"Dead Man's Bluff!"
Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Giacoia and Hunt.
Lettering by Joe Rosen.
Colours by L Lessmann.
A wise man once said, One, two, three, simple as ABC - or words to that effect. Gerry Conway would no doubt have agreed, judging by the fact that, when it came to villains, he seemed to have three main missions.
One; bring them back. I've already discussed this previously, with the likes of Molten Man, Doc Ock, Kangaroo, et al returning.
Two; kill them. Over the previous couple of years, he'd polished off the Green Goblin, the Kangaroo, the Molten Man, Hammerhead, Dr Octopus and probably a whole bunch more that have completely slipped my mind right now.
And, three; replace them. Already, before this issue, he'd given us a new Green Goblin and a new Vulture. Now we have a new Mysterio. Why he did this is anyone's guess, bearing in mind that his stand-ins were never a patch on the originals and clearly were never meant to be.
But ersatz villainy aside, the tale's biggest weakness is that we see J Jonah Jameson on the phone to the fake Mysterio, talking about how he's got Spider-Man so confused he thinks he's fighting a ghost. This does somewhat destroy the impact of the climax's big reveal that Mysterio's not a ghost.
On top of that, it has to be said, the, "JJ hires a villain to defeat Spider-Man," plotline has been done to death over the years and was in no way needed here. We already have a motive for the new Mysterio to attack Spider-Man - however flimsy. We didn't need another one piled on top of it.
For that matter, how Mysterio's device projects an image of the Jackal at Spidey when the villain can't possibly have heard of the green garbed one, let alone possess images (moving or otherwise) of him, is anybody's guess.
Nice to see more Peter and Mary Jane scenes. I know you're supposed to read super hero books for the action and the derring-do but I derring don't. I have to confess my main reason for reading these tales is the glimpse into Peter Parker's private life. Maybe I'm reading the wrong comics. Maybe I should be reading romance mags instead.
I'm not sure how the new Mysterio's mask would make his head invisible, bearing in mind it only covers the front part of his head. Also, the contraption for supporting the Mysterio dummy, down at the docks, should've been easy for Spider-Man to spot, even with a bit of mist blowing around.
But, in the end, what does any of this matter? Because it all pales into insignificance besides one single panel. Who was that figure we spotted, walking away from Peter Parker as he left the Bugle?
One thing's for sure. Whatever it might seem, it can't be Gwen,.