A Fred Van Lente comic book came out TODAY, so let's take a look!
This was a very interesting tale (although oddly out of season) that spotlighted not Spider-Man, but Peter Parker, as Peter accidentally gets sucked into playing for his high school's baseball team, where Peter finds himself unable to avoid doing athletic things, as his body has trained itself too well to NOT respond if a ball is hit to it, etc. (okay, that's not the cleverest idea, but whatever, suspend your belief!!!).
Meanwhile, Peter's team is headed for a showdown with Harry Osborn's team, which is sponsored by Norman Osborn, who is out of jail. Norman, while actually trying to be a good father, in his own twisted way, gets seduced by his split personality of the Green Goblin to become the Goblin again to get rid of the only thing keeping his son from winning a title - Peter Parker!
Cory Hamscher's Erik Larsen-esque artwork works well for this story. He adds a nice madcap flair to it all.
Probably the most notable aspect of the comic is the way that Van Lente manages to seamlessly weave in an anti-steroid message into the comic, as the guy Peter replaces is none other than Flash Thompson, who is seething over the notion that Peter must be using steroids to have become so good of an athlete - so should Flash join in, too? It's an interesting angle, and one that works well in the comic.
All in all, this was a fun character-oriented comic with just enough Spider-Man action in it to justify the title of the comic.
It's Fred Van Lente time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And dad put gifts under the Van Lente tree
Decorate the house with lights at night
Snow's on the ground, snow white so bright
In the fireplace is the yule log
Beneath the mistle toe as we drink egg nog
The rhymes that you hear are the rhymes of Darryl's
But each and every year we bust Van Lente Day carols