Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #629 (Story 2)

Background

In his guise as The Lizard, Curt Connors, has been an abiding thorn in the side of the webbed-wonder. However, Connors himself is far from a villain and has aided Spider-Man on numerous occasions. Most recently he helped Spidey against Mr Hyde, in the The Strange Case Of… arc in the late Sensational Spider-Man, and has popped up a few times since Brand New Day to offer his expertise. However, Connors's personal life is a bit of a mess. With his wife dead and a history of turning into a big lizard, he no longer has custody of his son, Billy. Only the unscrupulous Phelcorp Industries would employ him, and it seems they're pushing him a bit too hard.

Story 'Shed: Prologue'

Curt Connors and his assistant Marissa, are sitting in a Phelcorp lab watching two lizards mating. No, this isn't some sort of high-class reptile porn they're enjoying, this is part of Connors's latest experiments on behalf of his new employer. He's trying to find a drug that will stimulate arousal in the human brain, and he's trying it out on lizards first. Humans and lizards are mighty similar, don't you know.

What's with all the lizards, Curt? Don't you ever learn?

Connors tells Marissa that although the treatment seems to be having the desired result, he can't make lizards fall in love. Reptiles don't think like that. He worries that he might over-excite the wrong sections of the R-Complex. That would lead to territorialism and a hypersensitivity to social hierarchies. He introduces a second male lizard to the tank to see what happens.

At this point, Brian King (Phelcorp pen-pusher) arrives in the lab. He doesn't want any more tests on lizards, he wants field trials on humans! There's a lot of money riding on Connors's work and he wants results.

Connors is extremely angry. King barges into his lab, tells him how to work, threatens his job! It's the sort of thing Connors feels very territorial about. You could say that he is hyper sensitive to social hierarchies. Inside his mind, Connors can hear the Lizard whispering to him, encouraging him to kill King where he stands.

Believing that he has made his point, King storms out of the lab. Curt runs into his office to find the drug he uses to suppress the Lizard. Meanwhile Marissa looks into the tank. One of the lizards is eating another, so I guess the experiment didn't go too well…

And the voice of the Lizard talks Connors out of taking that suppressant drug. The moment of madness has passed. Everything will be all right, surely.

General Comments

Shed runs over the next four issues of Amazing Spider-Man. This prologue is only four pages long, but is there anyone out there who has read this and can not see exactly where this story is going?

Predictability on this scale is usually a bad thing, but this is the Lizard we're talking about: there's only so much you can do with the character. For the past few decades, all stories with the Lizard have followed much the same pattern: Connors seems to have got his life on track until he falls off the wagon and turns into the Lizard again. Spidey then puts things right, but only after a lot of bloodshed. Same old, same old.

I may be prejudging what is to come, but after some very good work at redefining the Chameleon and Electro, I was hoping for something fresh with the Lizard. From this prologue, I fear we're going to get a rehash of pretty much every Lizard story we've seen before, with added scientific gobbledegook.

I call on Messrs Wells and Bachalo to prove me wrong.

Overall Rating

An adequate prologue that probably foreshadows the rest of the story a little too well. I did learn that lizards go "Hurf" though, which is worth an extra half web at least. Let's call this three webs, and cross our fingers that it isn't as predictable as it seems.