Gus Beezer is pretty much your average elementary school student. He lives in the quiet suburbs with a perfectly normal family, and his dog Zabu. Ok his little sister Tilly is actually a mutant telepath, so I guess they're not all perfectly normal.
Anyway like many kids his age, Gus is obsessed with Superheroes, and frequently imagines himself as one. He also draws his own comics starring his own heroic alter-ego Marvel Kid.
Last year while attending his family reunion Gus found out that he was a distant cousin of a nice guy by the name of Peter Parker...
Our story opens up with our protagonist once again imagining himself as Spider-Man. While making his nightly rounds Spider-Gus finds himself surrounded by a plethora of villains and is forced to flee for his life. The diminutive web-slinger reaches a dead-end but then thankfully remembers that he can run up walls. Spider-Gus is suddenly grabbed by Doctor Octopus who reveals himself to be none other than Gus's Gym teacher as Beezer snaps back to the real world. As it turns out Gus just beat the entire class in a foot race.
Needless to say Gus is pretty proud of this and spends the entire afternoon bragging about it, speaking in hyperbolic Stan-Lee speak. Upon arriving home, Gus tells the story to his family prompting his father to imagine his son as a future Olympic athlete. Gus's older sister Emily however has had enough of Gus's boasting and challenges him to a race. The next day nearly every kid in school has shown up for the contest between the two. Just before the referee fires the starting pistol, Emily points out that Gus should check his zipper. Gus realizes that he's wearing gym shorts but Emily has already won the race.
For the next three days in a row Emily wins race after race using similar tricks. Gus is so ashamed that he strongly considers giving up his super heroic/athletic plans and taking up a career in Antarctica herding Snow Mooses.
Upon arriving home Gus has had enough of Emily's taunting. He once more imagines himself as Spider-Gus and his sister as Emilizard. "Must Web The Slightly Sinister Sister! She's smelly, smirky, and smug!" he says. Emily however wants no part of this game and Gus's attempts at "webbing" her with a garden hose are alas unsuccessful.
Later that evening, Gus unfortunately finds out via telephone that no-one in Antarctica is presently hiring snow moose herders. Still, good news is on Gus's horizon: tomorrow Gus is visiting his cousin Peter for career day. While Gus is somewhat disappointed that his first choice for a career is unavailable, he at least takes solace in the fact that Cousin Peter's pretty cool. "He actually met Spider_man, Zabu! Can you believe it?"
The next morning Peter Parker gives Gus a tour of the Daily Bugle when he's suddenly interrupted by editor J. Jonah Jameson.
"What's that nonsense I heard you tell the kid about super heroes being noble?? Why, these so-called 'heroes' are nothing but attention-grabbing menaces! And the worst one, the very worst is that no-good glory-hogging Spider-Man!" Gus is mortified by J.J.'s remarks and Peter has to hold the kid down to keep him from "strangulating" J.J.
Jameson then asks Peter why he's not out getting more shots of "that lousy criminal, Spider-man?" Which proves to be a little more than our hero can take. Young Beezer is on the verge of turning into Gus-Hulk and Poor Peter has to literally duct-tape him down to a chair to keep him from throttling J.J.
Peter explains to Gus that J.J. is his boss, prompting dejected Gus to lament that "bullies always win. Even when your a grown-up." Peter then tries to set Gus straight, but wouldn't you know it, his Spider-Sense is tingling. Peter looks outside the window to see The Green Goblin and the Vulture making an escape from police.
Peter panics, wheeling Gus still strapped in the chair into J.J.'s office for some friendly conversation. While Gus and Jameson have a heart-to-heart, Spidey manages to defeat the two villains.
Later Peter accompanies Gus for a bus ride home and gives the youth a gift: an autographed photograph of Spider-Man. Upon arriving home, Gus challenges Emily to yet another race. Gus refuses to fall for any more of Emily's tricks and this time wins the race, having once again won the title as the fastest kid in school.
Also in a bonus story written and drawn by Gus himself, Marvel Kid's loyal side-kick Marvel Dog (actually Gus' dog Zabu)is confronted by the new neighbor's weird looking cat. This malevolent pet turns out to be the evil cyborg villain KIT-E7 The Fatal Feline! After a brief battle Marvel Dog defeats this new fiend when KIT-E7 accidentally destroys his own house with one of his own "Catbox Bombs." The next day Zabu's owner Gus laments not being able to help his new neighbors, however upon his leaving Zabu turns back to find out that they were really evil catpeople in disguise.
Very funny little story, particularly the scenes between J.J.J and Gus. Cartoonist Gurihiru gives the book a perfectly whimsical feel as the story jumps back and forth between Gus's heroic fantasies and the real world. There are also lots of little side-jokes hidden in for the reader to keep an eye out for. (Watch for Gus's baby sister Tilly telekinetically juggling meatballs in one panel.) All in all a perfectly enjoyable little one-shot.
It's cute, fun for children, and most importantly of all very funny. Well worth picking up.
Alas, with creator Gail Simone having recently signed an exclusive deal with DC, it looks like this might be the last we'll see of Gus for awhile. Personally I'd love to see all four of Gus's adventures collected in trade form.