Born out of the retro-reprint-cum-retellings of Marvel Age Spider-Man Marvel Adventures Spider-Man is a back-to-basics kind of book that will be telling single-issue stories of Classic Spider-Man but in a modern-day setting. Still, this book won't simply be classic tales told again, but will attempt to tell new stories of a younger, more inexperienced Spider-Man.
What better place to begin than at the very beginning. This first episode retells the story of Spider-Man's origin, and does so with a flair and style that lets us know that this is in a more modern world. While a timeframe is not layered onto the story (we don't see cell phones or computers), it is clear that this isn't 1962 anymore.
|Inspiration:||Stan Lee, Steve Ditko|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #1|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #1|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Adventures #1 (Grow Toy/Buy-Rite Promo Mini-Comic)|
All the elements of the classic tale found in Amazing Fantasy #15 can be found in this story. The young, shy, bookwormish Peter Parker is attending Midtown High, only he is picked on by the "cool kids" (when he is even noticed by them). He is doted upon by his loving Uncle Ben and Aunt May, who have been caring for him for years since he was orphaned by the death of his parents.
While attending a science exhibit, he is accidentally bitten by an irradiated spider, and gains the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider. In an attempt to cash in on his new-found abilities, he takes up a challenge to win the purse at a professional wrestling competition. He naturally wins the event, and then goes on to design and sew a spider-costume, and develop his web formula and its corresponding delivery system. Next up, he's on Letterman, and while exiting the studio, he allows a thief to get away. "From now on, I'm looking out for number one," he says to the guard, when asked why he let the thief get away.
From here, we know the rest of the story. Pete heads for home, only to discover that his beloved Uncle was killed by a burglar. Learning that the thief is held up in a nearby warehouse, Pete breaks away, changes into Spidey, and swings off to catch the killer. Upon arriving there and capturing the thief, Pete learns that the thief is the same one he let escape the day before. It is then that Peter learns the lesson of his life, that "With great power comes great responsibility."
Interestingly enough, while the story is completely faithful to Stan and Steve's origin, it clearly incorporates elements of both the Spider-Man movies (we see Pete come home from the lab accident that granted him his powers and head upstairs), as well as from Ultimate Spider-Man (while in gym class we see three other students standing around, two of whom, while unnamed, are obviously Flash and Kong; who only appears in Ultimate).
Given the success of those two incarnations, plus the popularity of Spidey himself, as well as how well received the Marvel Age Spider-Man title was, this book can only prove to do well for itself. We can only believe that the retellings of classic tales, combined with new continuity implants, will make this book very popular, indeed.
I really enjoyed this book, because it reminded me of all the fun that I had when I first read Spidey back in '62. Hopefully, the creative crew will be able to keep up the energy throughout the run of the series.
On a personal note. This reviewer feels that younger readers have been mostly ignored over the past couple of decades. While Marvel has attempted to reach this audience in the past, I always felt that it never truly put the full weight of the company behind them. However, now, with its flagship character in a new comic with stories not adapted from some little-seen animated adventure, but straight from the heart of the Marvel Universe itself, this series should last for quite some time to come.