Comics : Flashback - Untold Tales of Spider-Man #Minus 1

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Part of Marvel's July issue date "flashback month", this installment (since it is already IN the past, goes even further back. It shows us a glimpse of the life of Richard and Mary Parker, agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In Detail...

"There's a Man Who Leads a Life of Danger!"
Flashback - Untold Tales of Spider-Man #Minus 1 (Story 1)
Jul 1997 : SMURF 000.000 : SM Title
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Fred Hembeck, Roger Stern
Pencils:  Fred Hembeck, John Romita, Sr.
Inker:  Al Milgrom, Fred Hembeck
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Visionaries, John Romita, Sr.
Articles: Ben Parker (FB), Petey

Cue Bond Theme...A luxury yacht lies anchored in the Riviera. It is night, and there is a mysterious black-clad figure stealing aboard. Even though he's sneaking, he still finds time to narrate the story so far, explaining that the owner of the ship is the Baroness Adelicia Von Krupp. The M.I.B.(tm) sidles up to the window, eavesdropping on the Baroness' sinister plotting, but he is surprised by a hired gun.

Luckily, the M.I.B. was packing a gas canister, and is able to overpower the thug momentarily, allowing him to turn the tables and acquire the hired gun's gun,(rendering him just a hired, I'm guessing). After a brief shootout, the M.I.B. leaps overboard, closely followed by hot lead. He swims to safety with the aid of a shapely diver who was waiting under the boat.

Once ashore, it is revealed that this daring duo is in fact the husband and wife team, Richard and Mary Parker! Later, back at the U.S. Embassy, the Parkers liase with the Ambassador to plan their next mission, involving the investigation of the Baroness' activities. She is a suspected neo nazi, and must be stopped! The Parkers head off for Bombay, India.

After a few days of combing the city (a city of 4 million people?) they stumble across the Baroness, and follow her to her secret hideout. They are ambushed however, and are taken to the dungeon. There is a captive in the dungeon who has withstood days of torture, and he is none other than Logan! Ole Wolverine sure got around back then! After a few quick punches and kicks, the Parkers manage to free Logan, who leads them from the burning ruins of the building.

Meanwhile, we see that the Baroness' torture master is actually Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, who will one day become the driving force behind Hydra.

Back to our heroes, (who are now safe and sound) and we find that Mary Parker is a month pregnant with their first (and only) child, Peter Parker! The rest, as they say, is history!

In General...

This comic was, to me, one of the more successful results of marvel's "Flashback Month". It has a fast paced story to tell that sheds some light on who Peter Parker's parents were, and what their past was like. Illustrated by the one and only (apart from his son) John Romita himself, it is a real stroll down memory lane. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, Spidey fans!

Overall Rating...

A good all round story that manages to add something to the Spidey continuity whilst still fitting in with Marvel's marketing efforts. I'll give it a big four and a half thwips!