‘Tis the month after Christmas and things are now looking up in the world. Somehow, the Yule-tide spirit has carried over into the New Year. People are smiling “hullo” in the streets and all of a sudden, New York has become a beautiful city once more. Of course, for some, peace does have its draw-backs…
Swinging over the snow-covered streets of New York, Spider-Man thinks to himself ho-hum. Another slow, boring patrol bites the dust. He might as well go home and crack the text books. The way the crime rates been dropping lately, he’s just wasting his time. Just then, Spidey sees four men running on a rooftop and thinks to himself that it looks like he spoke too soon. Those guys could be “honest” citizens out for an evening’s stroll but somehow, he doesn’t think so.
When a man exits the roof-top door and yells out to the thieves to stop, one of the burglars shoots a pistol and says to his partner, Ernie, that he had said the old man was out cold. Joe begins to apologize to Ernie but is told to tell it t’ the boss while he puts the jeweler on ice permanently. Swinging in, Spidey kicks Ernie in the head. As he does, he tells him if anyone’s getting put on ice, it’s him. Say, for a ten-to-twenty stretch in Attica. Don’t fret though; he’ll have his pals there to keep him company.
Swinging over towards the jeweler, he grabs him and takes him to safety. The jeweler asks wha? He’s Spider-Man. Spidey quips “really, I hadn’t noticed.” Placing him in safety, Spidey tells him stay there ‘til the fight’s over. It shouldn’t take long, then call the police. As Spidey heads back to the burglars, the jeweler calls out to him that he doesn’t understand. He’s helping him b-but the Daily Bugle says he’s a menace.
Two of the remaining burglars notice that the wall-crawler’s comin’ back. They have to cut loose, they’ve been there too long already. Kicking the two shooters in the face simultaneously, Spidey tells them that’s been tried before, bunkies, by better men than them. Notice how well they succeeded? When the fourth man makes a run for it, Spidey yells out to him no he doesn’t. This was a nice peaceful year until they came along and brother, they’re going to pay for messing it up. With that, Spidey slams the burglars face into the ground. Pulling him up, Spidey tells the burglar to make with some answers before he really gets rough. Who sent him? Spidey then realizes that it’s no good, he hit the man too hard, he’s unconscious. He guesses New York’s finest’ll have to puzzle this one out on their own.
At that moment, Spider-Man’s spider sense begins to tingle like mad. There’s someone behind him! When the person behind him swings at him with an energy sword, he tells Spidey he’s incredible. His approach was as silent as death itself, yet still he heard him. For all the good it did him. Dodging the attacks, Spidey notices that his attacker is hitting him with a sheathed sword and more than that, some kind of energy field. With his attacker’s last backhand, Spidey is knocked off the roof. Before he falls to the ground, he grabs the window ledge. When he does so, he remarks that all he needs is a minute to pull himself together and then he’ll…
Grabbing his arm, Spidey’s attacker tells him “you don’t have that minute American.” In fact, he has no time left at all. With that, his attacker slams Spidey up against a wall. In a heap on the ground, Spidey thinks to himself that the impact felt like it pulverized every bone in his body. He hit him too fast, too hard. He’s blacking out… Heck, he doesn’t even know who… he… issss….
Standing over him, his attacker asks so this is the celebrated Spider-Man. Ha, he’s faced deadlier opponents in the training arenas of his youth. But he fought with courage, he’ll give him that. It’s a pity that courage means nothing against the martial arts skill and the raw power of the Silver Samurai! Were these more honorable times, his courage would have earned him his life but those times are long dead. And because none must know of his presence in this city, he must die as well.
On that note, we cut back in time a few minutes and shift our scene downtown to a certain east-side barber shop. And a certain woman, who pushes the door open the weather-beaten door as if she’s expected. Entering the room, the woman calls out to Roscoe and asks him how life has been treating him. When she gets no response, she calls out Roscoe and Angela’s name. A quick thorough search gives the woman her answer: the shop is deserted. Taking a seat in a barber-shop chair, she discovers there is still hot lather in the shaving bowls and the electric clippers are running. Whatever’s happened there must have happened just minutes ago. She’d better get below and see if she can help.
As the chair lowers, she remarks that it’s a good thing Nick Fury gave her the elevator chair’s manual override control sequence. Otherwise, she’d be stuck up on ground level, no use to anyone. Once in the secret room below, the woman asks what’s going on there but finds the reception area as empty as the barber-shop. Removing her coat and hat, she states that means the Black Widow’s help is needed more than ever. Because these disappearances can only be the result of enemy action. If so, then it was a strange sort of attack, one that occurred so quickly, so completely that nobody had time to resist. It’s eerie, almost frightening how vast and silent the headquarters is when you’re alone. And the Widow is alone, as her search of the complex soon tells her. Here, too, there’s hot food, half smoked cigarettes on mess tables and computer consoles. Those same consoles registering situation normal/condition greet. It’s as if everyone disappeared suddenly, only an instant before the Widow arrived.
