Spider-Man Fairy Tales #1

Background

The story of Little Red Riding Hood, put through the Spider-Man-izer. Meaning, of course, that familiar figures from the Spider-Man mythos are the cast. Sort of like a play.

Story 'Off the Beaten Path'

  Spider-Man Fairy Tales #1
Summary: Alternate Spider-Man Stars
Editor: Molly Lazer
Writer: C.B. Cebulski
Artist: Ricardo Tercio

We open with a hooded figure, walking through a foggy forest. Suddenly, she is set upon by two ghoulish children called the Sweet-Tooth Siblings. They seek the treats from her basket, and despite the girl's best efforts, it seems like they will get it. Luckily, a figure swings from the tree-tops with a quip, and quickly deals with the Siblings. The mysterious man tells the girl to return to the village and alert the local authorities, the Woodcutters. However, the leader of the Woodcutters, Jameson, simply admonishes the girl and claims that the "Spider-Man" she saw was the result of too much sugar. Jameson does not doubt that there may be a vigilante in the woods, but claims him to be a menace that should be dealt with. He further rants that the Spider-Man is in league with the wolves attacking the village, who were responsible for the death of a girl named Gwen Stacy. This manages to whip the assembled villagers into a tizzy against the Spider-Man.

Two figures, however, are angry at Jameson rather than this mysterious Spider-Man. They are Peter Parker and his future wife, Mary Jane Watson. Mary Jane calms Peter down, while Mary Jane's mother tells them that the men of the village have a responsibility to all the women in their lives. For Peter, this includes his ailing Aunt May. Mary Jane's mother then asks Mary Jane to deliver a basket of goodies to May, setting the rest of the story in motion.

The next day, as the narration tells us, Mary Jane is having a chat with her black cat Felicia. Mary Jane is having trouble accepting her future role as Missus Parker, afraid that she'll just be going from obedient daughter to doting wife, never having the chance to be herself. She reminiscences about the late Gwen, and how the girl never cared what others thought of her and did things her own way. Mary Jane's mother, newly arrived, advises Mary Jane to think of what happened to Gwen due to her attitude. With the advice of staying on the path ringing in her ears, Mary Jane departs.

Meanwhile, the rookie woodcutter Peter is day-dreaming. Jameson admonishes him, and wonders why Peter even took the job. Peter's reply is that he thought there would be more protecting the village and less woodcutting involved. Jameson advises him to accept his lot in life, and if Peter does not agree, to ask the incoming Mary Jane. Jameson makes a tactful exit, leaving the future Mister and Missus Parker. Peter is having a mild crisis, worried that Mary Jane will think less of him since he is no good at cutting wood. Mary Jane assures him that simply being there is enough. This does nothing to reassure Peter, who watches as Mary Jane walks into the woods. However, the couple will soon have something more to worry about: a large black wolf is watching them, and takes off after Mary Jane.

Mary Jane, however, is now quite pleased with her current lot in life. She hears rustling, expecting the Sweet-Tooth Siblings, only to find the Big Bad Wolf. He laughs at Mary Jane's claim that Peter will come to her rescue, and then Mary Jane dashes off the path towards Aunt May's cottage. A chase ensues, and Mary Jane narrowly escapes. She heads to May's cottage. Unfortunately, the Big Bad Wolf knows a shortcut to the cottage, and beats her there. Once Mary Jane arrives, she finds Aunt May captured, and a scuffle ensues. The spirited Mary Jane refuses to simply lay down and die for the Big Bad Wolf. As the Wolf closes in for the kill, another combatant arrives: is it the Spider-Man?

No, it's Peter, coming down the chimney with his axe. He attacks the Wolf, and puts up a good fight. In the end, however, only Mary Jane and Peter together can defeat the Wolf. Together, they lift the axe and bring it down upon the Wolf. As the couple revel in their victory, a freed Aunt May congratulates them and asks them to fetch the woodcutters to clean up the mess made by the fight.

Before they leave, however, Peter finds a shredded piece of Mary Jane's red hood, and pockets it, claiming it will come in handy some day...

General Comments

What can one say about a comic book which adapts a well-known story? Well, one can say that it was done very well. The story was littered with little asides to established characters (the names of Brant, Osborn, and Thompson all appear at one point or another) and, remarkably, the lead characters still retain a majority of their mainstream characterizations. The art, reminiscent of the cartoon "Samurai Jack", meshes with the story quite well. Indeed, my only complaint is that I have no idea if the Big Bad Wolf was supposed to represent the Green Goblin or Venom, if anyone. My guess is Venom, due to the design of the character.

Overall Rating

The art and story mesh to form an enjoyable tale, which is not only a fun little yarn. Highly recommended.