Thursday, February 25, 2016

Like A Thief In The Night!

Name This Marvel Villain??

One of my favorite Marvel characters also happens to be very under the radar as far as his overall exposure in Marvel comics; but given a choice, that's just how he might prefer it, because operating under the radar is a plus in his line of work. But lest you assume he's just any garden-variety criminal, let's get a look at him in action.

Yes, the Black Fox strikes again! A cultured, sophisticated cat burglar and jewel thief, the Black Fox is getting up there in years, and wants nothing more at this point in his sensational career than to pull one last job in order to provide himself with a comfortable nest egg and retire to the French Riviera. At least, that's the plan. Unfortunately, over the years, the world has also become more sophisticated--not only in regard to law enforcement, but also the complications inherent in the presence of super-beings. As a result, the Fox often finds his efforts to leave behind his life of crime thwarted, time and again.

The Black Fox, a clever and fun creation of Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, is thus trapped in irony--wanting nothing more than to end his criminal career, but forced by the interference of others to repeatedly attempt that one last job that will provide for his security. And as he realizes all too clearly, his advanced years are now working against him.

The Fox has crossed paths more than once with the amazing Spider-Man, at times inadvertently involving him in whatever caper he's taken part in that has spiraled out of his control. For instance, their first meeting comes about when the Red Ghost lures the Fox to his residence, in order to secure his assistance in obtaining a vital component for a device which will make the Ghost infinitely more powerful. And while the Fox is a seasoned criminal used to thinking on his feet, he finds that in this case he's in way over his head.

The other fun twist to the Fox's continuing story takes place whenever Spider-Man has either cornered the Fox, or rescued him from whatever situation has blown up in his face. With variations, the result is often the same: Spider-Man deciding not to turn the Fox in, and just as often coming to regret it at a later date. The Fox, for his part, has evasion from the law down to a science--or at least a cagey story.

Spidey may be gullible, but he's obviously starting to catch on. On the other hand, never underestimate the Black Fox, who can spin a new yarn as skillfully as a certain wall-crawler can spin his web.

But things truly turn sour for the Black Fox when he pulls off a heist from a museum in Monaco of heirlooms on loan from the royal families of Europe, and attempts to use the proceeds to finance a larger theft in the States. The trouble is, one of those stolen items once belonged to the mother of a deadly figure who doesn't take kindly to being crossed, especially when it comes to family.

To make a long story short, Spider-Man is given an ultimatum by Doom: 24 hours to retrieve the jewel, or both Spidey and the Black Fox will be killed. And if that isn't motivation to succeed, I don't know what is.

It seems the Black Fox will again be deprived of a plush retirement on the sands of the Riviera. And what of Spider-Man? Is he again going to end up giving the Fox a pass? Well... considering how much trouble the Fox has caused the web-slinger this time, and the fact that Doom nearly put Spidey in the hospital, it's very possible that the Fox's accommodations for the near future will be far less accommodating than a French resort. Because even Spider-Man knows when enough is enough.


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Ah The Black Fox. An old-school villain who's a change of pace from the types of villains who usually try to kill him.

Is he still around or has he been killed?

Comicsfan said...

Dale, the last I knew, the Fox had been involved with the "irredeemable" Ant-Man and, finally, double-crossed by him and arrested by SHIELD agents. (We can probably assume he requested to serve his time under house arrest in a nice chateau in the Riviera!)