On the annual Free Comic Book Day (usually in May), comics from various companies are given away free to patrons of comicbook shops across the country and around the world. Free Comic Book day is used to showcase the comics and talents of various publishers. Most of these comics are reprints (in whole or in part) of previously (or soon-to-be) published comics.
In the case of the Marvel Comics that appear in this section, the comics tend to showcase Spider-Man (others that have been featured include the X-Men, Iron Man, and Hulk). In the case of some of the non-Marvel comics, Spidey (in some form or another) makes a brief appearance in the comic.
For more information about Free Comic Book Day, go to www.freecomicbookday.com.
This year, the Spidey comic distributed was an original tale involving Spidey, a new Marvel Heroine and villain, as well as our favorite wall-crawling wonder attempting to make it home for his Aunt May's birthday. Making this more difficult for our hero is that not only does he have the cake, but he has to stop a villain on a crime spree in the city first.
Pete has picked up a birthday cake for May's party and promises her that he will make it in time for the party. However, on his way there, fate has other plans, as a sports car comes hot-rodding around the corner almost running some folk down. Pete quickly flicks a Spider-Tracer onto the car and ducks out so he can don his fighting togs. Once he pulls on his red and blues (and safely webs Aunt May's cake to a ledge), he takes off after the speedster.
Once in his fighting togs, Spidey lands on the hood of the car and literally rips the roof off it, only to have a pile of Spidey-related merchandise spill out all over him. As it turns out, the guy in the car (who calls himself "Overdrive" is a huge Spidey fan and asks Spidey for an autograph.
Just as Spidey tries to take the guy down he receives a powerful electric shock. Across town, Betty Brant barges into J. Jonah Jameson's office where he is meeting with Joe "Robbie" Robertson to inform him that, after a week or so of inactivity, Spidey is back in action. Excited by prospect of more Spidey pics to boost circulation, JJJ is galvanized into action.
In the Bar with no name (a supervillain hang-out) a bunch of Spidey's old sparing partners are watching the tube as the mid-town chase is being broadcast on all networks. Meanwhile the bartender is taking book on the outcome of the fight. Back at the fight/chase, Spidey is being dragged by Overdrive. Next, Spidey is blasted by a car-mounted flamethrower and falls into oncoming traffic, where an SUV "jackknifes" and flips over as it approaches our hero.
Out of the crowd comes a costumed female, who is identified by someone in the crowd as "Jackpot. She rescues a pedestrian, as Spidey pulls the driver from the SUV. Both people yell at Spidey for causing all of the problems. Spidey thanks Jackpot for her help and swings off after Overdrive. Spidey catches up With Overdrive and has a cop car to ram him, forcing him over the guard rail of a bridge. Spidey webs the car to the bridge so it doesn't fall into the river below, and swings off leaving behind one of his "courtesy of your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" notes, which the crook wants for his collection.
Spidey returns to his clothes and cake and realizes that there is still half an hour until they dissolve and that he is now going to be late for his Aunt's party. May returns home to find Peter asleep on the couch and her (slightly mangled) cake on the table.
This is a most-excellent treat. Not a reprint, not a collection of previews for Free Comic Book Day, but an original Spidey tale complete with a new heroine and a new villain. It would now be nice to see one or both of these new characters turn up in regular continuity, but even if they don't, it was still fun. Oh yeah, "Jacknife" is something an 18-wheeler does when the cab goes one way and the trailer goes another. An SUV simply can't Jackknife, besides, the visual has it flipping over. You would think that the writer would/should have known/seen that, or that the editor would have caught and corrected this. A minor nit to pick, but it bugged me, hence it loses half a point.