Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Rich Buckler

Like all the best Spider-stories, this one is intelligent, deadly serious and packed full of laughs.

Two university seniors, assuming themselves to be world-weary, hatch a little game to prove themselves smarter than the average super hero. They observe Spider-Man from a distance, and invent a fake super villain – the Blaze – with which to rattle his cage.

As is the way of these schemes though, things snowball out of their control, particularly when they find themselves on the run from a copycat who's stolen their creation and is lobbing fireballs at them.

As the title suggests, the whole tale is a parody of a well-known movie, and as is the way of homages, is riddled with in-jokes. Scarcely a page of Peter David's excellent script goes by without a silly gag somewhere.

Ashley, gazing out of the nighttime window: "Super-heroes are a superstitious, cowardly lot. And quite a lot to choose from. Which one to be the object of our little game? Which--?"

A bat suddenly flutters in the window.

"A bat! That's it! Of course! It's an omen! We shall go after--!"

Thomas: "Right. Sure. You bet."

Barry: "Uhm, Ash...?"

Ashley: "Hmph. Well... how about Spider-Man, then?"

My favourite SF stories tend to be the deadly serious ones enacted by funny characters, making this issue a tip-top one. If that weren't enough, Rich Buckler's pencils and Armando Gil's inks lace the whole dark nightmare with the uncomfortable realism of a horror story.

Though the end is a bit trite (did Ashley and Barry really never see Thomas again?) and the explanation for the cover effigy of Peter Parker / Spider-Man extremely contrived, this is excellent, just excellent.


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