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1st Story: Tom DeFalco (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Don Heck (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Marc Siry (colorist)
2nd Story: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Dave Cockrum (penciler), Kim DeMulder (inker), Janice Chiang (letterer), Andy Yanchus (colorist)
Sara Tuchinsky (assistant editor), Gregory Wright (managing editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Hawkeye has received a tip off for an illegal arms deal, and followed the tip to a warehouse, where he watches the arms deal take place. He is about to make a move to put an end to the criminal activities when the Sandman comes up behind him, revealing that it was he who gave Hawkeye the tip off. Sandman's employer, Silver Sable, has sent him to capture one of the big bosses who are due to arrive. The two uneasy allies watch as weapons are demonstrated, before a signal is fired out the warehouse window, to a chopper hovering over the pier. Shortly, one of the bosses arrives, and is greeted by Madame Menace, who is running the arms deal. Hawkeye is surprised when Sandman reveals that he is only being paid to capture Madame Menace, so Hawkeye fires some arrows into the warehouse to start and take down the various criminals. Sandman joins him, and the other boss is revealed to be Doctor Octopus. Hawkeye and Sandman do their best against the assortment of criminals and henchmen, plus the various weapons, while also trying to capture Madame Menace, and, in Hawkeye's case, Sandman. Unfortunately, Madame Menace is able to escape, and tells Doctor Octopus that she will contact him to arrange another time and venue for the exchange. Doctor Octopus agrees and is also making his break for it, but as he grabs onto the waiting helicopter, Hawkeye latches onto him. Doctor Octopus shakes Hawkeye, who falls to the pier below, where Sandman shifts his form into a large pile of sand for Hawkeye to safely land in. Sandman tells Hawkeye that he needs to ring Sable and take the blame for Madame Menace getting away, but Hawkeye reminds Sandman that he doesn't work for Sable. Sandman doesn't believe him, and they continue to argue for some time.
Namor is searching the oceans for the alien spawn of his slain wife Marrina when he comes across a family in peril as their decrepit boat capsizes. He pulls them from the ocean and carries them back to their island, where they live in a tiny shack. Namor feels sorry for them as they have no money and no food, so gives them some gold coins which he was going to use to repay his debts on the surface world. He leaves them, feeling pleased for helping them, when he comes to a deep trench, where he sees crates of gold shaped like pieces of a building. He is summoned aboard a submarine, and learns from a special presidential agent that the gold is actually a building that eas turned to gold in Manhattan, and it is being kept here so that the huge quantity og gold doesn't destroy the world's economy. The agent orders Namor to move on, but Namor returns to the trench as the submarine leaves to undergo some repairs. Namor doesn't care for problems of the surface world, he just wants to find his slain wife's brood – but what he discovers is another submarine bringing the gold out of the trench. Namor lets the submarine carry on, unaware that the criminal called Goldbug is inside the submarine and responsible for stealing this gold. Namor soon realizes that if the gold was brought into the economy, all people would be plunged into poverty that he helped the family escape. He acts by tearing the gold from the submarine, and it sinks back into the trench. Goldbug opens fire at Namor who dodges it, before becoming ensnared in tentacles, which he struggles to break free from, so uses them to spin the submarine around, damaging it. Goldbug retreats, deciding to come back for the gold another day. Namor is about to go after him, when the special presidential agent's submarine returns. Namor boards and explains what has happened, but the agent doesn't believe him. Namor leaves, warning the agent that the surface world will suffer, and he will not be around to witness it. The agent then wonders if perhaps they should move the gold somewhere else.
A waterfront warehouse in Los Angeles, where Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye hides on a beam connected to the ceiling, and looks down at an illegal arms deal taking place. He is impressed that the anonymous tip to Avengers Headquarters was real, and realizes that there is a lot of high-tech equipment here. Various mobsters, gang members and criminals are gathered below, and watch as one weapon's abilities are demonstrated.
Hawkeye raises his bow and decides that he could end these shenanigans fast and easy with a few gas arrows. He pulls the arrows back, ready to fire them, knowing that in a couple of seconds all the baddies will be sound asleep and he can call the cops for clean-up. 'I got this baby made in the -' Clint thinks to himself, when suddenly, someone appears behind him, wraps their arm around his neck and whispers 'Hiya, Hawkeye. Long time no see!'
