Untold Tales of Spider-Man Annual 1997 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Barry Harter (E-Mail)


Basically a one-shot issue for fans to pony up $1.95.

Story 'It's Always Darkest'

Meat and 'Taters: Spider-Man mistakinly attacks a thought-to-be new super baddie and makes matters worse. After an initial trouncin', Spidey webs home to Aunt May who makes an obligatory appearance while Dr. David Patrick Lowell. the bad guy (if he has a name, I don't remember and don't really care) continues his tour of the town.

Along the way he attracts the attention of Daredevi, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, Giant Man and the Wasp, Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men. Of course all zip to the scene to do battle and a free-for-all ensues (couldn't see that one comin').

Spider-Man rushes back to find the heavy hitters engaged in an all out war and decides his best course of action might be to uncover the origin of this new villian. Of course Dr. Lowell is a misunderstood scientist with a love of flora. His work in photosynthesis leads him to work as a super fertilizer had its funding cut, his wife has no respect for him and everyone else pretty much believes him to be a loser.

Using his Photogenesis project he turns himself into some kind of human plant-type-guy with the power to harness the sun's rays. This, in turn, is turning day to night as he absorbs more and more power.

Spidey finally finds Lowell's only friend in the world, a little girl who shares his love of plants. She convinces our hero that Lowell isn't really a bad guy, just someone misunderstood and having a bad life.

The Wall Crawler rushes back to the sorte and tries to defuse the situation. But, he has been followed by Mary Kellerher, the aforementioned little girl, who becomes a casualty of the fight. Lowell realizes what he has done and surrenders.

After Lowell is led away by the police, Spider-Man ponders the situation. Was he too rash in the beginning? Did he start all this madness? Is little Mary Kellerher scarred for life? How will Lowell handle things?

General Comments

Nope, didn't like it. Not a bit. Not sure if it was the premise or what, but fans can find a better way to spend a buck ninty-five.

Busiek's story seems a bit rushed and Lyle's art misses the mark all the way down the line. It seems to be a cross between John Romita Jr. (shudder) and (insert name of current X-title artitst here).

The gallery of deadliest foes after the story was all right, but Fred Hembeck's little ditty following just plain blew (and I like Hembeck). Maybe the only saving grace would abe the 'Untold Tales You'll Never See' section that rounds out this book. The imagination and stylings were terrific.

Still, not worth $1.95 plus tax.

Overall Rating

If you haven't read this and wonder if it's as bad as I say, borrow someone else's copy first. I haven't been this dissapointed in a title since the Howard the Duck Chirstmas Special from last year.

I'd give this drival a web rating of one.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Barry Harter (E-Mail)