Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A little hammy, but the "Deaaaaaath!" sells it.

Years ago, we checked out another Kurt Busiek story where the teenage hero is not super-into a fight scene right now, and today we've got a young Spider-Man bagging out, in 1997's Untold Tales of Spider-Man #18, "Unseen Dangers" Written by Kurt Busiek, pencils by Pat Oliffe, inks by Al Williamson.

This series--which was both a dirt cheap ninety-nine cents an issue and consistently great--was set squarely in Spidey's early days, and Busiek introduced several villains that would not have been out of place in the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run. Today's baddie was the Headsman, making a return engagement, out to kill Spidey for his prior loss. Attacking Spidey on a roof, the stakes are pretty low for our hero--no innocents in danger, no bigger threat if Headsman won--so not seeing the point in fighting, Spidey pretends to fall off the roof and "die" after Headsman takes a swipe at him!

The downside to that idea, is that it only really works if Spider-Man lays low. While Headsman is trying to pitch himself to a crime boss as the man who finally killed Spider-Man, a thug comes in with a report of a bunch of their guys all webbed up; and feeling like a chump again Headsman comes back at Spidey. This time, the situation escalates and innocent people are in danger; but is defused by the surprise appearance of the Green Goblin! Spidey doesn't see him, but the Goblin had been supplying Headsman with "test" weaponry, which he now rescinds, melting it and beating Headsman out of the villain game. I wasn't sure Headsman had made any more appearances; he did, with Norman Osborn still playing him for a sap!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Huh. Sounds damn good actually. I remember this series. It was one of the few good solid series out in '97 from Marvel around that time. Personally, I think Pat Olliffe was a really good choice at the time for evoking that time period. Nowadays, I'd have suggested Javier Pulido, Dave Bullock, Darwyn Cooke, or Marcos Martin.

Cool choice of using the Headsmen though. Outside of an old issue of Avengers West Coast when he led the Night Shift, I don't remember seeing him all that much.