Synopsis for “Catch a Falling Hero”
It is 7 p.m. on a cool, clear weekday evening as the Silver Samurai, Boomerang, and their leader, the Viper, tune in the nightly television newscast with Walter Cronkite from SHIELD’s Heli-Carrier. All the SHIELD agents, including Clay Quartermain, who is at the carrier’s helm, are under the Viper’s hypnotic control. As the Viper listens to the newscast, which announces President Carter’s address to the nation later this evening before a joint session of Congress, she recalls the day long past when she and the Cobra, then members of the Serpent Squad, battled Nomad. When their building collapsed in flames, she plunged through the floor, and the Serpent Crown of Lemuria fell from her head. A falling brick knocked her out, and then the fires ignited a ruptured gas main and the house blew apart. She was protected by collapsing bricks and masonry that formed a cocoon around her while she was unconscious. Then she found a drainpipe, one of the Cobra’s secret exits, and entered a sewer that carried her beyond the police lines around the house. She emerged from a manhole and started to walk away, weakened and disarmed. Then a van pulled up alongside, whose driver introduced himself as Ishiro Tagara, a cadre leader with the Japanese Red Army, a group that occasionally worked with HYDRA. He remembered her from the time she was Madame Hydra, one of the organization’s powerful leaders. Together they drove unnoticed by Nomad and the police, and Tagara eventually brought her to his estate in Japan, where she spent several months recovering her health. She was surprised to discover that she had fallen in love with Tagara, and she also evolved a master plan to crush the United States. With America mortally wounded, she reasoned, the oppressed people of the world would rise in the ultimate revolution. The first step in her plan was to field test a hypno-beam, with which she compelled all the SHIELD agents in the underground New York offices to depart for one hour. At the same time, she sent the Silver Samurai, one of Tagara’s allies, to steal a crystal that would have made an ideal energy source for the teleportation unit that she wanted to construct. Unfortunately for her plan, Spider-Man and the Black Widow stopped the Samurai. Faced with this impasse, it required more time for her to create her teleport ring, but just as she was about to use it, the device was lost in the mail and misdelivered to none other than John Belushi of the Saturday Night Live television show. This time the Silver Samurai succeeded in retrieving it, and soon he and she teleported into the SHIELD Hell•Carrier’s sick-bay early one morning, when most of the SHIELD agents were off duty. They replaced the physician’s Videophone With a device modified to project a hypno•beam, and soon the physician was in their power. Then, every time a SHIELD crewman was summoned to sickbay, he or she was likewise hypnotized. Soon SHIELD’s seemingly impregnable headquarters was hers to command. As she concludes her reminiscence, and delights in knowing that America’s most trusted defensive system will soon be used to destroy the American government. At that moment, a thousand feet above the Heli•Carrier, Spider-Men and the Black Widow—who still believes she is a schoolteacher named Nancy Rushman—are silently descending on hang•gliders toward the giant SHIELD aircraft. They land carefully on its flight dick, avoiding the vortices from its giant engines. Suddenly Spider-Man’s splder•sense tingles, warning him of an approaching SHIELD squad. The troopers arrive, but when they turn on their flashlights, they see no one. Spider-Man and the Widow, clinging to the side of the Heli-Carrier, breathe a sigh of relief, then they make their way silently along the aircraft’s hull. Spider•Man is used to walking on walls and is quite confident, but the Widow abruptly flashes back to her Nancy Rushman identity and becomes petrified with fear. Spider-Man quickly catches her in his arms and reassures her, and suddenly they find themselves kissing each other, even though Spider•Man knows this is hardly the time or the place for this. Just then, Fury’s air•car approaches the Heli Carrier, as planned, Spider•Man takes the Widow’s hand and gently leads her toward their goal. Clay Quartermain, in the Heli•Carrier bridge, clears Fury for landing, the Silver Samurai asks the Viper why they don’t simply kill Fury and get it over with, but the Viper wants to avoid arousing outside suspicion. Better to wait until, he is in the Heli-Carrier before destroying him, she says. When he lands, a group of agents meets him. He orders them to stow his air-car, then deliberately turns his back on them and walks away. But when the agents raise their weapons to kill him, they are all rapidly knocked unconscious by the master martial artist, Shang-Chi, who was hiding in the air-car. Suddenly there is it powerful explosion. When the smoke clears, Fury lies unconscious, having taken the brunt of the blast and Shang-Chi is facing Boomerang. Boomerang contemptuously tells Shang-Chi that he defeated a martial artist named Iron Fist not long ago. (This is, of course, untrue.) He hurls a “razorang,” one of his weapons, but the martial•arts master shatters it with a wrist band. Then a “gasarang” explodes above Shang-Chi’s head in a cloud of nerve gas. Snang Chi holds his breath, but suddenly the floor under him starts to descend, taking him out of danger. This surprises Shang-Chi; as much as it does his opponent. Boomerang attacks, but Shang-Chi slams him in the abdomen. Boomerang retreats to hurl more of his weapons, which Shang-Chi dodges or shatters as he works his way toward his antagonist. Finally, a series of karate blows knocks Boomerang to the floor. With his last bit of strength, the criminal hurls an explosive boomerang that turns the elevator area into twisted scrap metal. Moments later Boomerang’s image appears on a monitor, and he informs the Viper and the Silver Samurai that Fury and Shang Chi have been taken care of—permanently. Spider-Man carries the Black Widow to a porthole that Fury told them about. They enter a storeroom not far from the command deck, but as they steal cautiously through the room. Spider-Man’s spider•sense starts to tingle. Suddenly the lights go on, and they come face to face with a fully armed squad of SHIELD agents led by Clay Quartermain and accompanied by the Viper and the Silver Samurai. The Widow recognizes the Viper from her nightmares and collapses to the floor with a scream. Spider-Man demands to know what the Viper did to her. The Viper replies that she asked the Widow questions that the Widow refused to answer. Then the Viper orders Quartermain to kill them. Just then Boomerang enters with Shang-Chi, whose hands appear to be tied behind his back. Boomerang asks whether the Viper might want to question Shang-Chi the way she did the Widow. Annoyed at this unwanted show of initiative, the Viper orders Boomerang to put his prisoner with the others and kill them all at once. But then “Boomerang” strips off his cowl and stands revealed as Nick Fury. Shang-Chi leaps into action and starts knocking out the SHIELD agents. The martial artist recalls how, after the explosion, Fury recovered, defeated Boomerang, and dressed in his costume. Shang-Chi then pretended to be his captive. Spider-Man, delighted with this turn of events, tells the Widow to stand aside while he helps Fury and Shang-Chi. But the Viper asserts that Fury has no chance against hundreds of SHIELD agents, and even if he does manage to survive, he will still be too late to save the President. Then she and the Silver Samurai head for the bridge. When Spider-Man goes after them, the Samurai draws his energy sword to do battle. Spider•Man dodges, but the blade strikes a glancing brow that is hard enough to hurl him across the room, out the porthole, and into the open air two miles above the ground.
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