Published by Marvel Comics in 1992, Sleight of Mind is a standalone Spider-Man story featuring Mysterio. Written by Howard Mackie and illustrated by Alex Saviuk, Sleight of Mind originally appeared in Web of Spider-Man issue #90 – a giant-sized 30th anniversary special.
The issue – which boasted a holographic cover – told a contemporary tale, which also cast an eye back to Spider-Man’s past. Sleight of Mind featured Mysterio as the central villain, who was manipulating Spider-Man from the shadows.
What happens in Spider-Man: Sleight of Mind?
Max Schiffman is reminiscing about his career, including the time he was Spider-Man’s agent. Before Spider-Man became a super hero, he briefly appeared in the wrestling ring and on television, and this was under Max’s watchful eye.
Although Spidey’s career changed direction, their brief time together did wonders for Max’s life. He married his beloved wife, Trudy and became a top Hollywood producer – it was a great time.
While Max remembers the good times, across town Spider-Man is chasing down a criminal when he stumbles upon a devastating scene – the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers all dead at the hands of Galactus. The wall-crawler is horrified at the sight, but before he can react he is knocked unconscious by Galactus.
When Spider-Man wakes he sees Max and Trudy standing over him. He is told that he isn’t a super hero, but rather a film star, and he just took a bump to the head whilst on set.
Spidey is confused about what he is being told and his confusion grows when he is suddenly attacked – first by a trio of Goblins and then by Venom-infused Galactus. But he quickly realises that the attacks are merely distractions and everything he is experiencing is an illusion, created by Mysterio.
Mysterio used Max to make the illusion seem real. And Max went along with the scheme in exchange for the ‘resurrection’ of Trudy.
Trudy died of cancer years ago, but Mysterio conjured up an illusion to bring her back. Mysterio then used Max to help sell Spider-Man on the concept of his alternate life as a movie star.
After exposing Mysterio’s scheme, Spider-Man apprehends the villain and hands him over to the police. Spider-Man then consoles Max, reminding him that while the illusion of Trudy was a fraud, his memories of her were real, and that’s what he should hold dear.
Is Spider-Man: Sleight of Mind worth reading?
Sleight of Mind is a wonderful little tale which does two things very, very well.
Firstly, the story serves up a brief ‘what if’ scenario which takes a look at what Spidey’s life could have been like, had he not chosen to become a hero. In this case, his stint on TV rocketed him into the film industry, where he became a star.
Secondly, it manages to seamlessly weave all the major plot points of Spider-Man’s origin into this tale, while telling a new story. This is important because when Sleight of Mind was originally published, it was designed to mark the 30th anniversary of the character, so it recaps Spidey’s defining moment (his origin), while presenting a story that can work for both old and new readers alike.
Sleight of Mind also benefits from the way the mystery unfolds. The clues to the villain’s identity are there from the very start, but they are masked quite cleverly, adding to the element of deception which runs throughout.
This is a great Spidey story, with a message about remembering the past. It features some memorable moments, with strong visuals to keep the tale ticking along.
Has Spider-Man: Sleight of Mind been adapted for film?
Sleight of Mind has not been adapted for film, and it is unlikely it ever will be. The story relies on certain aspects from Spidey’s origin and these are not present in any of the movie adaptations to date.
For me, if Sleight of Mind was to be adapted outside of comics then it would work best as an episode of an animated television show. The story is strong because the mystery isn’t exposed too early, so sticking to a shorter form like a cartoon would work best.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Sleight of Mind. Should you want to read more Spider-Man related posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.
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