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Amazing Adventures #5: Review

Mar 1971
Roy Thomas, Neal Adams

Story Name:

His Brother’s Keeper!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Adventures #5 Review by (February 20, 2024)

Review: With the Inhumans, Jack Kirby passes the creative reins to Roy Thomas and Neal Adams and from one angle that’s a shame: Kirby had a unique gift for creating wacky and entertaining tales as in the first four issues of this series. But on the other hand, all is good as Thomas is an accomplished storyteller whose output is a bit more grounded in reality and Adams matches him for a grittier, more realistic art style. Together they have produced a solid, exciting tale of these offbeat superheroes. It’s not as wacky as a Jack Kirby effort but it doesn’t have to be—and it ends on a very effective cliffhanger.

Black Widow has her best tale in this short-lived series with a poignant story and some actual characterization for Natasha, which carries over into the following issues. Ivan brings home a young man who has come to the end of his line, seeking death. Why? Did Ivan know Natasha was willing to help someone like this? Because she showed an interest in such people, young, rootless, and swept up in forces beyond their control and ready to exploit them. And so Nat takes in this young man, willing to fight to protect him then being shaken by his willingness to die for her, the only person in New York City who was nice to him. Her world is upended and this mood will last through the end of her series in three issues. An ideal tale, richly delineated by the gritty pencils of Gene Colan. 

Comments: Inhumans story: Part one of seven parts. Title is a reference to the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible, Genesis chapter 4. First appearance of Joey and his uncle Roscoe. Story affords a rare appearance of Black Bolt without his mask. Kudos to Roy T for finding a way to work a fish man into a story set mostly in a mountainous area; kudos to Jack Kirby who co-created the fish man who lives in a mountainous area and apparently never gave it a thought. And it wouldn’t be night in both San Francisco and Attilan (in Tibet) at the same time.

Black Widow story: Part one of three parts. Title is the final line in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” the Christmas classic by Clement Clarke Moore. Black Widow is said to have almost no accent, thanks to Berlitz, the language training company. Ivan Petrovich speaks largely in gangster idioms from the 1930s and 40s, a habit which would vanish eventually. First appearance of the Astrologer though only in flashback.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Adventures #5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Black Bolt takes off from the Great Refuge, leaving behind his brother Maximus the Mad, unconscious and sealed in a capsule of metal and glass. Medusa prevents Karnak and Gorgon from asking Black Bolt about it and they conclude that BB means to murder his villainous brother….

Black Bolt flies over the sea, not noticing the greeting of his cousin Triton, arriving in San Francisco at night. Near the docks he spies a boy named Joey who is being forced by his uncle Roscoe and Roscoe’s band of thieves, to break into a warehouse and unlock the door for them. Joey balks at the openly criminal act and Roscoe brutally punches the boy. Black Bolt flies into a rage and beats all the crooks into unconsciousness. To take the boy to a hospital, BB realizes he must not attract attention so he removes his costume and dons the clothes of one of the crooks….

In Attilan, Karnak and Gorgon encounter one another in the dark while creeping to investigate the metal and glass capsule with Maximus inside. Karnak deals it a mighty blow which fails to open the coffin; they try together and now the capsule opens and as Maximus awakens a burst of brain-wave energy emerges. It zaps around the world, hitting the disguised Black Bolt and knocking him down. Joey draws him into hiding in an alley. Max reveals to his two cousins that he has now developed a super-power: the ability to blank people’s minds. Black Bolt kept him in the sealed casket to protect mankind and now he is free; he also reveals that Black Bolt now suffers from amnesia, meaning he will not remember that he cannot speak without causing massive destruction. Even now, Joey is encouraging his rescuer to talk to him….

“…And to All a Good Night”  5/5
Writer: Roy Thomas. Pencils: Gene Colan. Inks: Bill Everett. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.

Synopsis: A young man is about to jump from a bridge when he is halted by Ivan Petrovich who shows him the Black Widow’s calling card. The young man is confused but Ivan bullies him into the car and locks the door, calling to tell Natasha that they are coming, while she is in the shower. As she dresses, Ivan brings the young man to Mammon Towers where a private elevator takes them to the 22nd floor—its only stop. Natasha introduces herself and persuades the young man to tell his story. He left Utah to come to the big city to start a new, exciting life. While sleeping on a park bench he was found by the Astrologer who had a “family” that robbed and stole based on the Astrologer’s forecasts and the young man eagerly joined them. Then the Astrologer outlined a plan to hijack all of the Type O-negative blood in the city and hold it for ransom; the young man balked and was beaten up by the Astrologer’s thugs. He fled and was planning suicide when Ivan Petrovich found him. There is a phone call and it’s the Astrologer’s gang announcing they are coming to kill the young man—and Natasha and Ivan….

The public elevator takes the bad guys only to the 21str floor and when they walk up the last flight, they are met by Ivan who leaps into battle. Other hoods climb down from the roof and Black Widow fights them on the terrace. Then she is hit in the head so to protect her, the young man throws himself at her attacker and both men go over the ledge to their deaths. A shattered Natasha calls the police to report the death of a young man whose name she didn’t know—but he was her friend….

Neal Adams
Tom Palmer
Neal Adams
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
John Verpoorten (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ivan Petrovich
Ivan Petrovich

(Ivan Petrovich Bezukhov)

(Maximus the Mad)

> Amazing Adventures: Book info and issue index

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