Hello again to my readers! I think it’s time I return to the realm of auditory superheroes. So why don’t I bring us back to the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man? Unlike last time with Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours this isn’t an adaptation of a comic book storyline but – as far as I can make out – a storyline completely original to a trilogy of novels written by Adam-Troy Castro. Although said novels do appear to be inspired by some version of the Spider-Man comic universe (Possibly the comics from the mid to late 1980s or very early 1990s. In other words this is a different Spider-Man than the excellent Tom Holland version from the MCU.)
Once again Dreamscape Media has released a very entertaining audio adaptation. The original novels were released as a connected trilogy in 1999, 2001 and 2002 respectively. To date only the first part is available on audio although I hope that will soon be rectified – especially with the prevalence of Spider-Man in Dreamscape’s heroic output.
The plot is as follows: There is a figure in the underworld known as The Gentleman. He is very very rich. Very very dangerous. And alongside assistants of sorts such as The Chameleon and a few others, he is more than willing to finance the destruction of a certain wall-crawling nuisance. And The Sinister Six, such as they are, can be useful to his plans.
However there is one slight issue: One member of the Six – Quentin Blake – otherwise known as Mysterio has his own plans for revenge. But against who or what and how are his victims connected? Can Spider-Man connect the dots and save Mysterio’s targets before they become any more personal than they already have? Especially given the Hollywood connections to said crimes. Not to mention Mary Jane’s latest big action picture: Fatal Action 4. Spidey only has a matter of days and the clock is ticking!
This is definitely a fun listen! It very much feels like a true Spider-Man story managing to balance the superheroics with Spidey’s civilian life as Peter Parker. Mary Jane feels very much like her classic self with a definite bite to her when needed. Especially when the story becomes personal to her. Alongside MJ we have some entertaining appearances by J. Jonah Jameson owner of The Daily Bugle and Spider-Man’s biggest ‘Fan’, various other members of the Bugle staff, Flash Thompson and a last minute assist from one particular fairly obscure D-List hero I suspect the writer may have a soft spot for.
Speaking of heroes, Spider-Man’s quips are quite entertaining when they appear although he knows when to joke and when to keep his mouth shut unlike certain other versions. Castro is also particularly adept at his descriptions for combat. Be it Spider-Man’s attempts to knock Mysterio silly, Mysterio’s frankly horrific illusions, or certain strikes from out of nowhere. You definitely find yourself caught up in the action and in the general plot. Just how will the Web-head get out of this one!?
When it comes to the narration for this release we have a different narrator than previously. Instead of Jack Meloche, Tim Paige is in the spandex and mask and performs quite well indeed. His Spider-Man and Peter both feel very believable especially when things get serious. I also loved his voice for The Gentleman who felt very intimidating unlike a fair few super villains. Also his Mysterio is excellently melodramatic with an appropriate level of arrogance and self-confidence for a stunt man with ideas above his talent level.
One fairly major plot critique is regarding the Sinister Six part of the plot. As much as I loved The Gentlemen, only a relatively small part of the storyline seems to directly involve The Six. Mysterio on his own is the vast majority of the focus. The Six’s part of the plot is definitely a lead in to the two other sequels that as I said aren’t on audio yet. I certainly hope that the sequel novels will appear on audio alongside those which have recently been released or released in the last year or so.
In conclusion I definitely consider this a very entertaining Spider-Man adventure for Webheads. Especially those who want to get an audio fix of Spidey and friends or want a flashback to an older period of Peter Parker’s costumed antics. I’ll certainly keep an eye and ear out for more. However I think next time I discuss superheroes on audio…perhaps I should discuss the Extremis problem?