Hawkeye glances back, and is surprised to see the Sandman. 'Sssh! In the flesh – so to speak. Glad ya got my tip. Now pipe down and I'll let ya know the score' the Sandman whispers as he releases Hawkeye, who removes the gas arrows from his bow. 'You're the guy who sent that message to Avengers Compound?' Hawkeye asks.
Sandman confirms that he did, adding that he isn't sure what the other Avengers think of him considering that he used to be on the other side of the law, so he figured he would call Hawkeye on the sly. Sandman explains that he was sent here by Silver Sable to bust up this little meeting, and he thought he would need some help, so that's why he rang. He adds that he knows that Hawkeye is secretly one of Sable's operatives, too. 'No way, chum! I'm an Avenger only! I don't work for Sable! We've done each other some favors – but that's all!' Hawkeye retorts. 'Yeah, yeah, that's what they all say' Sandman mutters. They turn their attention back down into the warehouse, and Hawkeye asks what is doing on down there. They watch one of the criminals demonstrate a weapon and Sandman points out that it looks like some kinda paste gun, like the kind his old buddy the Trapster used to use when they were in the Frightful Four. 'Those were the days' the Sandman remarks.
As a large hand is blasted upwards into the warehouse to demonstrate the weapon's capabilities, Sandman explains to Hawkeye that he didn't want him stopping this deal yet because a couple of big shots are supposed to show up – and they are who Sable really wants. 'I hope the floor show starts soon. I'm getting itchy' Hawkeye mutters, while, down below, a masked operative called Agent Five contacts Madam Menace and informs her that the time has come. 'Okay, boys. Send the signal out the window' another criminal remarks, adding that it is time for the big boss to show. A beam of light is shone out a window, alerting the occupants of a helicopter that hovers over the dock, where a large ship is moored. 'There it is, boss! I'll set down near the pier and you can take care'a business!' someone inside the chopper exclaims.
Moments later, two men in wide-brimmed hats and trenchcoats approach the warehouse, 'We checked this joint out from top to bottom, Chief. It's cleaner than a hound's tooth!' the taller of the two men exclaims, adding 'And man, wait'll ya see the gizmos they got for sale. Right outta Star Wars, this stuff!' the shorter man calls the tall man Wilts and tells him that he is thoroughly familiar with the high-tech merchandise. Entering the warehouse, they are greeted by a woman with shoulder-length hair and wearing a blue costume, who the short man calls Madame Menace. He holds up his briefcase and reports that he has the requisite funds for their transaction. 'Excellent' Madame Menace responds, before instructing her men to begin loading the armaments on the freighter.
'Looks like the gang's all here. When do we make our move?' Hawkeye asks. 'Uhhh, not until the buyer hits the road, 'cause Sable only wants the broad!' Sandman replies. Hawkeye looks unimpressed. 'You gotta be kidding me! Let one of them go with the weapons? Why?' he asks. Sandman shrugs his shoulders and tells Hawkeye that is what Sable said. He adds that is who she is paying him to nab – only the seller. 'Well, she's not paying me! I'm taking them both to the pokey, pal!' Hawkeye declares as he begins firing arrows down into the crowd of criminals below. 'Aww, now ya did it!' Sandman mutters as the criminals turn their attention to the railing and open fire, several bullets strike the Sandman, while Hawkeye drops down. Sandman grins as he shifts his form, leaping forward, his hands now large blocks, he declares that he was hoping to do this the easy way, 'But if yez wanna play – welcome to the sandbox!' he shouts, as his large block hands slam into the warehouse floor, knocking several operatives over with ease.
The shorter man in the trenchcoat thinks that the Sandman, an old enemy of the meddlesome Spider-Man has enlisted on the side of the law, threatening his enterprise, but it doesn't matter for him – 'Doctor Octopus will not be denied!' he booms, dropping his disguise as his robotic tentacles flail about the warehouse. Hawkeye drops down to the floor, knocking a gang member back, 'Swell, Doc Ock's the guy buying the weaons! The Avengers files have him listed as one of Spider-Man's most dangerous enemies!' Hawkeye thinks to himself, adding that Doc Ock has been known to have his mechanical claws in all sorts of criminal pies, so it is no wonder he is involved in this caper. Hawkeye also knows that Doc Ock is a criminal mastermind equipped with a set of artificial arms that can snap a steel girder like a twig. 'Nice moves, Doc – but I've got lots more arrows than you've got arms – so sooner or later – boom!' Hawkeye calls out to Doctor Octopus who grabs one of Hawkeye's arrows when he fires it towards him. As a tentacle lashes out towards Hawkeye, the Avenger realizes that Doc Ock must control them mentally, as their speed is unreal.
