Synopsis for “Magma Force!”
It is 8:35 on a summer morning as Spider-Man web-swings toward the Daily Bugle building. Suddenly his spider-sense tingles, and a strong earth tremor jolts the building he has landed on. A window washer on a building across the street is thrown from his scaffold, but Spider-Man saves his life by snagging his leg with webbing. This is the third temblor to hit New York in a week, muses Spider-Man as he continues on to his appointment with J. Jonah Jameson. A few minutes later, he lands on the roof of the Bugle building, sneaks into the photo lab, and changes into his street clothes. But when he enters Jameson’s office, the publisher berates him for being a half-hour late. The reporter is already on his way, and if Lance Bannon weren’t on another assignment, he continues, he would have sent him along instead of Peter. Then he tells Peter to get “over there” and bring back some usable pictures. Peter tries to find out where “over there” is, but Jameson just tells him to get going. Fortunately, Joe Robertson is outside the office, and he explains that Tony Stark has called a news conference this morning about the recent earthquakes. Peter thanks Joe and grabs a taxi to Long island. Soon Peter is part of a crowd of newspeople inside a huge building, where Stark describes his “long range sonic strata scanner.” This is an enormous machine that can pinpoint the source of any earthquake in the entire western hemisphere. All of a sudden the plant is rocked by a powerful tremor that threatens to tear the sonic scanner off its fixtures. Stark runs to change into his Iron Man costume, and Peter finds a men’s room in which to change into Spider-Man. As the reporters rush around in panic, the scanner works loose and starts to collapse. Fortunately, Spider-Man and Iron Man both arrive just then. Spider-Man holds the machine up with his webbing while Iron Man shatters falling fragments with his repulsor rays, and then, as the quake ceases, Iron Man shoves it against the wall where his work crews can quickly reattach its holding brackets. As Iron Man thanks Spider-Man for his help, a scientist runs up with some readouts. Before the scanner broke loose, he says, it indicated that the origin of the tremor was two miles south and a half-mile underground. Iron Man asks Spider-Man whether he is interested in helping investigate, and when Spider-Man says yes, they head for a lower-level lab complex. There they enter a “turbo-bore,” a small but powerful vehicle designed by Stark international for the United States Geologic Survey to search for mineral deposits. The device has not yet been thoroughly tested, says Iron Man, but this is as good a time as any for a dry run. He hits the ignition plate, and the conical drill at the front of the vehicle begins to spin. Then a wall panel slides open, and the turbo-bore begins to drill into the bedrock beneath the factory. Soon the bore breaks into a large, artificially illuminated cavern, where they find the ground covered with tread marks, signs that someone was recently there. Cautiously following the marks, they soon find a huge grotto containing several enormous drilling and excavating machines. Then Spider-Man’s spider-sense tingles, and a group of costumed men armed with ray blasters attack. Spider-Man dodges their weapons and starts to knock them out, and he sticks some of them to the ground with web fluid. Iron Man blasts others with his repulsor rays, wondering what else such well-equipped thugs might have “up their sleeves.” Seconds later he finds out, when the men release clouds of sleep gas. Iron Man seals up his armor and activates his internal oxygen supply, but Spider-Man has no such protection and soon he falls down, unconscious. Then Iron Man is hit in the back by a powerful stream of lava and joins Spider-Man on the ground. Holding his lava shooter, the leader of the gang, a costumed figure named Magma, orders the men to place Iron Man and Spider-Man into the “shatter center.” The two crimefighters are taken to a vast electronic nerve center carved into the rock at the far end of the grotto and imprisoned in special devices. An electromagnetic field holds Iron Man motionless while Spider-Man is chained inside a more powerful mining machine. Gloating, Magma recalls how he was once a mining engineer named Jonathan Darque, running his own company. But the public “misunderstood” what he was doing for them, and they picketed his factories because of the ecological damage his operations were doing. Then one day one who meant more to him than all of his enterprises put together, was killed in an automobile accident as she swerved to avoid picketers at one of his sites. Shortly afterward, a class action suit was filed against his company, and he was permanently forced out of business. So he decided to avenge himself against the society that destroyed his wife and his corporation. He created his special costume to increase his strength and he built his armory of weapons. As he concludes his reminiscence, he demonstrates the versatile gun with which he felled Iron Man. After making a small adjustment, he shoots not a stream of lava but a volley of solid rocks faster than the speed of sound through a two-foot-thick block of titanium. Continuing to gloat, he says that he knows how to activate and release “dormant tensions within the earth itself,” to create powerful earthquakes. Mount St. Helens was one of his experiments, he says, and now he intends to obliterate New York unless the city pays him 100 million. Iron Man, who has heard his speech, calls him crazy, because the city simply cannot raise that kind of money. As Magma enters one of his vehicles and drives away, he replies with relish that he knows this. Once Magma is gone, Iron Man asks Spider-Man whether he can break his chains, but he is too groggy from the gas to answer. Then Iron Man spots the circuit board that controls their traps. Although he cannot raise his hands to use his repulsor rays, he manages to angle his boot jets so that their exhaust shatters the board. This turns off the electromagnetic field that holds him, but as he steps out of the trap, he is attacked by Magma’s men. As he battles them, the transparent cylinder filled with the knockout gas.
Ignoring them, he continued to build larger and gas in Spider-Man’s cylinder slowly dissipates and Spider-Man revives. As soon as his strength returns, Spider-Man breaks his chains, smashes the cylinder, and joins his armored partner. Together they make short work of the gang, and then they agree to split up. While Iron Man follows Magma’s still-molten trail up to the surface, Spider-Man web-swings through the subterranean complex to find Magma’s earthquake generator. Meanwhile, Magma addresses a crowd of New Yorkers from the steps of the city hall. Disregard his demands, he declares, and they will all die. But the mayor replies that the city has never given in to terrorists before, and it shall not do so now. Then Iron Man bursts up from the street in front of them. Magma blasts him with lava, but the crimefighter dodges and hits Magma with repulsor rays. But Magma’s armored costume deflects the rays, and then he slams Iron Man with his power glove and a specially designed miner’s ax. Spider-Man, meanwhile, battles more of Magma’s men, but eventually he reaches the Quake Command Center, which is a large room furnished with control devices and a viewscreen. Spider-Man prepares to wreck the place, but his spider-sense signals danger, and he realizes that Magma has rigged the machinery with booby traps. As Spider-Man ponders what to do next, Magma continues fighting Iron Man and blasts him with “geothermal energy” from a weapon on his forehead. Iron Man counters with his chest-mounted deflector beam, so Magma activates his tremor inducer’s hand-held control unit. Suddenly the machines in the underground Quake Command Center turn on, and on the viewscreen Spider•Man watches•a powerful tremor head directly toward New York. As the city starts to shake, Spider-Man desperately punches buttons on the tremor inducer. Gloating triumphantly, Magma enters his vehicle and rises into the air, but then he notices that the tremor is weakening. Much to Magma’s chagrin, Spider-Man succeeds in diverting the quake to a secondary fault line that carries it Out to sea. There it creates a volcanic eruption, but New York itself is saved. Magma vengefully declares that Iron Man will not take him alive, and he steers his flier directly into, the eruption and vanishes, apparently destroyed. Later, New York’s mayor thanks both Iron Man and Spider-Man for ending Magma’s menace.
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