Composing herself, Widow mentions that it’s the Marie Celeste mystery all over again. Only this time it’s the middle of Manhattan instead of the mid-Atlantic. She’s got to get hold of Fury, assuming he wasn’t there when it happened. She’d better do it in person too. The communications system may be bugged. Making her way over towards a nearby aircar, Widow remarks that it was Fury’s call that brought her back to New York in the first place. He wouldn’t go into details, but now that she thinks of it, she’d swear he sounded scared. Who knows, maybe this will turn into no more than an elaborate April Fools’ joke done two months early. Sure it will, and Natasha Alianovna Romanoff will turn into Tsarina of all the Russians.
Just then, across town, Widow sees a flash, an energy flare close by that’s too close to ignore. It may have something to do with this S.H.I.E.L.D. nightmare. The Champions’ aircar will have her there in just a few seconds. But in those seconds, Widow, a sentence of death can be pronounced the executioner in the act of carrying it out.
Reaching the location of the flash of energy, Widow recognizes the man with the sword as the Silver Samurai and he’s about to murder Spider-Man. Her reaction is instinctive, and as deadly as her namesake. She firewalls the throttle and lets the aircar do the rest, crashing into Samurai. When she does, she recognizes that the Samurai’s armor absorbed most of the impact. He’s just stunned and once he recovers, his energy sword can cut the car to pieces. As long as she stays airborne, she’s at his mercy. So the sooner she takes this fight down to the ground, the better. And this building site looks made to order. With any luck, no innocent bystander should get hurt.
Once on the ground, Widow faces off against Silver Samurai. Noticing her, Samurai mentions that she is Daredevil’s lover, the woman Mandrill snared in his hypnotic spell and made his slave. Widow tells him that’s right, only she’s his own woman now, nobody’s lover, nobody’s slave. Can he say the same? Or is he still Mandrill’s errand boy? Samurai tells her “silence witch.” He served Mandrill in payment of an ancient debt. Leaping at him and landing with a kick, Widow asks Samurai that he’s now paid up? She doesn’t believe it. Widow then demands to know where he is, where Mandrill is. Elbowing her in the back of the head, Samurai tells her that even if he knew, he would not tell her.
Leaping away, Natasha calls herself a fool. She let her anger make her careless. She has to remember her training. He may have the edge in size and raw power but she has her speed, her skill. She also has her widow’s bite. It’s not quite in the same league as an energy sword, she’ll admit but it’ll have to do. Unleashing her blast, and discovering that it’s had no effect, Widow realizes that she was wrong, looks like they won’t do. Preparing to strike, Samurai tells Widow that resistance is futile. He defeated Daredevil, killing her will be no trouble at all.
Just then, Spider-Man swings into the action and barrels Samurai over. As he does, he asks if this is a private party or can anyone join in. Collecting himself, Samurai curses Spider-Man under his breath. He thought he’d stay unconscious longer than this. He would dearly love to battle them, and slay them both. But he dares not jeopardize his mission; he has the prize he sought. If he can make them divide their attention, he can defeat them one at a time. One stroke of his sword should give him the diversion he needs to accomplish that. At that moment, Widow points out to Spider-Man that Samurai is cutting through the building’s main utility core. Spidey tells her to tell him about it and then tell him how they stop him.
One stroke, that’s all it takes. Slicing through concrete, steel, power cables, support beams, tearing at the basic structure of the building, the shock setting the fifty-story tower vibrating like a tuned fork. On ground level, this isn’t so bad but on the upper floors… On one of the upper floors, a worker loses his balance and begins to fall over the edge. When he does, Black Widow points him out to Spider-Man. Rushing up the side of the building, Spidey tells Widow that she’ll take care of him. She just needs to keep the bargain basement Belushi hangin’ around ‘til he gets back.
Continuing to make his way up the building, Spidey thinks to himself that if only rescuing the guy was as easy as he made it sound. He’ll be near terminal velocity when he reaches him. He tries to grab him and he’ll tear him off the side of the building. He’ll only have one chance to save him. First things first – he needs something to anchor himself to, namely this vertical girder. And now he goes for the jack-pot. The speed he’s falling, if he snags him with his web wrong, his neck‘ll snap like a dry twig, like Gwendy’s neck snapped. He then tells himself to cut it out. He starts thinking like that and the man’s dead for sure. Nice and easy, no jerks, just a smooth pendulum swing. When he reaches the top of the arc, a gentle tug’ll drop him right into his arms. Trouble is, he can’t hold onto him and the building which is his cue to break and enter, Spidey-style.
After saving the man, the man tells Spider-Man to wait a minute. Where does he think he’s going? Spidey tells him down, as fast as he can. ‘Cause the Black Widow’s still dancing a tango with the clown who took a slice outta his building. The man pleads with Spidey to listen to him, that’s just the point. Those four core pylons are all that holds the tower up. If one of them’s been cut through, the entire building could pitch over. Once a shudder occurs, the man informs Spidey that the collapse has already begun. Grabbing hold of the man, Spidey tells him he gets the message and to hold on tight, they’ll be down in a minute. Though what they’re gonna do once they get there is anybody’s guess. Looking over at Black Widow battling the Silver Samurai, he notices that she’s holding her own. The man tells him to forget about him, the building.