Nearby, Sandman finds himself under attack by a sonic disruptor. 'Even sand particles can be vibrated into atoms! More!' Madame Menace orders her henchmen, as Sandman struggles to break free from the sonic disruptor, until, suddenly, he shouts 'Lady, I may sound dumb, but I took a couple'a science courses in my day – and there ain't no way yer popguns can vibrate much'a anything on me I can't put back together, capeesh!' as he shifts his form into a wave, and drops down on the henchmen with the sonic disruptor, putting an end to their attack. He then forms a large hammer with his arm and uses it to destroy the weapon. 'Hey, Sandbag – how's about throwing some pailfulls of yourself my way – I could use the help, pal!' Hawkeye calls out, when suddenly, he leaps for safety as two of Doctor Octopus' tentacles slam down towards him. 'I toldja I'm just here for the broad! Yer gonna haveta fend fer yerself against Ockiepus!' Sandman responds.
Suddenly, a piercing sound fills the warehouse, as Madame Menace holds up a tuning fork weapon, causing Sandman to keel backwards and clutch his ears. Menace wonders if perhaps he learned in his “science classes” how tuning forks can produce vibrations of such pitch that the human ear is simply shattered after a time. 'If not, here is a little demonstration!' she exclaims. Hawkeye quickly turns off his special hearing aids, the noise is intense, but he puts up with it long enough to grab some arrows, and fires them at the tuning fork weapons that Madame Menace and two of her thugs are using. 'What? How could he have survived the sound?' Menace asks. 'Clean living does it every time, lady! That and a few centuries of charm school might do you some good, too!' Hawkeye jokes, while Sandman is covering his ears, most of his body reduced to a pile of sand on the floor. Hawkeye tells Sandman that a little teamwork is good for the soul, when Doctor Octopus suddenly grabs Hawkeye with his tentalces. 'Sandman, how about returning the favor before I get used for a wishbone!' Hawkeye calls out.
'There is nothing he can do to aid you, archer!' Doctor Octopus exclaims as he raises Hawkeye high up into the air. Sandman then lifts some sort of tank-like vehicle and tells Doctor Octopus that he is talking outta line there, as there is plenty he can do.
'Boss – lookit that!' Wilts exclaims to Doctor Octopus, before Sandman tells him that he has lotsa arms, so they should play catch, and he hurls the tank towards Doctor Octopus, who uses his tentacles to lift himself up into the air to avoid being crushed by the tank, but in the process is forced to release Hawkeye. 'The fool!' Doctor Octopus exclaims. Madame Menace tells Doctor Octopus that this operation has become untenable and that they must conclude their business at a more opportune time and locale. Doctor Octopus agrees and informs Madame Menace that he will contact her. Menace looks over as Sandman leaps towards her, so she activates her jetpack which levitates her to safety. 'Git yer tush back here, bimbo! I didn't come this far ta lose ya!' Sandman exclaims, while Menace presses a remote control device that aids in her escape, activating the large robotic hand that was being demonstrated earlier.
'Awww, nuts! What kinda rinky-dink piece'a junk am I gonna have ta squash now?' Sandman mutters as he sees the large hand blasting towards him, he boasts that will not stop him for more than two seconds. 'True, but those are all-important seconds allowing my departure!' Menace declares, and Sandman knows that she is right as the hand blasts through him, dispersing his form and reducing him to a pile of sand. At that moment, the helicopter flies above the dock and Doctor Octopus raises himself up towards the chopper using his tentacles, while holding his briefcase, he is pleased that he retrieved his money from this fiasco. Hawkeye sees Doctor Octopus making his getaway, and leaps onto one of the tentacles, 'Not so fast, Doctor!' Hawkeye calls out, while the villain feels something grab him from below – he then uses another tentacle to smack Hawkeye in the back, causing Hawkeye to fall from the other tentacle.
