Comics : Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1

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This review was first published on: 2004.

In Detail...

"To Serve And Protect"
Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1
Sep 1995 : SMURF 006.600 : SM Title
Summary: First Scorcher
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Kurt Busiek
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Vey
Cover Art:  Pat Olliffe
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Review
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Family (Story 5)
 Reprinted In: Untold Tales Of Spider-Man (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, George Stacy, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Jameson, J. Jonah, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Raymond Warren, Sally Avril

Well, Issue #1 is a pretty simple tale. Spider-Man is facing some heat-proof suit flame-shooting guy called the Scorcher who is stealing some high-tech parts. Peter is also trying to deal with the fact that thanks to JJJ's propaganda, the public hate him. He tries to join the police but the local Police Captain (Captain Stacy) turns him down. He then tries to help the police, but even though he wins the battle and defeats Scorcher, he screws up their long-term operation.

In General...

This is tough. There are lots of great references to the past - there's a mean old JJJ intimidating a young photographer. There's teasing from schoolmates and hints of romance with a young Betty Brant. There's worries about the rent and Aunt May's weak heart - but most of all there's simple teenage angst and a young boy learning to use his newly found Spider-Powers. This is all a blast from the past. It's a refreshingly long way from clones, glossy covers, and twelve part cross-overs.

Although the story is well written I still have two problems. Firstly, the writers have tried to recapture the innocence and freshness of the original - but I don't know if that can ever be possible. The feeling you get is of an adult trying to write stories that a child might write. The art has tried to recapture perhaps a Ditko feel and the stories try to be naive, but it doesn't always ring completely true.

For example, Scorcher's costume looked much to shiny and modern, and I just kept getting this uncanny feeling that the writers were trying very hard to recapture a feeling from a long time ago. The continual fear that they might slip up made me nervous, as I was watching a man walk a tight-rope.

The second thing is - why do we need this? Why not just re-print the back issues in a nice format? Do we want more stories from the past - especially when you know that nothing major can really happen without screwing with continuity (What! Marvel might screw with Spider-Man's Continuity? Surely Not!) Myself, I just don't know what to think. The old comics have their own magic, and perhaps I'm concerned that Untold Tales will steal some of that away?

Overall Rating...

I'm still not sure if Untold Tales works as a concept - or if I like what it's doing. I'm gonna sit on the fence for now and call it average.

I gave "Untold Tales #1" three webs out of a possible five.