Comic Book Review – Untold Tales of Spider-Man # 11 (July 1996)

Writer – Kurt Busiek

Artist – Pat Olliffe

“Shock Follows Shock!”

Digging through the dollar bin last Thursday at Eide’s, I found a few more Marvel books to review and one of them was Untold Tales of Spiderman #11.  I had a hard time deciding which Untold Tales issue to buy and the cover featuring Electro and the Eel was the deciding factor.  

The Eel, having been defeated singlehandedly by the Human Torch on numerous occasions, springs Max Dillion aka Electro from prison. Separately, they were easily overpowered, but together, they could be unstoppable! They demand a ten-million-dollar ransom or else they will cripple the city’s electrical supply. Spider-Man must find a way to stop this deadly duo or else New York City will be left in the dark, a fearful populace left in panic and a city stricken by chaos.

Untold Tales of Spider-Man was a look into “the teenaged hero’s life as he struggled to learn about himself and his abilities, while trying to lead a normal life!” In this issue, Peter must try to stop a fellow classmate named Sally Avril from starting her own heroic career as the Bluebird, while finding a way to maintain his secret identity as Flash Thompson tries to meet his idol, Spider-Man, by any means necessary. Peter must figure out a way to resolve these problems, as he tracks down Electro and the Eel.

The late 90s was a rough time for Spider-Man as the Clone Saga had rocked the very foundation of Peter Parker’s life. He would retire from crime fighting and try to lead a normal life with Mary Jane, just as Ben Reilly took up the mantle of Spider-Man. Untold Tales of Spider-Man was released at the right time. Readers could still follow the adventures of Peter Parker for the low price of 99 cents. I remember buying a few issues of Untold Tales of Spider-Man, but I never got the chance to read them. Kurt Busiek was able to spin new stories of the Web-Slinger, while paying homage to Stan Lee and the continuity he established in the 1960s. Olliffe’s art has a Silver Age feel to it and it harkens back to the other great Spider-Man artists of the day like Ditko and Romita.

I remember Wizard Comics had high praise for Untold Tales of Spider-Man and if I can recall correctly, it was featured in an article about one of the best comics book series you may have missed out on. Never fear, Untold Tales of Spider-Man is currently available on Marvel Unlimited if you’d like to check it out for the first time or if you would like to re-read the series in its entirety.