TITLE: “Freak the Third”
WRITER: Bob Gale
PENCILS: Barry Kitson
INKS: Mark Farmer
COLORS: Avalon’s Hannin and Milla
Reviewed By: Crazy Chris
After telling May about his move-out plans, Peter dons his tights to visit Doctor Connors, who explains that they must find Freak’s cocoon and neutralize it with maximum pH quicklime.
Peter goes to take more unflattering photos of Bill Hollister, but Menace interrupts the event with death threats directed toward the candidate. Our hero lets Menace escape so he can instead stop Freak, who Connors locates at a dump in Brooklyn. Spider-Man arrives just when the drug-addicted monster hatches, now in the form of an armored monkey. Spidey tricks Freak into snorting the quicklime, which sends him back to his chrysalis state. An Oscorp van, shoddily disguised as a police vehicle, carts the cocoon away.
WARNING: Bob Gale’s dialogue may cause birth defects. If I listed every insipid, cringe-inducing utterance, then I’d come up with something resembling the full script. Let’s just say Menace actually says “Who’s you’re daddy, spider-coward? Who’s your daddy?” and leave it at that. Yes, there’s something at least that laughably inane on nearly every page.
The bystanders’ tendency to joke about the villains who have come to kill them proves especially irritating. A civilian cracks about how Menace must not like politicians, saying, “who can blame him?” and Freak’s appearance prompts a worker to make a mother-in-law joke. Spider-Man can quip as much as the writer wants, but when everyone tries to be funny it sucks away any sense of peril and kills all excitement.
We get more clues regarding Menace’s identity, but I still have no clue why I should care. Jonah’s subplot advances, but the scene makes him look like a caricature of himself and Marla look psychotic. It could be downright powerful to see these two confront each other like human beings in a real relationship, but Gale makes every page a farce.
I actually enjoyed this issue more than the others by Gale, partly because it’s bad enough to be hilarious and also because the art was good and the fights were cool. I dig the way Spider-Man defeated Freak, both for its cleverness and because it means quicklime won’t stop Freak when he regenerates. I like a villain who can never be beaten the same way twice, so hopefully Freak will return someday under different authorship.
2.5 webheads out of 5, because I’m in a good mood. Don’t spend money on this issue, but if you somehow find it in your possession then you might want browse through it just for a laugh at the writing’s expense.
REVIEWED BY: CrazyChris