'And that that takes care'a one flying hand!' Sandman thinks to himself as he reforms his body, then notices Hawkeye above, falling towards him. 'Go limp, buddy! I gotcha!' Sandman calls out, forming a large pile of sand, which Hawkeye falls into. 'Thanks, big guy! It'll take a week to get the sand outta my boots... but better that than the planks outta my head!' Hawkeye jokes. Sandman lowers Hawkeye onto the pier and tells him to can the jokes. He points out that they blew this mission and wound up with nothing. 'It's all yer fault, Bow Brain! So you can explain this mess ta Sable!' Sandman declares. 'My fault? Why, you walking excuse for a beach! I oughtta lay you out! Rescue or no rescue!' Hawkeye retorts, while declaring, for the last time, that he does not work for Sable. 'Oh yeah...how dumb do I look?' Sandman asks 'You really wanna know?' Hawkeye replies. 'Shaddup!' Sandman exclaims.
'You work fer her, and yer telling her!' Sandman declares, to which Hawkeye tells Sandman that the only thing he would tell her is to hire guys who didn't flunk grammar school. 'Now read my lips... I don't work for her!' Hawkeye exclaims. 'I'm losing my patience! Ya do too!' Sandman retorts. 'Do not!' Hawkeye shouts. 'Do too!' Sandman tells him, which carries on for some time....
He cleaves through the deep blue waters of the Southern Atlantic faster than any fish that ever lived. He is on a mission of vengeance. Indeed his name means “Avenging Son”. He is Namor, a hybrid between air-breathing Homo Sapiens and water-breathing Homo Mermanus. He is the former prince of subsea Atlantis, the one true Sub-Mariner – and he does not look happy! Namor bursts up through the surface of the water and thinks that it is maddening – his quest for the brood of his dear departed wife, Marrina, is going badly. Namor knows that the sea covers three-fourths of the Earth's surface, and at their speed they could be anywhere by now. He laments the fact that he has yet to find a single clue as to their whereabouts in all these weeks of searching – and to top it off, he is uncertain what these creatures even look like! Namor recalls catching but a fleeting glimpse of them upon their hatching. Namor is reminded of his quest for the Atlantean people years ago, but at least then iut was hundreds of persons he pursued, not a mere half dozen.
Namor begins to fly across the ocean, knowing that he cannot – must not – give up, though he is not their biological father, he feels responsible for his wife's heirs. He knows that if Marrina transformed into a dragon of the sea, then so might her spawn. He hopes that traveling above water might aid him in his search, when suddenly, he hears something, as a woman shouts 'No! We are doomed!' as the small boat that she, an old man and a young boy are in capsizes and they topple into the water. 'And there is no one out here to save us!' the old man exclaims, while Namor flies towards them, knowing that he must act swiftly. He firstly picks the boat, which he calls a “decrepit craft” up out of the ocean and turns it upside down to drain the water from it, then he pulls each of them from the water and places them back in the boat. 'There. You are all safe now' Namor tells them. The old man thanks him, and addresses him as Sub-Mariner – the Scourge of the Sea! Namor replies that he has been called many things, and offers to take them back to shore. The woman tells the Sub-Mariner that their home is straight ahead, and as they arrive on a small island, Namor sets the boat down in front of a tiny shack. 'You mean – this?' Namor asks, thinking to himself that this place is a hovel hammered together from scraps of metal and wood.
The woman tells Namor that this is their home and that they are lucky to have it. She adds that they have no money and their family is gone except for her father and her son, Miguel. The woman explains that they were trying to catch some fish to feed themselves when the ocean rose up against them. She admits that they ventured out too far. 'Were it not for you, Senor Sub-Mariner...' her voice trails off. Namor realizes that absorbed as he is in his own matters, he forgets that there are people like these in the world, people who literally do not know where their next meal is coming from. He reaches for a small bag dangling from his belt and opens it, announcing that he had intended to use the contents of this pouch to pay off his various debts to the surface world. 'But your need of it is greater than mine' Namor points out, as he drops several gold coins into the shocked woman's hand. She hugs Namor and thanks him. 'You saved our lives, Senor...I would be honored if you would take this' Miguel smiles and hands Namor a wooden fish hanging from a rope. Namor puts it around his neck as the boy tells him it belonged to his father. Namor smiles and tells Miguel that he is honored, before bidding them farewell.
