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Amazing Adventures #3: Review

Sep 1970
Jack Kirby, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

Pawns of the Mandarin

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Adventures #3 Review by (February 6, 2024)

Review: More Kirby madness, another fast-paced if a bit goofy adventure as the Inhumans take on the bad guy with the magic rings in a series of individual duels because ganging up on him violates the Good Guys Code. Not Kirby’s best art, especially the Mandarin’s shifting face but then we get to the weird stuff, a mystic idol with powers! I can hardly wait!

A big change comes to the Black Widow series with this issue. The first two issues were drawn by John Buscema, a great artist but his work here was uninspired. Gene Colan takes over and the series immediately takes on a darker, grittier look, better fitting its urban milieu—for the next three issues, at least. And last issue’s review was a bit too flip: the comic is addressing serious matters that occupied the public mind in 1970-71 viz. how should social change be effected? By the ballot box? By trusting the authorities to do what’s right? But what if the authorities aren’t doing the right thing? How far can direct action go? That’s the issue in this storyline: The Young Warriors want to evict a crook from a building and use it to help the underprivileged. And Black Widow tries to find the balance between motive and means. It’s a bit juvenile, especially since the comic adds exciting action scenes to make it readable. Nothing deep but kudos to them for trying to be relevant. Of course, the political subtexts of Marvel comics in the 21st century tend to be overbearing and obnoxious so it’s a bit of a tradeoff.

Comments: Inhumans story: Part one of two parts. Mandarin’s previous appearance was in CAPTAIN AMERICA #125.

Black Widow story: Part three of four parts. The Daily Bugle gives Anthony Scarola’s first name as Mario; you’d think Robbie Robertson would have caught that. The Mayor of New York is clearly John Lindsay, the real mayor, in office 1966-1973. Hamilton promises to remind the public of Nat’s exploits with the Avengers and SHIELD; shouldn’t the latter (at least) be secret? And why didn’t the bad guys tie up Natasha while she was unconscious? So we could have a fight scene that occupies half of her allotted space!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Adventures #3 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The Mandarin watches via an elaborate viewing device as the Inhumans (Black Bolt, Medusa, Triton, Karnak, Gorgon) come upon the villain’s digging party in the mountains near the Great Refuge. The heroes unleash their odd powers and scare off the Mandarin’s men; examining the area reveals their purpose in digging, an underground structure of some kind. Mandarin arrives and has his men hurl a gas grenade; Medusa snatches it out of the air with her hair so that she is the only one affected. The villain orders his men to shoot the Inhumans but the heroes fight back—and Mandarin takes them down one by one with the powers of his mystical rings. He hurls Gorgon through the air, stuns Karnak, freezes Triton, but when he faces Black Bolt, the Inhumans leader uses his mental abilities to turn the ground under the Mandarin to quicksand which quickly swallows him up. (But we learn that the Mandarin was merely a robot double and Mandy’s scheme was to trick the Inhumans into opening the temple for him.) Recovering from their injuries, the Inhumans open the underground vault and discover an ancient temple. They find the idol of Yin and as they watch, its closed eye opens….

“The Widow and the Militants!” 4/5
Writer: Gary Friedrich. Pencils: Gene Colan. Inks: Bill Everett. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.

Synopsis: The Daily Bugle runs a lead article about how the Black Widow is allied with the militant Young Warriors. J. Jonah Jameson crows about his scoop, the first to condemn the new superhero. Peter Parker stops by to sell some Spider-Man photos but JJJ tosses him out as he is only interested in pix of the Black Widow now….

At the offices of the rival New York Press, Natasha expresses her concerns about the Bugle article, making it look like she hates America. Columnist Paul Hamilton assures her that he will remind the public of her heroic exploits with the Avengers and SHIELD to prove her patriotism. She has her chauffeur Ivan Petrovich take her home; she changes into her jump-suit on the way. Entering her building she is grabbed from behind and chloroformed….

At the “new” offices of the Young Warriors, the group affirms their right to do what is good for their people and so they will refuse to obey the order to vacate and fight for their Constitutional rights….

Nat wakes up in her bed and sees a masked crime boss who calls himself “The Don,” accompanied by some hoods. He explains his plan to keep her tied up until the police have arrested all of the Young Warriors and the Don can spread the word that they were inspired by the Communist insurgent Black Widow. She puts up a fight for four pages against the baddies but is ultimately thumped on the head. She is tied up and a couple of hoods are left to watch her….

The Mayor of New York goes on TV to address the issue, inviting the Young Warriors to a peaceful discussion of the issues. If they refuse, however, the mayor will have them evicted by the police. Paul Hamilton trusts Natasha to talk sense into the youth. Carlos and the Warriors are committed to resistance, trusting Black Widow to support them. And the Black Widow….

Jack Kirby
Chic Stone
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
John Verpoorten (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ivan Petrovich
Ivan Petrovich

(Ivan Petrovich Bezukhov)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

(Peter Parker)

> Amazing Adventures: Book info and issue index

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