Ah, Mysterio. You know, I just realized, in the first three issues of Spidey Super Stories we've debuted five of the six members of the good old Sinister Six. We had Electro and the Vulture in small roles in the first issue, and Kraven and Doc Ock each starred in the second issue, and here Mysterio shows us what he can do. And what he can do is really, really sad.
(On an aside, the sixth member Sandman eventually shows up, but they never get together as the Sinister Six. Which is good, because together they'd probably plan to steal all the candy canes in the metropolitan area and then accidentally sink Manhattan.)
Let's dive right in.
The stupid Electric Company Kids are playing baseball in abandoned lot. Next to the lot is a spooky old boarded-up house. It gets dark, and the kids all have to leave because "it's haunted". Kelly is a member of the Short Circus (you'll meet them all too painfully soon), and plays in this co-ed mixed-race mixed-age happy-friendly abandoned-lot baseball-thing. I'm assuming it's some kind of baseball-thing because they have gloves and sticks, although having balls or bases seems to be beyond them.
This whole scene reminds me of one of those stories your Dad told you about the old gang, but you were never quite convinced it was really true. "Yeah, me and the neighborhood kids used to play in the abandoned lot all summer long, and our bases were old tires and rusty nails, we batted with whatever roadkill we could find that day, and the only gloves we had were wadded-up paper towels. But we LOVED IT. You kids these days, what with the damn Nintendo and all, yous never get out of the house anymore. We had character and respect in those days. Did I ever tell you about the time little Jimmy Conkle broke his leg after I tripped him and the bone was sticking out so far that the neighborhood dog started yanking on it? I tell you, those were the days..."
Anyway, these Electric Company kids also have a neighborhood dog who watches the game, and Kelly brings her cat, who near as I can tell from the drawing, is playing second base. So guess what? In true cliched comic animal fashion the cat chases the dog into the spooky abandoned house. Er... wait, scratch that, I meant the dog chases the cat. Man, it must be late. Oh, it is! Remind me never to start reviews at 2am after I get home from the bars. Good night all.
*Yawn* Where were we... oh yeah, the cat runs in the house. Despite the warning of the other kids, Kelly decides to go find her cat. But she sees some spiders on the front door and refuses to go in alone. My, what a shining example of liberated 70s feminity Kelly is. "Oh, I saw some scary spiders and now I'm just going to abandon my pet and companion to be eaten by said spiders. Oh well." I'm amazed Kelly is out playing baseball, since god knows the grass is infested with ladybugs and pretty butterflies.
We now flash over to Spidey.
Spider-Man: I might as well go home. There's nothing
Spider-Man: But wait -- my spider-sense is warning me. Something is wrong on the edge of town! It's Kelly of the Short Circus!
Another Maurice moment. How did Spidey know that it was Kelly who was in trouble? A little voice told him! I guess. So Spidey spends an hour or so swinging across town because some idiot is too scared to go after her cat. Good thing these were no crimes or actual people in danger anywhere in New York, since this cat was lost in a spooky house and all. For all Kelly knows the damn cat is sitting right the other side of the door, she's been standing there for the past hour.
And what's with Spidey's Spider-Sense alerting him to lost frickin' cats? Do these people need so much help they can't take care of their pets with super-heroic assistance? (Answer: Yes, unfortunately) But I can just imagine what must go on in Spidey's head with a Spider-Sense this sensitive. "Oh no! Mr. Frankengruber just spilled raspberry jam on his dress shirt! And he's got the big interview today! But wait, Mrs. Peachtree just turned the toaster setting too dark! The bagels are BURNING, BURNING! What am I to do? I'm only one man, cruel God!"
So then rather than go in the unlocked front door, Spider-Man decides to help Kelly with her breaking and entering skills, valuable lessons for all children with no other conceivable talents. So he boosts Kelly through a broken window. So in just three pages, Spidey Super Stories has told girls they should be afraid of spiders unless men are around, and that when breaking into houses, be sure to find a window with lots of dangerous broken glass around it. Not to mention going alone into empty houses with strangers wearing masks. And yes, these are children's comics.
Spider-Man then whips out the Spider-matchbook(tm) and lights a conveinient candelabra. Adds to the spooky mood, you know. Also adding to the spooky mood is the fourteen or so bright red 'CREAK!' sounds effects in every panel. Spider-Man then opens a door, and out pops a ghost!
Well, actually it looks like a vaguely human shaped steamcloud, but close
enough. So Spider-Man wisely shoots some webs that pass right through it, while
Kelly throws some antique vase at it.
Kelly: I missed it!
*can't even hit the outline of the ghost three feet in front of her with the
Spider-Man: My webs can't hold it! Maybe I can still stop it!
*Spider-Man, still not fully understanding the concept of 'ghost', tries to
tackle it, and duh, passes right through*
Spider-Man: *mystified* Gone... into thin air!
