A previous meeting with Jimmy Santini/Batwing and a knock-off Spidey besmirching the real Web Head's name sets up Untold Tales of Spider-Man #24.
No, it's not the Man-Bat gracing the cover of Untold Tales of Spider-Man #24. Its Batwing who has transformed again to plague our hero.
While trying to cure young Jimmy Santini, Doctor Curt Conners (a.k.a. the Lizard) sees their hopes dashed when Santini becomes Batwing once again. A quick trip to New York and Spider-Man is being slashed by a foe he does not wish to hurt.
Of course New York is the fabled city of a million stories and readers are treated to Flash Thompson's as well. A bit of home life history is revealed regarding Flash's alcholic, policeman father as Flash tries to clear Spidey's name. The Web Wall Crawler has found another detracter besides J.J.J. who is donning a red and blue costume and vandalizing the city and terrorizing its citizens.
Undertaking a bit of detective work, and with the companionship of Liz Allen, Flash interviews those attacked by the faux Spider-Man.
In the mean time, Spider-Man learns that Santini has been spurned by those who mean the most to him and seeks his own death.
Mirroring Spidey's adventure, Flash finds it has been his friend, Jason Ionellop, who has been scandalizing the Spider-Man name. He feels he is responsible for the death of their mutual friend Sally and deserves punishment himself.
Flash and Liz convince their friend he is wrong much as Spider-Man is able to convince Santini's mother she is wrong in rejecting her son. Her timely intervention halts New York's finest from acting as a firing squad and Jimmy's life if saved. Learning he is loved, Santini reverts back to his human form.
No complaints here. Kurt Busiek and Tom DeFalco turn in a top notch story fleshing out Flash's home life and maturation process. We are shown glimpes of the man he will become with peeks at the boy he was.
For anyone who has ever wondered how Spider-Man has endured with such popularity all these years, this is a prime example: solid writing and story telling. Marvel's flagship has been blessed throughout the years with the best in both the writing and art department. People who make you feel for a two-dimensional, four-color character are hard to come by, but they've always had a home with the Spidey titles.
It's a shame this marks the next-to-last issue, but the title promises to go out with dignity and a bang since the REAL Green Goblin is closing the series out.
Excellent storyline and great characterization, but I'm saving the five web rating for issue #25 with the return of Gobby.