X-Men & Spider-Man #1

Background

This story takes place after the events in X-Men #66 and uses some elements from Amazing Spider-Man #82.

Story 'Stardust'

  X-Men & Spider-Man #1
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mario Alberti

Spider-Man and the X-Men (Scott "Cyclops" Summers, Jean "Marvel Girl" Grey, Bobby "Iceman" Drake, Hank "Beast" McCoy, and Warren "Angel" Worthington III) separately watch the broadcast of the X-Men's recent battle with the Hulk in Las Vegas. An unnamed television show is using this as the centerpiece for their discussion about the "mutant menace". The host, Jackie, misleads the audience into thinking that the X-Men were responsible for the Hulk's rampage. She further suggests that the timely intervention of the military prevented any fatalities. J. Jonah Jameson appears on the show and points to this event as the basis for some sort of mutant registration. Spider-Man is relieved that Jameson is not on another anti-Spider-Man crusade, but doesn't think that the X-Men deserve this additional grief.

Jackie's next guest is Kraven the Hunter, recently released from prison. After going through his "turning over a new leaf" speech, he promises to bring Spider-Man in lawfully since he recently learned that Spider-Man is a mutant. This particular statement catches both Spider-Man and the X-Men by surprise. The X-Men know that Spider-Man is not a mutant, but many of their enemies do not and might possibly attack him based on this misinformation. They agree to search for him and prepare him for possible encounters with the Sentinels, Magneto, and other mutant hate groups. Warren assumes that he's probably terrified due to this development.

Elsewhere Peter is experiencing many emotions, but "fear" is not among them. He has the unique privilege of escorting both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson to the Coffee Bean. They are meeting up with Harry Osborn to have a farewell party for Flash Thompson who is being shipped overseas. Grinning ear to ear, our hero walks into the coffee shop unaware that he is being stalked by Kraven, who has his scent.

In their civilian identities, the X-Men are trying to find Spider-Man. Marvel Girl is trying to locate him with her telepathy, but has not mastered her powers yet. She is able to narrow down his location to the Coffee Bean, but is unable to get an accurate reading due to the crowd. They sit down and give Jean additional time to find Spider-Man.

Flash spots Jean at the X-table and asks her to dance with him. Scott becomes jealous and tells Flash to leave. When Jean telepathically tells him this might help her find Spider-Man, he reluctantly backs down. Not to be outdone, Bobby and Hank ask Gwen and MJ (respectively) to dance with them. They accept since their respective boyfriends are not paying attention to them. For his part, Peter is trying to convince Harry that his he's not trying to steal MJ from him.

While the groups are intermingling, Kraven crashes into the shop, demanding Spider-Man appear. When Kraven threatens one of the patrons, the X-Men change into their costumes and attack him. Planning for this contingency Kraven brings out his backup, The Blob. Spider-Man arrives and assists the X-Men in taking the fight outside.

The Blob occupies Spider-Man while Kraven attacks the X-Men individually drawing blood from each of the mutants. Once this is complete, Kraven simply abandons the fight. Iceman creates an ice-based restraint for the Blob and leave him for the police.

Cyclops warns Spider-Man that he may have additional problems since Kraven incorrectly identified him as a mutant. Spider-Man tells him not to worry; Kraven is not a credible authority on the subject of mutants, so most people will ignore his statements.

Later that night Kraven meets with Mr. Sinister. Sinister hired him to acquire skin and/or blood samples of the X-Men for unspecified purposes. As Kraven hands over the sample to his employer, Sinister offers him an additional fee for one of his blood samples.

General Comments

From a continuity standpoint, the events depicted here doesn't fit exactly into the framework of the referenced issues. I mention that only to point out that this is not a retro fill-in story a la Untold Tales Of Spider-Man. This is a re-imagining since the story tweaks history a bit.

In most cases, changing history for the sake of changing history is a bad idea. Writers must always proceed with caution when doing so. In this case the change works well. To ensure that this story took place in recent years, they had to remove any reference to the Vietnam War. Since that change is absolutely necessary, another minor change (adding the X-Men) isn't out of the question. I can easily overlook this alteration since the end product is worth it.

On a side note, I don't think that Jean Grey, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane Watson have ever been shown in the same room at the same time.

Overall Rating

4 webs. This is the kind of story that you can give to your non-comic fans and say "read this, you'll like it". It is a simple and straightforward story about teenage heroes trying to fight their hormones as well as the bad guys. Each character's personality is intact from the source material's time period, but the dialog is contemporary.

If that wasn't enough, Alberti's art is some of the best that I've seen in recent years. Every panel is well constructed with the proper amount of detail given to both characters and backgrounds. This really draws the reader into the story. Many panels have a great vintage look to them that are almost worth framing (provided you have the original artwork).

Footnote

Spider-Man briefly met the X-Men in X-Men (Vol. 1) Uncanny #27. The met up once again in X-Men (Vol. 1) Uncanny #35 in a classic case of mistaken identity.