Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Ron Frenz

Nice title that, unless you lived in the UK of course...

Heh, heh, heh.

Spider-Man really doesn't get any better than this two-parter.

Principally they introduce the Puma – a villain who's really just a human-animal.

The characterisation behind him means that we really get to see this story from his alter ego Thomas Fireheart's point-of-view too. He's just a businessman doing a job, which in this case is contract-killing Spider-Man for the Rose.

While the Rose's storylines were taking-place here in Amazing Spider-Man, his superior the Kingpin was manipulating Spidey's girlfriend the Black Cat to wage his own vendetta against the webslinger over in sister-comic Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man. However the Kingpin's presence in this issue of Amazing doesn't feel forced at all, being only a cameo.

Despite this, the Black Cat still gets to be pretty much the heroine of this story, repeatedly saving Spidey's life thanks to her secret bad luck powers.

I gotta say, while I don't feel like I'm missing out on another purchase, any character who fights using bad luck as a super power makes me want to read the title that they're appearing in regularly. (I think I just contradicted myself) How much comedy potential is there in that? Author Tom DeFalco has obviously realised it too:

Really – the Black Cat should rename herself Farce-Girl.

Later, Spider-Man has to do all his fighting with his arm in a sling. It's an idea mundane enough to be worthy of the Tick, and the dialogue is similarly bizarre.

Spider-Man: "We've never even met before today! Why are we fighting?"

Puma: "The reasons should be obvious! You wish to prolong your life while I am determined to end it!"

Behind all this is Parker's unexplained increasing exhaustion, and the ever-creepier independent behaviour of his new black costume, discovered in the second episode to be organic.

Yep, it's all turning into some freakish kind of comedy-science-fiction daytime soap opera.

Yes, daytime soap opera. When, in the last panel, Mary Jane reveals that she knows Peter Parker is secretly Spider-Man, the expression on his face is priceless!



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