Borne aloft by the amazing wings on his ankles, Prince Namor returns to the sea, diving into the water, he thinks that the gold means nothing to him, as all the wealth beneath the sea is his for the taking. Namor is pleased that the gold brought such relief to Miguel and his family – a small measure of satisfaction can be derived from that, at least.
Some time later, Namor notices the great Puerto Rican Trench below him. It is seven miles deep, and Namor thinks that it is truly one of the wonders of the undersea world. He wonders if Marrina's brood settled here, and starts to swim down into the trench. Fifteen minutes later, near the bottom of the trench, 'By Neptune's trident! Decaying wooden crates full of...gold!' Namor thinks to himself, surprised to see that the gold is shaped like pieces of a building. 'How odd' he thinks. Suddenly, a blinding light is shone towards Namor, and a voice calls out 'Attention, intruder! You are in a restricted area!' and Namor sees an odd-looking ship floating above him. 'You are ordered to board this ship immediately!' a voice from within the ship commands. 'Ordered? Ordered?' Namor retorts. 'None order the true Sub-Mariner!' Namor booms as he swims towards the ship and slams his fist into it. 'My first blow but dented your hull, dolts! Do you need a stronger lesson?' Namor asks.
The voice inside the ship warns Namor to cease his attack, as this is a US government vessel. The voice once again orders Namor to come aboard at once. Namor decides that they might be able to explain the gold, and moments later, appears inside the ship. 'I have done as you have asked' Namor announces. A man dressed in black introduces himself as Charles Anderson, a special presidential agent, and asks Namor to explain his presence here. Namor responds by stating that he needs to explain himself to no one, and instructs the special presidential agent to explain the goold bricks to him. 'So you've seen them. Great' Anderson replies, before explaining that this area is off limits and that it is his job to keep folks away. Namor assures him that he has no interest in the gold, he is simply curious. Anderson decides that there is no point in keeping it secret from Namor now, and reveals to him that in the middle of the night a few months back an entire Midtown Manhattan office building suddenly turned to gold.
Anderson continues, explaining that after the building collapsed under its own weight, special government operatives dismantled it and dumped the pieces here before the existence of such a huge quantity of gold became known and destroyed the world's economy. Anderson declares that Namor was an Avenger, and that should mean he should care about the surface world. 'For everybody's sake – goo far away from here, forget what you've seen and don't ever comg back' Anderson suggests, adding that if he does, he will see to it that he and his avenging buddies get more heat than they know what to do with. 'I do not like your threatening tone, human!' Namor responds.
Namor leaves the submarine, which heads towards San Juan to have the damage done to it by Namor repaired, Namor swims off in the other direction, 'Bah! What care I of the surface economy? Orders or no orders, I will not leave this trench until I determine if Marrina's brood is here!' Namor thinks to himself. Suddenly, as he swims towards the trench, he sees something rising from the far corner – and is shocked that it is another submarine, this one stealing the gold, lifting it from the trench in a large net. Namor decides that this is the work of some surface-dwelling miscreant. 'I could intervene – but why? It is no affair of mine' Namor realizes, and starts to swim down into the trench.
Inside the sleek submarine: 'He... he's leaving?' a golden man exclaims, surprised. 'The Sub-Mariner saw me stealing the gold – and he's just leaving?' The man is called Goldbug and decides that is okay with him, as he doesn't mind not tangling with the Sub-Mariner. He adds that with his sub's cloaking devices to keep him from being detected electronically, it would be just his luck to run into a super hero. He watches Namor on a monitor and thinks that ever since he got radiation poisoning from handling radioactive gold, he has needed more and more money to pay for treatments. He smiles, remembering how that corrupt GI who helped dispose of the gold building told him of this stash in exchange for a piece of it, he could scarcely believe it – but here it is, wealth beyond imagining.
