Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One Vulture Outfit, To Go, Please

Part Two to our Spider-Man murder mystery in progress has a cover which would certainly fit like a glove in our "No! Not YOU!" sampling:

But Part One of this story left us all pretty desperate for answers--as well as a desperate Spider-Man hundreds of feet in mid-air, plunging to his death!

So let's just "plunge in" and wrap things up!

First off, I wouldn't worry too much about the fate of Spider-Man, as much of a cash cow he's been for Marvel Comics, Marvel Entertainment, and associated merchandising--though his chances for survival indeed look dismal. I would have thought he'd use his web shooters, to snag the Vulture--but it turns out I was only half right:

Which unexpectedly brings us to yet another exciting segment of

I've been skydiving before, though I never clocked the speed my body reached when free-falling. The physics involved say that a falling object accelerates at a rate of 9.8 m/s, a rate which increases depending on the time involved in the plunge (and, I would think, the mass of the object):

If dropped from a position of rest, the object will be traveling 9.8 m/s (approximately 10 m/s) at the end of the first second, 19.6 m/s (approximately 20 m/s) at the end of the second second, 29.4 m/s (approximately 30 m/s) at the end of the third second, etc. Thus, the velocity of a free-falling object that has been dropped from a position of rest is dependent upon the time that it has fallen.

Short version: if you're falling from hundreds of feet up, you're going to be falling pretty darn fast. And, as in Spidey's case, we also have to take into account that there's a lot of wind resistance. So, what are the chances that his web-shooters are going to be effective in this kind of gambit? Once he fires them (downward, sideways, whatever), isn't the webbing just going to be swept upward by the rushing wind almost immediately? But let's assume, by some miracle, it shoots straight down, without meeting any wind resistance--it also obviously has to reach ground level at a much faster velocity than he's falling, and fast enough to form a large and solid enough net.

Translation: This shouldn't--couldn't--work.

But Peter Parker is a physics major, and we have to believe he knows more about science than the rest of us poor shmucks, so...

Let me just add: Peter Parker, whose grades are lousy and who routinely misses classes with a shrug and a "oh, well" attitude, is not someone whose from-the-hip applied science you want to stake your life on, so please don't try this at home.

Now that he's out of danger, Peter needs to start gathering information in order to put the pieces of this puzzle together--and his first stop is the ESU biology lab where the Vulture was confronting an assistant named Christine Murrow. Instead of finding Christine, Peter finds one of the science instructors, Dr. Shallot, cleaning up the mess from the Vulture's intrusion:

A pretty harmless and seemingly insignificant scene, yes, but an important one in regard to the big picture. But Peter still needs info about Christine, and so he's off to the campus registrar to get a look at her file. I can guarantee you that, at my college, no student was able to just stroll up and be granted access to the file room; but, apparently, Peter's no slouch in the flirting department, and soon his sleuthing leads him to some rather interesting information on Christine:

Curiouser and curiouser. And that's nothing, compared to the bombshell he finds in the archives of the Daily Bugle's morgue room:

Later, thanks to a snitch named "Mouthpiece" Moylan, the trail that Peter is following leads him to the waterfront, where the Vulture has been seen. And in a cargo hold where a sailor lies unconscious, Peter finds another piece to the puzzle--as well as the Vulture himself, who does not like snooping busybodies:

The Vulture ends up tossing Peter into the drink, from a height which would mean death for any normal person. But since Peter now has falling from heights down to a (you'll excuse the word) science, he survives and runs into one last clue, this time in Mary Jane's building:

Knowing the Vulture isn't the type to leave any loose ends, Peter then tries to get MJ into police custody, this time with no argument. But the Vulture has returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak, in yet another attempt to deal with MJ--and, once again, Spider-Man is there to thwart him:

Spidey successfully fends off the Vulture, and, after making sure MJ is taken to safety, he heads to the ESU bio lab to hopefully finally confront Christine--as well as Dr. Shallot, who shows up in a guise Spider-Man has already guessed:

However, before leaving the waterfront, Peter pocketed some of the chemical solution from the ship hold which the Vulture broke into--and, taking the Vulture by surprise, he forces it down Shallot's throat. The transformation which follows comes as little surprise, at this point, and Spider-Man begins to explain the entire affair:

It looks like Shallot planned to continue his life as "the Vulture," once he'd disposed of anyone who knew of his dual identity as well as the witness to the murder he'd committed by mistake; and the chemicals he was importing would allow him to transform back to his civilian identity whenever he needed to, presumably to avoid a dragnet for the Vulture. It was certainly an odd and roundabout way to bring back the Vulture--and probably padded two entire issues unnecessarily with the trappings of a murder mystery as well as MJ's involvement. On the bright side, it's encouraging to know that practically anyone can ring up the state pen and requisition the costume and equipment of a super-criminal. Think of all the fun the Yancy Street Gang could have with the Shocker's gizmos...

Amazing Spider-Man #128

Script: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Ross Andru
Inks: Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt
Letterer: John Costanza


david_b said...

Funny as it happened, I had ish 126, and never saw 127. Once ish 128 was on the newstands, I was horrified that I had missed such a pivotal issue when 128 starts with Spidey plummeting to the ground from hundreds of feet up.

Wow and wow.

Despite missing Romita, it was still one of my all-time fav ASM issues. I probably need to by another copy just to matte/frame. Great cover.

I had come into collecting ASM in '73 with ish 122 (whaaat a way to kick off my Spidey love..). By the time 20some issues later came around, I had lost interest in Ross Andru's art and and some comparatively lack-luster story-telling.

The 1st Clone saga also left me slightly disgusted. For Peter's angst, maturity and growth with MJ, Gwen was really better left dead.

Anonymous said...

Which is the greater crime? What Parker did to the laws of science or what Doctor Shallot did to hairstyles? I bet his barber makes him leave the money on the dresser and just go, go already.

The Prowler (has a square head on a round body).

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