Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man features terrific stand-alone stories of a classically themed Spider-Man who is set in a modern-day world. Each story is set-up to evoke the look and feel of Stan Lee-style action, wrapped up a present-day art. Each story has no connection to other issues - other than that the recognizable elements of the Marvel Universe remaining the same (Pete is Spidey, JJJ runs the Bugle, etc.), and remains recognizable to even the most casual of readers). This all makes the comic sseries ideal for younger and/or new readers or even for older fans who are looking to read Spider-Man stories without having to deal with 45 years of continuity or the messy fallout of Marvel's recent Civil War event.
Peter attends a Science Fair where a demonstration is being given by Professor Spenser Smythe of his new Spider-Slayer; a device that has been programmed to hunt down and kill spiders. To make matters worse, Peter's science-nerd and photographer rival, Andy Anderson is also there, and volunteers Pete to be the subject for the demonstration of the device.
As we open this episode, Peter is in class, just ending his day in school, and preparing to attend the science Exhibit. When he arrives at the hall, he runs into Andy, and the two of them head over to the Professor's display. The Perfessor is demonstrating his Spider-Slayer, and touting it as the ultimate household pest controller. The Professor is looking for a volunteer, and Andy puts up Peter (not knowing that Peter's Spider abilities will trigger the robot) as that volunteer.
Peter gets up on the stage, and is given a jar with a spider in it, and the Professor activates the robot, which immediately goes for Peter's much stronger spider aura. Thankfully, the Professor thinks that it is the robot that is malfunctioning, and shuts it down. Needless to say, the entire experience pretty much freaks Peter out. Back at school, Peter is so distracted, that he runs into Flash Thompson, spilling Flash's soda all over Flash's shirt, and, well, irritating Flash.
Peter scurries off to class, thus avoiding getting pummeled by the jock, but, once in class, he spots the Slayer out the window, heading across the school's football field towards the school. As the class ends, Peter makes a break for the door and quickly changes into his fighting togs, and goes after the Slayer. Meanwhile Smythe is in his command center, watching the stalking slayer as it moves towards the school. Apparently he is specifically targeting Spider-Man.
Spidey makes quick work of the salyer,and heads back to class, only to run int Flash in the hallway. Flash reminds Pete that after school, he is due for a beating. Settled in his algebra class, Peter once again sees the Slayer - back up and operational - moving towards the school once again. However, he is brought back to the her-and-now by the direct attention of his teacher who is upset that Pete is "daydreaming" and looking out the window. Pete quickly excuses himself and makes a break for the bathroom, narrowly missing a confrontation with Flash in the process.
Bolting through the boy's bathroom, and exiting from the window, Pete quickly changes back into Spidey and heads after the Slayer. Grappling with the robot, our webbed hero once more webs it up and returns to class. However, once there, he sees that the slayer is managing to free itself yet again. At that moment, the fire alarm goes off, and there is a drill, so all of the students have to file out of the building. Pete slips away, and heads to the science lab, determined to stop the slayer once and for all.
Outside, he confronts the mechanical beast once and for all, and manages to (finally) stop it, dead in its tracks. Slipping away from the fight, Peter manages to get back to class just has he is confronted by Thompson, who wants to pound our good buddy into nerd dust. Only he is stopped by Peter's algebra teacher, and sent to detention for roughhousing in the hall. Peter now attempts to pay attention to his teacher while the firemen who arrived for the pulled alarm try to make heads or tails out of the destroyed slayer on school grounds.
This stuff just never grows old. The action is fast-paced, the art is clean and inviting, while the storylines all wrap up in 22 pages, just like the old days. You just can't go wrong with this formula. It works and it entertains. Seriously one of my favorite Spider-titles!
While it is true that the villains (as well as the heroes and the supporting cast) slightly differ from the way we remember them in the standard Marvel U, it is not so much as to distract from the overall storytelling itself. Always a good read.