We start in Smithville, PA 30 years back with a meteorite crashing to earth. A chap named Fred Hopkins witnesses one of his friends being beaten but is punched himself when he tries to intervene. Later on, he sees the strange glowing meteor and finds himself feeling stronger.
The next day he realises he has great strength and can lift and entire car. He makes himself a costume and becomes ... The Smithville Thunderbolt!
Back in the present day, Pete is at the Bugle. Robbie sends him off the Smithville to cover the Thunderbolt, who is still performing heroics 30-years on.
As Pete arrives, he hears a a report of a burning building so rushes off to change into Spidey. As he gets there, the Thunderbolt has arrived and saved the people inside. Spidey goes in to look for others but is attacked by a mysterious blonde guy while he's in there.
Spidey thinks it was the Thunderbolt who attacked him and manages to throw a tracer onto him as he's leaving. Shortly after, Pete runs into a local journalist - Roxanne DeWinter. She takes him out for lunch. When he rushes off to find his tracer, though, Roxanne follows him, thinking he's onto a lead about who the Thunderbolt is.
Pete changes into Spidey and goes into the house where his tracer is. He finds an old guy (Fred) there and sees the Thunderbolt outfit in his cupboard. Fred admits he's been setting up 'accidents' (like the fire) to get hero worship recently as he's got older. He used to be heroic when he was younger and misses the attention.
Meanwhile, Roxanne is listening at the door. Spidey's Spider-Sense goes off and he drags her into the room. She says she's going to print a story exposing Fred as the Thunderbolt but then the weird blonde guy bursts in through the wall proclaiming himself as the real Thunderbolt.
The simplistic artwork - which makes NYC look dull - does work nicely in these two issues. The art style has finally found its niche in Smithville, which is a good thing for these two issues but needs a big rethink for the future of the title.
I'm not a big fan of Spidey being Spidey away from NYC but we'll see how part two handles it. Three webs.