The Black Fox, a career jewel thief, has remained at large despite numerous run-ins with Spider-Man. His most recent caper, stealing the Trask Diamond in Amazing Spider-Man #349 has him once again in a situation beyond his capabilities and at the mercy of our hero. Unfortunately for both, Doctor Doom is involved and is not happy with the thief's actions.
|Cover Art:||Erik Larsen|
|Add. Art:||Al Williamson, Joe Sinnott, John Romita, Sr., Sal Buscema, Todd McFarlane|
Spider-Man has the Black Fox cornered after his most recent heist, stealing the Trask Diamond during its debut at the Trask Center. Pity for the thief has always gotten the better of Spidey in the past, and with the appearance of Doctor Doom this time looks to be no different.
Doom is after Fox for the return of the Dragon's Egg, a jewel which had once belonged to his mother and which Fox has already sold. The first twelve pages are non-stop action between Spider-Man and Doctor Doom which is well written and, at times, very funny. Doom will not let the Black Fox go, but because of Peter's pity toward the old-timer he continually prevents Doom from stopping him. This leads to a few classic moments where Spidey attacks and stops Doom momentarily to keep him from Fox knowing that he is no match for the villain and there is a beating to come for trying. Michelinie says it all in Spidey's first attempt to stop Doom as the hero thinks, "I'm going to regret this..."
Spidey annoys Doom long enough for the Black Fox to escape. Not good news since Doom now turns his full attention toward him. As one would expect when fighting a major Marvel villain like Doctor Doom without help, Spider-Man gets his tail kicked. Larsen's art is fantastic as Spidey gets torn to pieces by Doom with his only hope of survival being escape.
Cornered and at Doom's mercy, Spider-Man is able to save his own life by convincing Doom to give him 24 hours to find Fox and return his mother's jewel. Doom agrees with the warning that failure will cost Peter and the Black Fox their lives.
The next day Peter wakes up still woozy from his fight with Doom and decides to give Spider-Man a rest. The Black Fox discovers that the Dragon's Egg he had stolen has already been sold and he will have to track it down.
What follows is a sequence that appears in almost every milestone Spider-Man comic. Due to his concussion, Peter 'sees' his Uncle Ben on his way uptown and talks with him. There's the neat one page recap of how Peter became Spider-Man and found his sense of responsibility through Ben's death. Ben also makes Peter realize that the reason he's so easy on the Black Fox is because the crook is a reminder of him and Peter is afraid of his disapproval. At the end of the discussion Peter passes out.
Despite warnings from a doctor and Mary Jane in the hospital, Peter must go find the Black Fox as Spider-Man because of Doom's deadline. MJ isn't happy with the decision adding that she supports Peter with anything, but will not understand why he is risking certain death.
Spidey tracks down the Fox and tails him to New Jersey where the buyer of the Dragon's Egg, Andrew Carpathian, is set to use it to revive the Arcane Order and bring back the swarm that attacked New York (Spectacular Spider-Man #169 and Spectacular Spider-Man #170).
Spidey tells the Fox they need to team-up to stop the Order and prevent the swarm from materializing. In a well-drawn action sequence the pair fights trough the small army of the Order in an attempt to grab the Dragon's Egg. Spidey is taking too much damage with his recent concussion. Doom crashes through the wall as a spectator (wanting the egg and nothing else), but his appearance is enough to stun everyone while Spider-Man stays concious and fights his way to the egg.
Since their plan has been ruined the Order and Carpathian take off immediately. Spidey returns the jewel to Doom who then turns to kill the Black Fox for stealing it in the first place. Spidey convinces him not to, but as punishment Doom destroys the Trask Diamond that was to finance Fox's retirement and takes off. Finally, Spidey, doesn't fall for Fox's "I'm too old" routine and takes him in.
A great milestone issue. The opening fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Doom is amazing. Larsen outdoes himself with the action sequences at both the beginning and end of the book. Michelinie tells a good story that has a little bit of everything that makes Spider-Man a great character. The sudden appearance of the Arcane Order and their plan to rematerialize the swarm was a little out of left field, but it did allow a nice wrap up to the Black Fox - Spider-Man dilemma.
A milestone issue with the story and fantastic art to carry the hefty $1.50 price tag.
This was Erik Larsen's last issue of his run on Amazing Spider-Man. He would go on to write and pencil a short series on Spider-Man (taking over for McFarlane again) before leaving Marvel to produce the Savage Dragon for Image.