So far, in the Marvel Age Spider-Man Team-Up universe, our hero has met with some formidable allies and adversaries. The Fantastic Four, the Chameleon, Captain America, A.I.M. agents, and the Grey Gargoyle (even though he's French, he was still formidable...I guess). Each time he and his ally prevailed through a combination of skills and cartoonish luck. Can Spider-Man pull another victory out of his bag against the human-hating Morlocks?
These issues always start with our heroes in the thick of things and a very "Stan-Lee-esque" type dialogue box. In fact, these dialogue boxes appear all through the issue. I understand why now! I didn't get it until right now. I'll explain when you scroll down to the "In General" section. But for now...
Peter Parker is a normal high school student, except for the fact that the kids at school pick on him all the time, he's a nerd and is Spider-Man. But aside from that, he's a normal kid. Flash Thompson picks on him, but Peter, instead of being provoked into using his Spider-Man powers, is the bigger man and lets it go.
To blow off a little steam, our hero sheds his Parker duds and goes web- swinging where he spots an Avril Lavigne wanna-be jacking some gap-toothed girl's groceries. Spidey immediately swings into action and follows Avril down into the subway, where she seems to disappear into a wall. We come to find out that Avril, her real name being Dreamer, is fed up with the eating conditions of the Morlocks, a group of subterranean mutants who purposely segregate themselves from "top worlders".
Kitty Pryde is a normal high school student, except for the fact that she is a mutant that goes to a mutant high school that's unlike any other high school that anyone's ever been to. After an intense training session in the Danger Room, Professor X decides that Kitty needs a normal high schooler's life, so he offers her services as a babysitter for a lady named Mrs. Michaels. Though reluctant and rather abhorred by the thought, she accepts.
Callisto, leader of the Morlocks, commands one group of Morlocks to capture Dreamer and bring her home, and another group to see if Dreamer was followed. Group Two finds Spider-Man, who has just found a secret passage into the Morlocks' tunnel system. They knock him out and take him into their lair. Group One finds Dreamer emerging from a dried-up swimming pool in Mrs. Michael's backyard just as Kitty is tucking the two rugrats into bed. After a small scuffle, they take the four into the Morlocks' lair.
After a little bit of "I'm a mutant but I'm still an okay person" talk, Kitty and Spidey manage to break out of the cell that they're all being held in. Callisto and the other Morlocks eventually capture them and it's up to Dreamer and the kids to rescue them. After a "...we're not different! We're the same!" speech delivered by the Michael kids, Callisto agrees to let them all go as long as they promise not to tell any "top worlders" about the Morlocks.
They jump in a superfast subway car that only the Morlocks seem to know about and they head for Westchester County. Spider-Man asks for cab fare back to Queens.
So as I was saying about those narration dialogue boxes...They seem to be built for adults to read to their kids or for kids who have just started reading to get past the exposition of the story and into the rising action easier. Good thinking, writers.
For me, as an adult, I found the story to be a little cheesy at times, especially during the resolution, but it's not me this book was geared towards. Kids who are nestled by your side reading the book with you would catch and enjoy little details like seeing an evil Clefable and a dopey Pikachu on the wall of the kids Kitty was babysitting. Kids also need the constant reinforcement of positive messages like racial tolerance drilled into their heads.
Although I generally liked the book and the messages it brings to the younger crowd, there were parts that made for a "C" rating.
1) The webhead didn't do too much in this book. I hate to say it, but Kitty could have handled this one on her own. And when Kitty can handle a villain on her own, you know that the villain isn't that tough.
2) Again, though I praised the message it brought, I was never too keen on the "beat the villain by melting their heart" ending. Cheesy, even for kids. Though violence is not the answer...some of the time.
The artwork, though simple, was effective. That bumped it from a "D+" to a solid "C". Kind of like extra credit.