deep trench off the coast of Puerto Rico. At that moment a NORAD satellite passed overhead and took photos of the operation. The photos were faxed to Congressman Jason Black, who transmitted them to his New York office. The pictures ended up in the hands of Oswald Silkworth, the Arranger. He delivered them to Fisk, expecting him to be pleased but his boss already knew about the gold dumping.
The next morning, Peter showed up at the Bugle and Betty told him that they had been trying to contact all freelancers on the Park Avenue mystery. In Jonah’s office, he was chewing out his staff for having learned nothing about the situation. He singled out Ned Leeds, who suggested that they drop the story. The government seemed very serious about keeping what was happening a secret and Ned worried about blowback. Jonah was enraged but was interrupted by Peter arriving. He expected Peter to have photos and when he didn’t, Jameson threw him out.
Spider-Man swung away from the Bugle wondering if JJ was right. Maybe the public had the right to know about what was happening but he worried about the government’s connection to Wilson Fisk. He wondered how the public would react to that news. Spidey snuck around the former site of the skyscraper and was impressed by how quickly the soldiers had worked but he still wanted to keep an eye on Anderson.
Meanwhile, Kingpin was explaining to the Arranger that the government had been foolish to try and prevent him from taking his share of the gold. He explained that the cargo ships were most vulnerable after dumping the gold and returning to New York, after their fighter jet escorts left them. It would be easy to find a particular ship, kill the crew and then take over.
At the site of the skyscraper, agent Anderson learned that the last of the evidence had been gathered and taken away. He was pleased to hear it and ordered that everyone involved be strip searched and debriefed. He was going to escort the final shipment to the trench himself. Spider-Man followed him to the ship and after seeing him board, he reluctantly decided to follow along. As the ship left New York harbor, Anderson went to the bridge where he was met by the Arranger. Anderson told Silkworth that he was crazy if he thought he could hijack the ship and was told that a hijacking wasn’t the plan. They were going to dump the gold much earlier, at a place easier to find later. He would then sell it slowly in the market or ransom it to the government. Anderson said the government didn’t deal with criminals and Silkworth disagreed.
Anderson replied that the government had paid Fisk for keeping the public from learning about the gold but this was never part of the agreement. Silkworth explained that his client was a businessman and took a percentage of every dollar that came through New York, so he was entitled to a portion of the gold. Anderson was knocked out and Spider-Man was glad that the government wasn’t working with a crime lord. He went after the Arranger’s goons as Arranger ran away. Spider-Man followed him topside and continued fighting more thugs as a fighter jet pilot saw the fray. The pilot radioed that Spider-Man was attacking the ship and the coastguard was sent to assist.
As the fight continued, Arranger fled to the bridge and ordered the sailor to dump the gold. The sailor questioned him and as Arranger was about to do it himself, Spider-Man crashed through the window and webbed the two of them. The coast guard arrived to see the ship stopped in the water and the crew covered in webbing. They found Anderson who explained that the gold was safe, as was the crew. Another agent said that Spider-Man had been seen onboard and Anderson replied that that was impossible. He would have known if the webhead was onboard. He ordered that his name be removed from the records.
Meanwhile Spidey snuck back to a coast guard ship. His spider senses went off as he saw that Anderson had spotted him. The agent saluted him and Spidey thought that maybe Anderson wasn’t so bad after all. Then he thought maybe Jameson was the Easter bunny. He hoped that the ship was going back to New York and not the North Pole. He still didn’t know what to do with the golden notebook and mused that he had saved the world economy but couldn’t manage his own finances. As he wondered what else could go wrong, Firelord made his way to earth.
These kinds of stories are my favorite. They’re intelligent and don’t patronize the reader. A story centered on the global economy may not be exciting or interest younger readers but I like grounded tales. As I’ve said in other reviews, this era of Spidey books is my favorite. The stories are torn from the news of the 1980s: economics, terrorism, the Cold War, international relations. Now we get stories about nerdy demons that model themselves after Spider-Man and call themselves Rek-Rap.
I was a little annoyed that Spidey seemed to change his mind constantly about whether the government was cooperating with Kingpin or not. He was relieved that they weren’t when Anderson had just admitted that they were. The military was treated like incompetent goons but that’s what was necessary for the story to work.
Intelligent script, strong characterization. Comics as they should be.