When this title began it essentially picked up where Marvel Age: Spider- Man left off; that is to say, it was re-telling classic Spider-Man tales re- drawn and (slightly) re-written by new talent. Well, with this issue, all bets are off, as the title begins experimenting with continuity implants retro- fitted into Spidey's history.
This story could essentially be a part of the current Spider-Man/Human Torch title as it neatly combines the two characters in a previously unreported adventure as they go up against a pair of foemen (Street and Goom) in two different battles. Needless to say, it does not occur in the present, but in the boys' mutual past (I'm guessing that they are still (just) in high school when this story occurs.
As the story opens, Street, a walking, talking, pile of asphalt is running rampant through the streets of NY. Street is a throwback villain (think Sandman, except composed out of pliable tarmac instead of sand). Street is lumbering down the, er, street, terrorizing women and small children and recounting his rather dull origin. Spidey is obviously more terrorized by the prospect of listening to the boring rantings of a grade "Z" villain than by the actual damage he could potentially do, so he rescues a mom and her daughter and webs Street's mouth shut, and beats him down with a street pole.
Suddenly a fireball explodes on Street, announcing the arrival of The Human Torch. Upon landing we learn that Spidey had called in Torch to help, (that he called Torch on his cell phone, indicating that while it obviously took place in the character's past, it wasn't in 1962, but a more recent time, more fluid past.) With the imminent threat of Street stalled, the boys start being boys, and wind up bickering between themselves. Needless to say, they spend so much time back-and-forth with each other that Street simply melts into the roadway and vanishes. Leaving two very red-faced teens behind.
Miffed, Johnny returns to the Baxter building and wanders aimlessly through Reed's lab (which, quite humorously has Post-It notes up all over the place with notations like "Off Limits" and "Everyone stay out! Especially Johnny! Reed" Needless to say, Johnny touches a communication device that an interdimensional creature Goom is utilizing, attempting to contact Earth. The device goes off, and Johnny panics, imagining all sorts of horrible outcomes as the result of his inappropriate actions.
While he is attempting to determine a course of action, we switch our perspective over to Spidey, who has finally caught up with Loser-Boy, er, Street. Just as they get into it, Torch arrives for the takedown, and crystallizes Street's composition by overheating him with a mini-nova blast, at which point the boys shake and make up, causing Spidey to realize that Torch needs his help with something.
Back at the Baxter Building, Torch apprises Spidey of the problem, and they both head off to Coney Island, where they've determined that Goom is going to touch down in this space-time continuum. When they get there, so too does Street, who has tracked them down for a rematch. However, before he can throw down on the boys, he is stomped flat by the enormous Goom (who has been listening to Hip Hop broadcasts from Earth, and simply assumes that everyone speaks that way (a quickie flashback indicates that Johnny switched the transceiver that was in contact with Goom to MTV Raps)). With their work cut out for them, the boys go about stopping the over-sized rapper before he completely trashes the amusement park. After a brief battle, Spidey manages to utilize a device from Reed's lab to absorb and capture the musically-challenged alien who really is only looking for some interplanetary bling. As they leave their victory, Torch attempts to get Spidey to help him with the clean-up back at the lab.
OK, going from "re-makes" to brand new "continuity implants" was a bit jarring, but the result is truly entertaining. Writer Jeff Parker has managed to capture the off-the-wall fun of classic Silver-Age Marvel comics, while Patrick Scherberger and Norman Lee (Pencils and Inks) deliver a fresh, clean, modern-day approach to the story. If these guys can keep it up, then Marvel has another sure-fire winner on their hands.
Look, this one is easy, if you are a fan of either version of Spider-Man (Classic or modern) you will surely find something to enjoy about this very fun book. The dialogue is whip-smart and (in places) wet-your-pants funny. (You haven't really lived until you've seen a classic-style Marvel monster spouting hip hop jive and strutting his stuff. Plus, in a world of villains full of themselves, it is fun to watch the heroes take down a piker.
Nothing else to say here, except to go out, buy the book, and enjoy.