Nearby, Namor suddenly comes to a stop, deciding that the gold theft may indeed not concern him directly, but there is the matter of honor. Namor knows that if Anderson is right, that theft will wreak untold havoc in the world above – havoc that will affect his erstwhile allies, the Avengers. Namor looks at the necklace of the wooden fish hanging around his neck, it reminds him of the common man. He knows that if the gold in that pit were brought into the planet's economy, all people would be plunged into poverty, such as he helped Miguel and his family escape. Namor realizes that Anderson has not responded to the intruder yet, so the thieves get blithely away. He profoundly wishes it had not come to this, and knows that although he riskes it all, he has to act – must act – and act now!
Namor swims after the sleek submarine, and severs the net from the submarine, where the gold starts to fall back down into the trench. Namor knows that he must deal with the thief or thieves, and inside, Goldbug is surprised by how quickly the ship begins to rise, and assumes the net must have snapped off – before looking at the monitor and discovering that it has been severed by the Sub-Mariner. Goldbug clenches his fist and thinks that just because he hoped to avoid super meddlers like the Sub-Mariner, doesn't mean he is unprepared for such encounters. Energy beams suddenly blast into the water as Golbug speaks over an intercom and tells Namor that it is very expensive to interfere with his plans – and the fine is death by lasers! Namor dodges the blasts with ease and tells Goldbug that he is no frightened fish or slow-moving submarine, and declares that he moves too quickly for his weapons to touch him. Namor announces that he will board Goldbug's vessel and bring him to justice. 'Not likely, my friend! Because while you're busy ducking the lasers – my titanium grapplers will seize you!' Goldbug boasts as tentacles reach out from the submarine towards Namor, who suddenly feels like he is being torn apart as the tentacles wrap around him – even his great strength cannot pull the tentacles off him.
Namor realizes that he might not need to escape the tentacles, for although they hold him, they also connect him to the submarine, which is bound to nothing but water. Then, using his incredible strength, Namor brings to spin the submarine around and around, the vessel eventually losing its hold of Namor, as inside the submarine, Goldbug is knocked about, surprised that Namor is so much more powerful than Spider-Man, whom he usually fights. Goldbug decides that he has wasted too much time, and the feds could be back any minute – he knows he can't fight them and Namor. So, with the gold not going anywhere, he supposes he will come back for it another day – but today – he has to get away from here. Namor watches the submarine move away, but it moves slowly. Namor supposes he must have damaged it, and knows that it will be child's play for hin to catch and restrain the vessel now – but before he can begin to give chase, a depth charge explodes in front of him 'There must be more fight left in Goldbug than I imagined!' Namor thinks to himself.
But another voice informs Namor that was just a warning, and suggests he surrender. 'Never, villain! Prince Namor will not allow your vile scheme to -' Namor begins, before the voice exclaims 'Fish-man – have you gone totally nuts? Come on board now!' and Namor's vision clears, he sees Anderson's submarine before him, and realizes that it wasn't Goldbug who fired the depth charge. Namor boards the submarine, and after explanations, Anderson exclaims 'Let me get this straight, Avenger. You're telling me that this Goldbug character was trying to steal the gold – and you stopped him?' Anderson asks why they didn't see Goldbug, and Namor assumes that he had electronic cloaking devices to fool their sensors, and since Anderson was away getting repairs, Goldbug was able to avoid detection by the naked eye. 'That's right. We were having repairs done – to equipment you damaged!' Anderson shouts.
Anderson suggests that Namor was in cahoots with Goldbug, but this angers Namor, 'Nothing I say will satisfy you!' Namor declares, and tells Anderson to do what he will, as the only ones who will truly sugger will be he and the rest of the ungrateful surface world. 'But whatever folly you commit – I will not stay around to witness it!' Namor then swims from the submarine, while Anderson rubs his chin and thinks that it is his job to be a hardnose about this, but perhaps they should move the gold some place else!
Final story written by Tom DeFalco.
Hawkeye and Sandman previously encountered each other in Solo Avengers #6-7.
Hawkeye lost his hearing in the first Hawkeye mini series.
Marrina was slain in Avengers (1st series) #294, but before she died she spawned several eggs.
Namor had a class action suit filed against him in Avengers (1st series) #270.
The office building turned to gold in Web of Spider-Man #6 / Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #268.
Goldbug developed radiation poisoning from handling radioactive gold in Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #62.
Charles Anderson previously appeared in Web of Spider-Man #6 and Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #268.