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Appearing in "...Before the Dawn"

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Synopsis for "...Before the Dawn"

After a lengthy prison term, David Lowell has been released after serving his time.[Continuity 1] Walking out of prison, David stops to get a copy of the Daily Bugle and is furious to see that Spider-Man is still on a front page after all of the years. This causes David to think about his time as Sunstorm and how his time in prison was followed by a defeat at the hands of Spider-Man.[Continuity 2] That's when a limo pulls up and the passenger offers David a life, an offer he accepts. As the limo pulls away, another car pulls up and the drivers are upset that someone got to Lowell first and they decide to follow the limo.

In the limo, David is reacquainted with Don Menkin, who David worked with during his time at Osborn Chemicals. This causes David to think back to his first encounter with Menkin. It was years ago while he was still working for Osborn. At the time, David had interrupted a meeting between Norman Osborn and Don Menkin to discuss his photogenesis process, insisting that it will be a great asset for the company and demands a raise and a promotion for his work on the project. Norman Osborn was not happy hearing Lowell's demands, but instead of firing David, Osborn has him reassigned and orders Menkin to scrap Lowell's project. Rushing down to his lab, David watches in horror as Osborn Chemical employees destroy his project, the hard work of five years. At the time, he begged Don to do something about it, but Menkin refuses, telling David that he got where he was by following Norman Osborn's orders. As David recalls all of this, Don tells him that everything is in the past and has come to offer David a job. This angers Lowell who demands to be let out of the car. To punctuate his anger, David begins charging up his powers. However, this doesn't make Menkin flinch and he complies with Lowell's request and tells his former colleague to contact him if he reconsiders the offer. As the limo drives off, David takes a moment to look at Don Menkin's business car and sees that he still works for Osborn. After using his powers to incinerate the business card, David flies away to the astonished eyes of the two thugs who have been tailing him.

Later, in Manhattan, Spider-Man has just nabbed an armed thief who just robbed a store and leaves him strung up for the police. As he swings away, the wall-crawler wonders what could bring someone to commit such a brazen robbery when his spider-sense begins going off. This allows him narrowly avoiding a collision with David Lowell. The wall-crawler is surprised to see a normal guy flying over the city but doesn't recognize David. As Lowell tries to explain that he isn't looking for trouble, he quickly realizes that the wall-crawler doesn't remember him and flies away. This piques Spider-Man's interest and he follows after David to try and remember where he may have seen him before. Not wanting to be followed, David uses his power to plunge the area around himself and Spider-Man in darkness. Leaping out of the darkness, Spider-Man finally realizes that this man is his old foe Sundown, but unfortunately, as the darkness dissipates Lowell manages to escape. Shortly after this encounter, David gets a room at a cheap hotel so he can have a roof over his head. There he begins unpacking his things and when he finds his Sundown costume among his personal effects he uses his powers to incinerate the outfit.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man has changed back into his civilian identity of Peter Parker so he can meet up with his wife Mary Jane before classes at Empire State Univerity.[Continuity 3] Along the way, Peter tells Mary Jane about his encounter with Lowell and tells her all about his past encounter with Sundown during the early days of his career and how it took the combined forces of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four couldn't stop him. He was so powerful, Sundown was able to shrug off attacks from Thor. Ultimately, the battle ended because Mary Kelleher -- David's only friend -- was almost hurt in the battle. When Mary Jane asks what happened to Sundown after that, Peter admits that he lost track as he was still in high school at the time. He remembers how David pleaded guilty and went to prison, but he hadn't heard from him until they bumped into each other by chance earlier today. When recounting the encounter, Peter recalls that David was now meek and brusque. Leaving Mary Jane to hope that he has changed for the better.[Continuity 4]

