Appearing in "Power Vacuum!"
- Authority (On Screen, in Shadow)
- Mr. Secretary
- Prime Minister Tony Blair (First appearance) (Topical reference)
- Queen Elizabeth (Topical reference)
- Principal Davis (Recap)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Power Vacuum!"
The terrorist known as Flag-Smasher has called a meeting among high ranking members of ULTIMATUM to celebrate a meeting of European leaders to establish a single currency, bringing their goal of a one world order closer.[Continuity 1] However, another member of ULTIMATUM are not as optimistic as their leader, insisting that this is only an effort by Europe to become a superpower like the United States, a goal that is contrary to their agenda. When he expresses his concerns over Flag-Smasher's leadership, he is ejected from their flying ship. Flag-Smasher then orders the other members to make up their minds over where their true loyalties are.
Meanwhile, in Symkaria, Silver Sable is contacted by a mysterious ally called the Authority, tips her off to ULTIMATUM's plot to interrupt the meetings in Britain between members of the European Union. As Sable's phone begins to ring, this mystery man tells Sable to give Spider-Man's his regards before terminating the conference. Surprisingly, the phone call is coming from Spider-Man who has found himself trapped in Crete after helping Hercules stop Doctor Zeus from turning everyone into stone and he needs a lift back to New York. Although Sable points out to the wall-crawler that she doesn't run a taxi service, she assures him that she will send somebody by to pick him up. The wall-crawler decides to get some shut-eye while he waits and is later rudely awaken by the Sandman who dumps sand in Spider-Man's face. After saying goodbye to Hercules, Spider-Man pauses to admire a vacuum cleaner and jokingly asks Sandman if this brings back any fond memories.[Continuity 2] At that moment in the United Kingdom, dignitaries from numerous European countries emerge have arrived via the Chunnel. There the government officials meet with the press to downplay opponents of this new fiscal deal. Not far away, members of ULTIMATUM prepare to set bombs in the tunnel despite the fact that this is going against Flag-Smasher's orders.
Meanwhile, the Sandman is flying Spider-Man have left Greece in one of Silver Sable's private jet. Spider-Man has continues to mock the Sandman over their first battle, reminding his former foe how he attacked Midtown High in order to get a high school diploma and was defeated by a simple vacuum cleaner. Having had enough, the Sandman tells the wall-crawler to shut up, reminding the hero that he is a different man now.[Continuity 3] It's then that Spider-Man learns that he has to do a job for Silver Sable in order to pay for his trip home. That's when Sable contacts them and warns them about the impending attack on the Chunnel. Returning to her conversation with the Authority, Silver Sable thanks him for his help but quickly realizes that her mysterious informant has just hacked into her computer systems. When she tries to stop him from stealing all her data, Sable discovers that she has been locked out of her own database forcing her to blast the computer with her gun in order to cut the connection. Back in the Chunnel, the member of ULTIMATUM are interrupted by their own leader, Flag-Smasher, who is trying to stop them from going against his orders. Unfortunately, Spider-Man and Sandman arrive soon after and, thinking that Flag-Smasher is behind this attack, try to stop him. This delays the heroes long enough for the bomb to go off, forcing them to scramble to keep the Chunnel from collapsing. While they are busy, Flag-Smasher helps by getting people to safety.
At that moment, at Buckingham Palace, news of the terrorist attack has reached the delegation. Those who are critical of the United Kingdom use this to blame this on those in the UK who fear the power the European Union could gain and walk out on the talks. This angers the Queen of England who tells her Prime Minister to find the terrorists.[Continuity 4] That's when members of ULTIMATUM come storming into the room to take them hostage. Meanwhile, Sandman is flying Spider-Man and Flag-Smasher to London. Sandman doesn't know why the wall-crawler can trust Flag-Smasher, Spider-Man points out that the terrorist warned them of ULTIMATUM's invasion of Buckingham Palace. When they arrive at the royal palace, they quickly confirm that ULTIMATUM militants have the Queen and Prime Minister hostage. Spotting a cleaning lady using a vacuum, Sandman gets an idea on how they can get the drop on their foes. Hiding in the vacuum, the Sandman then ambushed the ULTIMATUM soldiers when the cleaning lady enters the room to vacuum the floor.
Spider-Man and Sandman quickly take down the terrorists, but Flag-Smasher leaves in the confusion. He leaves behing a holographic message thanking them for stopping the mutineers and then reveals that he was actually going to eliminate the delegates of the European Union. With his spider-sense going off like crazy, Spider-Man manages to find a bomb that has been hidden in a vase. With time running out, the Sandman uses his body to try and smother the bomb blast and has Spider-Man toss him out a nearby window. When the bomb goes off it doesn't cause any casualties. After reforming himself, the Sandman is then invited to have tea with the Queen in thanks for saving her life. However, the meeting is cut short as Spider-Man insists on being taken back to New York, threatening to suck the Sandman up in a vacuum if he continues to delay the trip.
- ↑ This story specifically states that Flag-Smasher is celebrating talks to create the Euro, a single currency used among the European Union. When this story was published the Euro was a little over a year away from being adopted as the official currency of Europe starting on January 1, 1999. Since this story was published the Euro was only adopted by 19 of the 28 countries in Europe. The specifics of this story should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, particularly in reference to the implementation of the Euro and Britain's part in the European Union as, since 2016, Britain had voted to leave the European Union and has been in the process of separating themselves since.
- ↑ Spider-Man is referring to how he used a vacuum cleaner to defeat the Sandman the first time they clashed back in Amazing Spider-Man #4. Although Spider-Man spends this issue gloating about how easily he defeated the Sandman, Flint Marko later claimed in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1 that he intentionally allowed himself to be defeated in such a fashion so he could reconnect with his father in prison.
- ↑ After years of being a super-villain, the Sandman decided to reform and go straight in Marvel Two-In-One #86.
- ↑ The Queen and Prime Minister of England are depicted as Queen Elizabeth and Tony Blair, respectively. As these are real life people their appearances here should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
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