As she battles the Samurai, Widow sees Spidey swinging by and thinks to herself that it’s about time. The Samurai’s sword’s been coming a bit too close for comfort. Seeing Spidey run off with the man towards the building, the Widow exclaims no. She doesn’t believe it. Spider-Man’s running away, leaving her to fight the Samurai alone.
Reaching the damaged base of the building, the man informs Spidey that the damage is worse than he imagined. They’ve got to evacuate the area. There’s no way they can prevent total collapse. Spidey asks the man if he minds if he tries. When he lifts up a steel beam, the man mentions it weighs tons, but… Spidey replies that he knows and proceeds to wedge it in under the base floor, right against the weakened pylon. That oughtta brace it. When it starts to bend, the man remarks that he knew it. One girder can’t take that incredible strain.
Spidey asks that he wants more? Lifting up another beam and placing it up against the wall, Spidey says that he guesses there’s no time to call Iron Man but he doesn’t think he can keep this up. How many more does he need? The man informs him that he estimates thirty, thirty-five to be safe. But he needs to hurry, the tower could fall any minute. Securing the beams with his webbing, Spidey asks thirty? His back’s killing him already. His arms… But he’s got to keep going. If fifty-some stories of building falls over there in mid-town…
Just then, his spider-sense begins to tingle and he turns around at the last moment to see Samurai attacking him. He begins to wonder what the heck he does now. If he wastes time with him, there could be a disaster. Slicing Spidey’s webbing with his sword, Samurai calls him a fool and adds that his webbing is useless against the power of his sword.
Just then, Black Widow flies in and kicks the Silver Samurai away from Spider-Man. When she does, Spidey tells her that he was worried for a minute he had killed her. Widow replies that she just had to catch her breath. She’s back and she realizes what he’s trying to do so go do it. She’ll hold the Samurai off till he’s done. Hurry!
And so it begins, Spidey swinging the huge “I” beam girders off their storage pile, then wedging them against the crippled core pylon and lashing them tight with his webbing. First one girder, then two… ten, then twenty. Then the numbers blur and his super-human effort becomes a never ending nightmare. Lifting up another beam, Spidey states that his webbing is running low. He’s already used most of his spare cartridges. The strain is incredible but he can’t give up now, he won’t.
Meanwhile, on the far side of the site, Widow continues to doge Samurai’s sword. Samurai mentions to her that she’s tiring and their battle is all but finished. Widow thinks to herself that it’s not far from the truth. He’s got her on the defensive, pushing her hard and Spider-Man’s still working on the building. At that moment, Widow’s random thought distracts her for only a moment and the Samurai strikes. Backing up, Widow notices that the energy backlash from his sword jangled her nervous system like electrocution. And now he’s backed her into a corner. She has to clear her head, she feels so woozy.
On the other side of the site, Spider-Man places the last beam in place and the building is safe. Upon learning that he’s finished, Spidey tells the man that he better split fast. The Samurai’s still loose. Witnessing Samurai take another swipe at Widow and hearing him say one more stroke will finish her. Prepare to die! Spidey remarks not if your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has anything to say about it…
Attempting to use his webbing, Spidey discovers that he’s out of fluid. Realizing he has to do something, Spidey picks up a steel rod and tosses it at Samurai, knocking him away from the Widow. Spidey then calls out to Widow there’s her chance, get out of there. However, when she attempts to do so, Samurai backhands her and knocks her to the ground. Turning his attention to Spidey, Samurai tells him it’s his turn.
Facing him, Spidey thinks to himself that the Silver Samurai is more than a match for any super-hero, especially one who’s dead on his feet from fatigue. Spidey proceeds to tell Samurai that he’s got news for him. If he’s dead, then he’s one heckuva lively corpse. Dodging the Samurai’s sword swipes, Spidey asks Samurai what’s wrong. Can’t he hit a moving target? He means, he’s only using his spider-speed… While he does, Spidey thinks to himself that it’s killing him but if he can get in one good shot. Punching Samurai across the face, Spidey asks him if belting women from behind is the best he can do. Punching Samurai herself, Widow tells Spidey her turn; an opportunity to pay back the Samurai back for a debt that’s long overdue. Spidey tells her nice shot and if this clown had any sense, he’d be out cold by now. But since he’s still on his feet, and he’s a guy who hates loose ends, the pleasure’s all his. With that, Spidey knocks Samurai out cold with a thunderous blow.
With the Samurai down, Spidey tells Widow that he thinks they won. Widow replies by a knock-out. But she wonders what this was all about. Why was he trying to kill him? Spidey tells her that he and some goons ripped off an antique store over on Madison. Reaching into Samurai’s belt, Spidey is surprised when he pulls out a clay statuette. Turning to Widow, he asks her if she gets the feeling they’ve all been had. Widow tells him she doesn’t know. She wonders if they ever will.