Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual 1997

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

A reformed foe from Spider-Man's early days tries to make a fresh start but his past comes back to haunt him.

In Detail...

"...Before The Dawn"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual 1997
Year 1997 : SM Title
Summary: It's The Return Of Sundown
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Co-Plot:  Kurt Busiek
Writer:  Roger Stern
Pencils:  Tom Lyle
Inker:  Robert Jones
Cover Art:  Tom Lyle
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Review
Articles: Menken, Donald (FB), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (FB), Lucky Lobo, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Sundown

David Lowell has just been released from a ten year prison sentence and is leaving the grounds when he's approached by a limo. Don Menken, one of his old co-workers at Oscorp has a business proposition for him and it looks like Mr. Menken isn't the only one interested in David's... unique skills. It takes a little time but David finally remembers who he is and orders him to stop the car. Menken gives David his card in case he changes his mind about the offer and pulls off. David burns the card and flies off, the later action gets the full attention of the other party interested in David's abilities, something it seems their boss neglected to inform them on.

Just another day for Spider-Man as he's doing his thing, stopping a common criminal. Once he's done his good deed, he web-slings off and bumps into David. David seems to know Spidey, but Spidey doesn't recognize him. David says he doesn't want any trouble and flies away. Spidey goes after David but David snaps, saying once more that he just wants to be left alone. Then it dawns on the web-head that he does know David, he just looked unfamiliar to him without his costume. Ten years ago, David once went by the name Sundown.

Peter walks with Mary Jane, telling her about his encounter with Sundown ten years ago. An accident at Oscorp gave David super powers and wouldn't you know it, he went berserk. The Fantastic Four and the Avengers had a hard time stopping Sundown. When David's friend Mary Kelleher tried to reason with him, she took a hit from one of his energy blasts. Seeing what he'd accidentally done to Mary made him come to his senses. Peter tells MJ that Sundown seems different from the man he faced years ago. Ten years is a long time and with luck, MJ says he may have changed for the better.

Lucky Lobo belittles his flunkies for falling to bring David to him. When they asks why David is so valuable to him, Lobo tells them his story about how he saw David unleash his super powers in prison when a couple of thugs were harassing him. With his powers, David could have easily escaped prison but he willing stayed. Lobo thinks that if he has Sundown on his side, then he'd have a serious edge in the crime business and once again orders his men to find him.

A usual scene, Peter is lost in thought and MJ asks what's on his mind. He tries to avoid it by telling her that he was thinking about old times, but she sees right through him. Peter fesses up and says he's worried about Sundown and he has no idea how to find the guy. MJ suggests thinking like a news hound and enlisting the aid of someone at the Bugle. Ah, what would Peter do without MJ? (...........)

Meeting up with Charlie Snow, Peter finds David. Peter only wants to talk nice with the guy but Charlie Snow's less-than-delicate approach sets David off. David flies away and looks in on his old friend Mary Kelleher, who now has a false arm (remember that accident?). She seems to be doing pretty well for her self. She even kept in touch with David and never blamed him for what happened.

Lobo has finally managed to track David down and talk to him about his offer. No surprise, David has no interest in being Lobo's hired muscle. Lobo thought ahead and says it would be tragic if anything happened to his old friend Mary Kelleher. He's even placed some of his men to keep watch over her. David asks what he wants him to do.

Spidey's hanging out around David's apartment and sees him leaving with Lobo. Lobo orders him to take Spidey's head off. After a brief battle, Sundown walks into Lobo's office with Spider-Man in tow. Lobo wonders how Sundown ever found his place because he never told him where it was. Lobo's thugs that were targeting Mary were kind enough to tell him where it was. Spidey was just playing possum and together, they take out the rest of Lobo's gang and Lobo himself.

Spider-Man and Sundown come to an understanding and Spidey's says he's glad he finally told him what was going on (you see what happens when you actually talk things out?). Spidey says they could always use another super hero in the business, but Sundown says he's sticking with science. They shake hands and Sundown takes his leave.

In General...

The story is decent. Man gets super powers by accident. Man goes nuts. Man accidentally hurts friend. Man feels bad. Man tries to make a new start. Man's past just won't leave him alone. Spider-Man gets involved, there's a misunderstanding, they work things out, happy ending. This is pretty routine stuff, but not bad. Tom Lyle's artwork is pretty sweet and it would be great to see him back on Spider-Man.

Overall Rating...

Let's give this one three webs.