Peter and Mary Jane aren't the only ones discussing David Lowell, as the two men tailing him return to their employer -- Lucky Lobo. Lobo is upset that they failed to recruit Lowell as he ordered them. Lobo recounts how, after his arrest, he was held in the same prison as David Lowell.[Continuity 5] He recounts how one day, a pair of prisoners attempted to attack David in the yard. In response, Lowell used his powers to defend himself. Seeing a prime opportunity, Lobo smoothed things over with the guards and attempted to make David his protégé in prison. However, despite Lobo's efforts, all David Lowell wanted to do was serve his sentence as penance for almost hurting Mary Kelleher. Lobo saw this as a waste and intends to try and recruit David into his gang and use his powers to become a major player in the city. At that same moment, David tries to find a job and due to his criminal record the only job he can get is working as a telemarketer.[Continuity 6] As he works, David wonders if he was hasty in destroying Don Menkin's business card. This causes him to think back to the day that Osborn ordered David's project be scrapped. On that day, David struggled with Don in order to stop Menkin from dumping out a flask containing his formula. The struggle caused the chemical to spill all over David. As the chemicals began reacting on contact with his body, David panicked and backed into a bunch of solar lamps causing an explosion. Thinking of how this caused him to get his powers, David grows angry once more.

One Week Later

In Forest Hills, Peter and Mary Jane have had a good day and after getting a good review on a paper and receiving a generous paycheck from the Daily Bugle, Peter decides to take his wife out for dinner. While in Lower Manhattan, David Lowell decides to take a trip down memory lane and visit his old neighborhood. Once he gets off the subway he is shocked by how much gentrification has changed the neighborhood while he was in prison. When he passes by his old apartment building, he is taken aback to discover that the place has been spruced up complete with a name and a doorman. This leaves him to wonder how much else has changed since he was gone. As Peter Parker remarks how he is glad that now owns the home where his Uncle Ben and Aunt May raised him, David Lowell comes grips with the fact that he couldn't afford his old apartment today on his current pay. When the doorman asks him if everything is okay, David brushes his concern off, saying that he was just thinking of how things used to be and walks off. His mind drifts back to how his past wasn't exactly a picnic for him. He thinks about how it was his wife used to browbeat and emasculate him all the time. In fact, it was pressure from her that gave David the nerve to approach Norman Osborn and demand a raise. He also thinks about how, after his arrest, his wife quickly filed for divorce and left him to his fate. He recalls how, at one time, his wife was actually interested in his work. Tragically, he quickly learned that her interest was only a means to an end, and when David wasn't making the money she thought she deserved, she abandoned him.

Back in Queens, Peter Parker has begun to brood, and this is noticed by Mary Jane who asks Peter what he is thinking. He tells her he is thinking of old friends he hasn't seen in a while, the time he had with his aunt and uncle, and the first time he met Mary Jane.[Continuity 7] However, Mary Jane see right through this and knows that Peter is concerned about Sundown and tells him that he should ask his friends at the Daily Bugle to help him put his mind at ease.

The Next Day

Peter Parker has contacted Charlie Snow at the Daily Bugle and convinced him to do a story on David Lowell. Using his connections, Charlie is able to learn David's address and work hours from his parole officer. The pair then catch David as he is leaving for work to ask him a few questions. Particularly, Charlie is curious to know why -- of all of Spider-Man's villains -- he is the only one who has served a full prison term. David is angered that they would ask him questions about Spider-Man and tells them to leave him alone. With his spider-sense tingling, Peter manages to shield Charlie when David unleashes an energy blast, sending the two men flying into a pile of garbage. As David flies away, Peter tells Charlie that he is going to follow after Lowell to try and get photos, giving him the excuse he needs to slip away and follow David as Spider-Man. The wall-crawler follows David all the way to Empire State University where the ex-con spies on Mary Kelleher, who has since become a botanist. David still blames him for injuring her, an injury that has led to Mary having to wear a prosthetic limb. Spider-Man watches as Lowell flies away in shame, still blaming himself for what happened to her. On a nearby rooftop, he reads a letter that he received from Mary, who tells him that she is pursuing a career in botany, having taken inspiration from him. This upsets David even more and he uses his powers to incinerate the letter. Confused by all of this, Spider-Man returns home to tell Mary Jane what he had seen. At first, he thought that David was stalking Mary, but after seeing how sad and defeated he was, he realizes that there is more going on. The couple can't help but feel sorry for David.

