Issue by Issue – The Human Fly #5

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Frank Robbins
Inker – Rod Santiago
Colours – Jan Cohen
Letters – Joe Rosen

A building is on fire with children trapped on the upper floor and with fire crews unable to do anything at the moment, it is up to The Human Fly to step in and rescue the day. It is a feat that no normal person would dare attempt, but The Human Fly is no normal man and he knows that if he does not get up there to save those kids, then they will surely perish. Once again, Bill Mantlo takes the book into the recent past where the Fly is performing for charity, walking a tight rope between two of the tallest buildings in the city. It almost turns to tragedy though when a madman dressed as a security guard runs out and fires a bullet, cutting the line in two and sending the Fly to his death. With some great action sequences by Frank Robbins and Rod Santiago, the book looks fantastic and unsurprisingly, the Fly survives his fall. The security guard, knowing that The Human Fly would be performing, had soaked the top five floors in gasoline, seemingly not caring who he was going to hurt with his reckless behaviour and he lights it sending the building up in flames. Mantlo takes a look back at the man’s past, a man who himself used to be something of a daredevil and tried to make history by walking a tightrope between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building until an unfortunate accident broke the line and sent him tumbling to his death. It was only good fortune if one can call it that, that saved his life and found him laid up in the hospital with every bone in his body broken, mirroring what happened to The Human Fly in his own life. It is an interesting tale that Mantlo and company give to the reader, one of personal tragedy and shame and revenge, a grudge that holds no bearing and makes little sense and yet who could not sympathize with the man as there are many who have felt the same about the failure of recognition. As it is, the Fly scales the building with the help of his crew, reaching the top and saving the lives of those atop it, even managing to reach the mind of the criminal who realizes what he has done and aids in the rescue. In the end, the madman turns out to be the man who tutored the Fly in what he knows and finally gets the recognition he longed for, if not in the way he wanted it.

4 out of 5

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