I guess Spider-Man didn't spend his childhood watching Scooby-Doo, or he'd know that there are two types of ghosts: The carnival owner dressed up in a sheet type of ghost, and the hologramaphic illusory type of ghost. This is a type 2 situation.
Then it's feminism's revenge, as the male hero decides the ghost is way too
scary and they should just leave the dang cat.
Spider-Man: We'd better leave - but fast!
Kelly: But if we leave now I may never see my cat again!
Spider-Man: We'll only stay for a few more minutes.
Then as they are walking, a grandfather clock begins to fall right in front of them. And rather than say, stop walking and not go forward, Spider-Man pushes Kelly under the clock and then leaps over the clock himself. Who's he trying to impress here? The fourteen year-old? Believe me, the concept of raisin bread would also blow her little mind away.
So then they wander around some more, and when Kelly gets near a curtain, a pair of well-manicured hands reach out and grab her. But neither Kelly or Spider-Man think to look behind the curtains. For maybe a person, or a pair of fake hands on a giant spring. No this time they both seem to just chalk it up to phantom hands, despite the fact that they actually grabbed her. This is quite a change from the tackling-ghost episode of one page ago.
They then see the cat, and it runs behind a changing screen in the corner of the room. An ordinary changing screen, wooden, maybe six feet high and eight feet across. And lo and behold, the intrepid duo discover the diabolical Mysterio! Who is using no less than five separate computer banks, with six levers, a panel of dials and gauges, a hand-crank, a pressure wheel, and an electric-chair type switch to control the effects. All of which were hidden behind the little wooden changing screen in the same room Spider-Man and Kelly were in. Not to mention that he has two overhead floodlights back there. And yes, Spider-Man and Kelly didn't notice this.
Spider-Man (with another Maurice moment): It's
Mysterio: Yes, it is Mysterio... Master of Magic, Masks, and Mystery!
I should point out that the story-title only says he is the Master of Masks and Mystery. Even Mr. Caption knows that he couldn't Magic his way out of an assault by Rice Krispie Treats. Just thought I should mention that.
Mysterio drops a smoke pellet, and smoke like, starts enveloping him and
Mysterio: Now you see me, but now you don't! And you shall
never see me again!
Mysterio then conjures up some illusory bats, but Kelly says, "Mysterio's machine must make us... see things that aren't really there!" Which causes the bats to disappear. I always wonder about that. Why do machine-created illusions always vanish when you realize they're not real? Ah, whatever.
So Spider-Man then shoots a "web-blanket" at the big ball of smoke where Mysterio was standing. And this being Mysterio's early days, he hadn't yet figured out that when you throw the ball of escape smoke, you can't just stand in your five foot ball of smoke all day, you have to actually escape at some point. So sure enough, when Spider-Man throws some webs at the ball of smoke, he drags Mysterio right out.
Mysterio: I'm trying to make the greatest Haunted House
movie of all time! And this machine makes the scariest magical effects ever seen
for the screen!
Spider-Man: Okay, now you've tested your nutty machine! So stop scaring the neighborhood!
So... he's making a movie? Where are all the cameras and stuff? No wait, he's only testing his machine, so he rented a house and decided to scare neighborhood kids? Why didn't he just use his garage or something? Why does he need to test it, wouldn't he be able to do that on the set of the movie? So wait, this is the set of the movie? Does the film-worker's union let him dress like that? I'm not really clear what's going on, but it doesn't matter, because were almost done.
Spider-Man: See Kelly, I told you there are no such things
That Crazy Mr. Caption: Oh yeah?
And as Spidey, Kelly, her cat, and Mysterio stroll out of the house, seven smiling Casper-like ghosts pop up in the windows. Oh, scary. With a lower-case s.
Here's my post - fight? interview with Mysterio.
Me: Hey Mysteri-ooo!
Mysterio: *sigh* Ever since those damn Kevin Smith movies, everyone's like,
"What's going on, Mysteri-ooo! How's that fishbowl, Mysteri-ooo! You suck,
Mysteri-ooo!" in that patronizing Jay voice. Could you lay off?
Me: Sorry... Mysteri-ooo! Heh, all right, I'll stop. So...
testing special effects on dumb children, huh?
Me: Huh. Not really very villainous there, was it?
Mysterio: What, do I have to conquer the world every time?
Me: No, but maybe you could've thrown a conveinience store robbery in there or
Mysterio: Everyone's a critic. Times are tough. With everything in movies being
computer-animated these days, no one wants a guy with rubber bats and
hallucinogenic mists anymore.
Me: I want some hallucinogenic mists.
Me: No, I uh, could use some hallucinogenic mists.
Mysterio: Are you part of a production company? I don't understand...
Me: Here, let me explain... *switches off tape recorder*
And so Mysterio embarks on a new career, as "Mysterio, the Living Bong."
Well, it's funny if you're as twisted as I am.