Comics : Untold Tales of Spider-Man #18

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

If you like Seeing Spidey mix it with glider-riding lunatics, you really won't wanna miss this one! Lots of aerial battles, Headsman's mysterious benefactor revealed, plus more problems for Peter with Betty Brant and Liz Allan!

In Detail...

"The Headsman's Back In Town"
Untold Tales of Spider-Man #18
Feb 1997 : SMURF 016.600 : SM Title
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Kurt Busiek
Pencils:  Pat Olliffe
Inker:  Al Williamson
Cover Art:  Pat Olliffe
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Articles: Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Lucky Lobo

The story opens with Peter swinging around Manhattan looking for photo opportunities. He is attacked by the Headsman, brandishing a new, improved Axe.Headsman informs Spidey that he is going to kill Spidey so as to look good in front of the Mob. Spider-Man manages to fake his death by appearing to be crushed by falling debris, meanwhile escaping through a handy basement window.

A quick change of clothes, and Peter Parker is ready to meet Betty Brant for a date. They bump into Flash Thompson and Liz Allan, and Peter foolishly suggests they eat together. Betty is still jealous from the party she caught Peter and Liz at, and this only makes things worse for our luckless hero.

Later that night, Peter decides to go looking for the Headsman as Spider-Man. He springs some thugs robbing a fur warehouse. Meanwhile, the Headsman is busy trying to convince Lucky Lobo, a Mob Boss, that he has killed Spider-Man. As chance would have it, Lobo is the very guy who organised the fur robbery, and his henchman shows up to deliver the news that Spidey foiled the attempt. The Headsman is furious to learn that he has failed to finish Spidey off AGAIN, and rages off looking for blood. Lobo is approached by a mysterious vigilante who promises to rid the city of both the Headsman AND Spider-Man.

The next day at school, Flash is angry that Peter is getting all of Liz's attention, so he brags that he will lead them to Spider-Man. Peter senses a way to help Flash impress Liz, and therefore make things easier for him and Betty. He tags along as Spidey, waiting to "make an entrance". No sooner does he appear, than the Headsman swoops down, nearly taking off Spidey's head! The battle is on! This time though, all of Peter's friends are on the scene and in the way. The fight moves to an apartment, and Spidey is forced to use the faithful old web-line slingshot move on Headsman. He buys enough time to rescue Liz Allan, who has fallen through the floor of the trashed apartment.

Out in the street, the Headsman is accosted by the mysterious vigilante who spoke to Lucky Lobo, the Green Goblin!! The Green Goblin reveals himself to be the source of the Hangman's equipment. The Hangman is dispatched with ease by GG, since GG built fail-safes into the Hangman's costume, which when enabled, render the equipment useless. The Hangman plummets to ground below, a smouldering wreck, and the Goblin takes his leave.

The story closes with Peter pondering the power of whoever was able to trash the Headsman so quickly. He's worried that whoever it was will come after him!

In General...

Firstly, this issue had a few great battles between Spidey and the Headsman, tying up the storyline from issue #8. Secondly, I like what Kurt is doing between Betty and Liz. Liz has realised that there's more to Peter than meets the eye, and she's intrigued. There's nothing so tangled as a "love triangle"!

Most of all though, this issue has the first Untold Tales appearance of the Green Goblin! We discover that he has used the Headsman almost like a gineau pig to trial his equipment on. The Headsman may be a bit of a hokey villain, but he is only the precursor to the REAL bad guy! We are left feeling that Peter definitely hasn't seen the last of THIS character! Obviously,since we have all read recent stories featuring GG, but it's still a spooky sensation of getting in on the ground floor with such a classic villain as the Green Goblin.

Overall Rating...

I'll give this a big 4 and a half webs! Can't go past that Goblin!