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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the 1980s and examine a small part of the Marvel Comics universe through a tale of the Amazing Spider-Man monthly series.
Back in the year 1985, Marvel Comics published their big-time limited series Secret Wars II, which saw the arrival of the powerful yet ignorant deity Beyonder on Earth. As a major publishing event spearheaded by then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, Secret Wars II had events that impacted a certain number of regular monthly comic book series whenever an issue was released. In one of the early issues of Secret Wars II, the Beyonder converted an entire tall building within New York City into pure solid gold. As the golden building could not support its own weight, it collapsed and the authorities scrambled to secure the perimeter. Spider-Man himself gets involved by rescuing the victims and he learned something along the way (as seen in Web of Spider-Man #6).
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Amazing Spider-Man #268, published in 1985 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by Ron Frenz.
The story begins with Spider-Man swinging high and noticing that the perimeter of the collapsed building of pure gold has been covered (with a large tarpaulin) and secured by armed personnel. People were not allowed to pass which makes them speculate about what happened. Having witnessed government operative Anderson compensating the Kingpin with typewriters made of pure gold secretly, Spider-Man is deeply troubled and decides to go home to take a rest.
At the site of disaster, several personnel equipped with laser weapons worked hard to cut down every part of the collapsed building and transport as much gold as possible onto trucks which are tasked to deliver them to a huge cargo ship at the city’s port. The authorities are concerned that the excessive amount of gold from the collapsed golden building will cause tremendous shockwaves in the world’s markets and they strive hard to keep everything secret…
Being a tie-in story to Secret Wars II, this is indeed a really unique Spider-Man story that does not put the iconic hero in direct conflict with a powered villain at all which can disappoint certain readers and fans who craved for action-packed conflicts. Instead, this story was designed to be a mystery which strongly reflects the consequences of the Beyonder’s action during his presence in New York. You will get to see Spider-Man work on finding out the answers to all the questions in his head and his knowledge about the involvement of the Kingpin and the United States government were more than enough to motivate him to figure things out even though it means putting himself at risk with powerful authorities.
In terms of story structuring and presentation, the tale moved at a moderate pace and the creators took their time with the revelation of key details (clearly designed to cause intrigue with the readers) as the narrative moved forward. This is indeed an engaging read and it has aged well.
Amazing Spider-Man #268 (1985) is an intriguing and entertaining read even though it does not have Spider-Man in direct physical conflict with a bad guy. The Kingpin, an established supervillain, is present in the story mainly as a background character who still has strong influence with the sinister forces present. The biggest feature of the comic book is the situation itself (local efforts on dealing with the collapsed building of pure gold while preventing the public from knowing all about it) which got triggered by the Beyonder’s reckless act of trying to help humanity by turning a building into pure gold believing that it would help all people financially and socially. As for Spider-Man himself, it is refreshing to see him work his way through in a mystery tale and this comic book has a very solid approach on mystery.
Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #268 (1985) is recommended.
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