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Amazing Adventures #6: Review

May 1971
Roy Thomas, Neal Adams

Story Name:

Hell on Earth!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Adventures #6 Review by (February 27, 2024)

Review: Things get dicey for our heroes as Black Bolt nukes the docks with a single vowel and the rest of the Inhumans are sparring with Maximus who, having gained a superpower, now actually poses a threat. Roy Thomas provides a cool plot and Neal Adams shows us why he is ideal for Batman by creating a dark and gritty look that isn’t too grim. Strangest moment: The narrator refers to World War 2 as the one “small-minded people still refer to as ‘the Big One.’” I have no idea what he is saying here as that was the big one; is he including comic book conflicts in his calculations?

The Black Widow tale gets off to a shaky start: what is going on? Where are they? Why are the cops trying to capture Black Widow? It sorts itself out with minimal thought: Natasha must have called the cops to warn them of the Astrologer’s sinister plot. But something feels off for the next several pages. Anyway, the rest of the story is just a heist plot; the real point of interest is Natasha’s character. She is genuinely afraid of causing death. It began with her husband and included the two men last issue. Yeah, that’s not really a huge hitlist to freak out over but enough to hang a plot point onto. Later Natasha never sems to have much characterization beyond “cool professional spy” so giving her something to brood about is a nice change of pace. Don’t know how long it takes her to get over it but it's nice for now. Sadly, the art by Don Heck and Sal Buscema makes her look like a silly cartoon character, made the worse by comparison with Gene Colan’s work last time. But it won’t be much longer….

Comments: Inhumans story: Part two of seven parts. First (brief) appearance of Lionel Dibbs, unnamed. Black Bolt continues without his mask. Maximus seems to be familiar with Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” an 18th century poem. 

Black Widow story: Part two of three parts. Natasha refers to Red Guardian. Ivan Petrovich now speaks in pop culture references from the 1930s and 40s, referring to jazz drummer Gene Krupa, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s dummy Mortimer Snerd, and gangster film LITTLE CAESAR (1931) in the same panel; later he uses the WW2 motto of the US Army Air Corps, “Keep ‘em flying.” In a rare moment, a comic book cites a source for a news story, a possible blood substitute was written up in NEWSWEEK November 2, 1970. Letterer Jean Simek credited as Jean Izzo.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Adventures #6 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Karnak and Gorgon have released Maximus the Mad from his metal and glass prison and learned why they should not have. Max unleashes his newfound ability of mind control to cause their attacks on him to fail and then he has Gorgon beat up Karnak. Having tricked Karnak into ringing the Gong of Sovereignty, Max waits for the populace to arrive so he can proclaim himself king. Then Medusa shows up….

In San Francisco, Roscoe awakens and discovers Black Bolt’s discarded suit; he soon comes upon Joey and the now amnesiac BB at the docks. As he watches, Joey asks his rescuer to say a few words. Black Bolt mutters, “I…” and a huge ship is blown to bits, kicking up a tidal wave that overwhelms the docks. Joey hustles his pal away before the authorities arrive….

While Gorgon is beating Karnak, Medusa seizes Max with her hair—and Max promptly causes it all to hang limp. He reveals that for now he can only affect one person at a time. The three Inhumans start to form a plan but then the populace arrives, hailing Maximus as their king. Max commands them to kill the three Inhumans but Triton swoops down on a royal sky-sled and rescues his cousins and zooms out of there, with Gorgon hanging onto the bottom. They fly over the Himalayas and approach a beach but Gorgon’s position throws their weight off and they crash into a bluff and land, unconscious, on the sand amid the wreckage of the sky-sled….

At the docks, Joey and Black Bolt are hiding from the police when a man with a strange gun for a right hand grabs the boy….         

“Blood Will Tell!” 4/5
Writer: Roy Thomas. Pencils: Don Heck. Inks: Sal Buscema. Colors: ? Letters: Jean Simek.

Synopsis: Black Widow walks along a late night New York street and is approached from behind by a sinister figure; she grabs the man and hurls him over her shoulder. Ivan Petrovich comes to her side and suddenly a large number of police officers also arrive. Her “assailant” was a police detective; explanations are made though the cops don’t appear to have any great affection for Natasha, despite her being the one who called them. They are busy guarding the hospital with the city’s main supply of O-negative blood from the Astrologer’s threat to steal it and hold it for ransom….

Meanwhile, the Astrologer and his youthful minions hijack an ambulance and enter the hospital by passing the Astrologer off as an elderly patient. Natasha and Ivan Petrovich see this and are suspicious: why does one patient need so many attendants? Nat wants to investigate and Ivan has conveniently brought along a case with her jumpsuit; she dashes off into a storeroom to change while brooding over whether she is cursed to bring death to those around her, like the young man in the previous issue….

But the baddies have adjusted their plans: instead of stealing the blood, they kidnap Dr. Lichenstein, a scientist working on a blood substitute. Black Widow and Ivan Petrovich come to his rescue and fight the Astrologer’s thugs. Ivan is thumped on the head and Natasha is grabbed by the Astrologer who presses a chemical-impregnated cloth to her face, knocking her out and he hurls her through the window. The cool air revives her and she catches onto a flagpole and swings herself up to the roof. There, the baddies have seized the hospital’s helicopter and taken off, leaving a smoke bomb booby trap for the pursuing police. As Natasha arrives, she sees one of the gang is hanging onto the outside of the copter. She aims her gauntlet at the man but her fear that shooting her line to nab him will cause him to fall to his death in the street makes her deliberately miss. The police captain rebukes her for this and she flees. As Ivan drives her away, she broods about her decision….

Characters: Black Widow, Ivan Petrovich

Neal Adams
John Verpoorten
Neal Adams
Neal Adams (Cover Penciler)
Neal Adams (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


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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