In this tale, Spider-Man gets involved in a free-for-all as he goes up against not only The Vulture (Adrian Toomes), but Kraven the Hunter as he attempts to makes heads-or-tales of who owns an ancient African tribal mask, and return the item to its proper owner.
As this story opens, Spidey is in Central Park, watching over a crowded international event. He is attempting to prevent the Vulture from making good on a threat to swipe an ancient tribal African mask that is on display. While scanning the crowd, Spidey spots Toomes just as he makes his move to grab the mask. Just as Spidey swings in to nab him, [Vulture] tosses off a magnesium flair that temporarily blinds Spidey.
In an effort to snag his foe, Spidey shoots out a web line that is intercepted by a spear before it finds its mark. Recovering from the flare, Spider-Man is momentarily confused by the presence of the spear, until he realizes that it belongs to none other than [Kraven] the Hunter, who is attempting to recover the mask himself. At first, our webbed hero believes that the pare of villains are working in tandem, only Kraven scoffs at this, and tells Spider-Man that he has journeyed to America to acquire the mask himself. Then he tosses his own magnesium flare at Spidey and making his own escape.
Later on, when Peter hands over the photos that his camera snapped while he was chasing down the pair of foemen, he is berated by [J. Jonah Jameson], who is dismayed by the fuzzy quality if the photos and tells Peter that The Bugle won't publish them. Then, adding insult to injury, he informs Pete that the newspaper will publish some very high-quality photos taken by another young photographer, named Andy Anderson, who handed in some very sharp pictures. To make matters worse, the kid, is also a science-cum-gizmo geek who is tripping all over himself to out techno geek the young Mr. Parker. Chastened by his multiple failures of letting both criminals get away, losing the mask, as well as the sale of photos to the Bugle, Peter returns to his Spidey costume and begins to prowl the city in search of the Vulture. Several hours later, he happens upon a pile of gold coins and items that are left in a pile on a random rooftop. Closer inspection reveals that it is all dross, which was left there in a (admittedly lame) trap by none other than Kraven.
Kraven indicates that he intended to lure the Vulture in much the same way he would lure in a real vulture, with the carcass of a dead beast. It is at this time that Kraven reveals that it is his intention to recover the mask and return it to the African tribe to which it actually belongs. Spidey points out that he intends to prevent that and return the mask to the museum. Kraven, realizing that his trap has been spoiled, leaves the scene.
Peter returns to The Daily Bugle's morgue, to do some research on the mask, and learns, much to his dismay, that Kraven is correct, and the mask was stolen, and rightfully belongs to the African tribe, not the museum. While sitting there he is approached by Andy who takes this opportunity to lord over Peter that he already met with the Kuba sub-chief and the British ambassador about the Mask's true ownership. Unwilling to sit through a "My kung fu is better than your" speech, Petey ducks out to meet (as Spidey) with Kraven, and the two form a shaky alliance to trap the Vulture and recover the Kuban mask. Together the pair corners the Vulture in a nearby clock tower and - after Spidey plants his camera for photos - make short work of him. Once Toomes has been snared in Spidey's webbing, Kraven turns on our hero. Needlss to say, Spidey was ready and easily turns the tables on the hunter by head-butting him and tossing him into the webbing next to the bird of prey.
Shortly after, again at Central Park in front of a packed audience, the museum curator appears and is presented with the returned Kuban mask by Spider-Man, only as soon as he accepts the mask, Spidey brings up the ambassador from the Kuban tribe, and turns the mask over to him, instead of the museum curator. In front of the press corps, the curator can do nothing else but smile weakly and turn the mask over to its true owners.
Back at the Bugle Peter points out to a gloating Jameson that he too is in a bind of sorts, should he go with Andy's photo of the Museum Curator, Kuban Ambasador, and Spidey posing on stage with the mask (thus showing Spidey in a good light), or should he buy Peter's picture of Spider-Man posing with Kraven and Vulture caught in his webbing. Presented with the unthinkable, Jameson buys Peter's photo, thus (and finally) making Peter's day.
This book continues to delight with its witty dialogue and chrono-time- displacement retro stories. McKeever most definitely has a handle on how to script a younger, more exuberant Spidey (replete with all of his Stan Lee- inspired problems and issues, while Scherberger and Lee layer on a modern-day look that firmly entrenches this Spider-Guy in the her-and now.
I really like this title. The stories harkens back to the simple stories of my youth, displaying the flat-out, unencumbered fun of those by-gone days, while the art is stylized and very different from what I prefer, I can live with it, so long as the stories hold up. Hopefully, this book will entice younger and/or new readers to become entranced with Spider-Man in much the same way that us older fans were entranced nearly half a century ago. Perhaps too, some of these readers will eventually move over to some of the other titles. Three webs.
Seeing a teenaged Spidey in action in straight up, single-issue action tales, while clinging to the heart of the character quite a bit of fun. So, if you are looking for a jumping on point into the Spidey legend, have a friend (or child), you are trying to introduce into Spidey's mythos, then this is the series you want to pitch. For it is with this series, Marvel recalls that both the casual and new (or young) reader needs a place to jump on, and get hooked on the magic of Marvel.