Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #8

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Perfect World"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Things are all turned upside down. Flash is a hero, Peter's a cripple, and Howard Mackie is writing an interesting story. Something is wrong!

In Detail...

"The Man Behind The Curtain"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #8
Aug 1999 : SMURF 449.500 : SM Title
Summary: Super Hero Flash Thompson, Mysterio
Arc: Part 2 of "The Perfect World"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Byrne
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Flash Thompson, Jameson, J. Jonah, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Mysterio II (Berkhart), Mysterio II (Berkhart), Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

The unanswered questions are answered. The villain behind it all is... Mysterio! Natch! He has placed all those people close to Spider-Man into an immersion tank, and merged their unconscious minds, in an attempt to determine the true identity of Spider-man. Flash turned out to be the dominant psyche, and his mind determined the direction of their virtual world.

Peter's mind resisted, and persuaded Flash to discard his fantasy world and return to reality - a tough thing to ask of Mr Thompson, given that his reality is far less pleasant than the comfortable world of his dreams. But Flash turns out to have the spine for facing facts.

Mysterio escapes, leaving Peter, Flash, JJJ, Mary-Jane, Aunt May, etc, all dripping wet in an underground laboratory, trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Oh, and the cover is a great contestant for the Most Misleading Cover Award competition I'm thinking of running. Spider-Man doesn't even come close to dying in this issue. Obviously Mackie changed his plot after the cover illustration had been finished, and nobody remembered to fix it. Or something.

In General...

This story was simple, unrealistic, and overly contrived. I liked it.

It immediately reminded me of a couple of earlier stories. One story (Amazing #87, I think) where Peter catches a cold, and confesses to being Spider-Man in front of all his friends. The other is around Amazing #136 or so, where The Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) kidnaps all of Peter's friends, and challenges Spider-Man to choose which ones to save, and which to let die.

All of these stories had a few things in common. They involved the full supporting cast (a major strength of the Spider-Verse). They were carefully contrived situations. They asked moral questions. They all resulted in obvious, completely implausable, but nonetheless interesting stories.

Overall Rating...

A good, complete story. Art which is supportive but unobtrusive. Nice one, Mr Mackie. Four webs.