That evening, David is awoken in bed when Lucky Lobo and his men break into his apartment. Lobo tells David that he is going to work for him as an enforcer. When Lowell refuses and begins threatening the men, Lucky then threatens to harm Mary if David doesn't comply. Not wanting to see Kelleher come to any more harm because of him, David powers down and asks what Lobo wants. By this time, Spider-Man has arrived on the scene and witnesses Lucky Lobo usher David into his limo. As Lucky asks David how his new Sundown costume fits, Spider-Man pops his head into the sunroof and asks what they are planning on doing. Sundown then attacks Spider-Man and as the pair fight on the rooftops overhead, Lucky Lobo orders his men -- who have a sniper rifle on Mary -- to keep an eye on the battle. While they fight, Spider-Man tries to convince Sundown that he could be using his powers to help people. Ultimately, David agrees that the fight needs to end right away.

Later, just as Lucky Lobo wonders what is taking so long for his men to report in, Sundown returns carrying Spider-Man over his shoulder. At first Lucky Lobo thinks that the wall-crawler is dead, however, he was only playing possum. As it turns out, Sundown decided to stop fighting Spider-Man and is working with the wall-crawler to take Lobo down. While Spider-Man is wrapping up Lucky's men, Lobo tries to flee. However, the hallway is plunged into darkness making it impossible to see where he is going. When Lucky trips out of an open window, Sundown -- having increased his size -- catches Lucky in his hand. Sundown then warns Lobo to stay away from Mary or anyone he cares about ever again and tells the would-be mobster to get out of his sight. As Lucky flees the scene, he runs into some police officers who promptly arrest him for carrying an illegal weapon. As Lobo and his men are taken into police custody, Spider-Man thanks Sundown for finally listening him. David is as well, but when Spider-Man suggests that Sundown become a hero, he decides against it.[Continuity 8] Lowell has decided to retire his costume and brush up on his science skills and continue his career. As Sundown flies off, Spider-Man wishes him luck, but figures he hasn't seen the last of sundown.

Solicit Synopsis

After years of incarceration, Sundown is back on the streets and in the sights of N.Y. crimelords like Tombstone, Fortunato and the Rose! Can Spidey convince Sundown to go straight, or will he get burned when the hotshot sells his services to the highest bidder?


Continuity Notes

  1. David Lowell, as Sundown, was arrested after being defeated by Spider-Man in Untold Tales of Spider-Man Annual #1997. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, David Lowell had been in prison for roughly in nine years.
  2. The front page depicts Spider-Man battling Electro, suggesting that this story takes place after Amazing Spider-Man #422. However, Official Index to the Marvel Universe #10 places this story as happening between issue Amazing Spider-Man #421 and 422.
  3. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  4. Mary Jane figures that David Lowell was in prison for 10 years. As stated above, the Sliding Timescale suggests that it was closer to nine years. Since all measurements are a rough estimate of the passage of time, one could assume that Mary Jane's estimate could be slightly off.
  5. Lucky Lobo was arrested after Spider-Man's clash with the Green Goblin and New York's mobs in Amazing Spider-Man #23.
  6. David Lowell is depicted as selling music by phone and puts in an order for Slim Whitman's "Greatest Hits". He ask the customer if he wants the record on cassette or CD. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. With the adoption of digital media, cassettes are generally considered an obsolete medium and compact discs are no longer a dominant form of media storage.
  7. Peter is referring to when he first met Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #42.
  8. Spider-Man remarks that New York City needs heroes, "especially now". At the time of this story, everyone believes that the Avengers and Fantastic Four are dead following the events of Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. However, they survived and are living in a pocket dimension as seen in the Heroes Reborn event. They will ultimately return to their home in Heroes Reborn: The Return #14.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

See Also

Links and References


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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