The Falcon first appeared in Captain America #117 way back in 1969 and he was a steady feature of Captain America comics for most of the 70s (even sharing the title from #134-222).
On the splash page Spider-Man is unmasking on a rooftop when he suddenly hears a scream. He looks down and sees a woman being menaced by three young toughs. This isn’t just any woman, though; it’s Gloria Grant - one of Peter Parker’s neighbors.
Never one to ignore a cry for help, he puts his mask back on and leaps down into the street. The three young toughs are dispatched easily, but it turns out that one of them is Gloria’s cousin. Spider-Man brings him up to her apartment to get an explanation for his odd behavior.
Cue the flashbacking…The trouble began at a disco (doesn’t it always?) called the Hot Spot. Before Gloria’s cousin (whose name is Ramon, btw) and his friends can get their groove on they are accosted by some thugs who drag them into a backroom to meet a mysterious Gold Man. The Gold Man sprays the group with a mysterious canister and that’s all Ramon can remember before waking up in Gloria’s apartment.
Spidey decides to investigate further and swings off towards the disco. After he leaves, Gloria decides to bring in some back-up for the wall-crawler and calls Sam Wilson (aka the Falcon). It just so happens that the Falcon has been on the case of the Gold Man for a while and this is just the lead he was waiting for! You see, the Gold Man wants to rid New York City of all its black inhabitants and this naturally rubs Sam the wrong way.
So, Spidey and Falcon make their separate ways into the club. Spidey natural comes in high by climbing in through an upstairs window. Falcon, on the other hand, comes in low and sneaks in the back way (ironically, through the service entrance – way to be culturally sensitive).
Suddenly, they are ambushed by the Gold Man (who calls himself Midas, btw) and his thugs. Now, I find the whole idea of this ambush rather ludicrous. In the first place, how did Midas know that some random superhero would be showing up at his club? Secondly, exactly how long was he and his gang waiting to spring this ambush? Did they just close up the club after attacking Ramon and wait until something happened? Somehow, I get the feeling I’m thinking this through more than the author did.
Anyway, our heroes make short work of the thugs. Spidey uses a combo of fancy footwork and webs while Falcon uses his body odor to knock out his assailants and a curtain to avoid a spray of bullets (really, check out page 12, panels 1-3). Midas, of course, gets away.
Spidey wants to lean on the thugs to get the real name and whereabouts of Midas, but Falcon stops him and says he should do it because he speaks the language. Apparently, that language includes some sound effects, because after a “SMASH” and “THUDD” he comes out to the waiting Spider-Man with a name – Merriwell. There’s just one catch. Spidey says Harrison Merriwell is a well known philanthropist and couldn’t possibly be Midas, could he?
The two travel to Connecticut (don’t ask me how Spidey webslings all the way out there) to visit Merriwell’s mansion in order to find out the truth. They decide the direct approach is best and knock on the front door. It turns out to be a bad decision, since immediately after they are greeted by the butler they get smacked on the head from behind (nice Spider-Sense you got there).
They wake up in a rather odd deathtrap – a room-sized freezer complete with steel bars bolted to the floor to hold down your victims. (Maybe this is a standard feature in all mansions that I’m not aware of.)
As stupid as that sounds, the way our heroes get out of the situation is actually pretty clever. Before the door to the freezer is shut all the way, Spidey shoots some web fluid in the crack to stop it from latching. Then, as the room gets colder, his little glob of web fluid starts to expand until it finally explodes. How? You see, Spidey’s web fluid acts just like any other fluid when exposed to extreme cold – by expanding; except Spidey’s web fluid has the tensile strength of steel! Pretty smart, huh?
The explosion draws the attention of some party guests and they give the heroes an assist by unlocking the bars holding them down (I don’t know why Spidey couldn’t just bust out of them himself, though).
They both run up the stairs to confront Midas. Now, I’m sorry to spoil the surprise of a nearly 40 year old comic book, but Harrison Merriwell is not the Gold Man. It turns out to be his lesser known brother Malcolm Merriwell. At first Malcolm denies everything, but then he whips out his spray canister from earlier and threatens the heroes. Falcon literally pulls the rug out from underneath him, though, and sends him flying out the window to land in the moat. (Yes, not only does this mansion come with a deathtrap it also has a moat.)
This is about as generic as they come. In fact, I feel sorry for any Falcon fans had to read this story. Any hero could have been inserted into this issue and it would read just about the same.
The villain is lame and his so-called master plan is laughably offensive. Our hero’s powers are used or turned off at the writer’s convenience, and our guest star doesn’t bring any personality or pizzazz to the adventure.