Unlike Marvel’s treasury-sized earlier version of this edition (The Official Marvel Comics Try-Out Book: 1983) is not only comicbook-size, but it really is the official try-out book for a select few artists who were given their big break to have their work showcased in a Marvel Book. The various artists were tapped by writer, editor and talent manager C.B. Cebulski. The anthology has six stories featuring Spider-Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Bullseye, The Runaways, and the New Avengers.
Spidey is facing off against a skyscraper-tall old X-Men foe named Dominus (last seen in a back-up story in Marvel Tales 262 fighting X-Men and Sunstroke). Right now (for reasons that are unrevealed) Dominus is smashing his way through mid-town Manhattan while Spidey is doing his best not to get squished while trying to keep various denizens of the Big Apple from likewise becoming street-pizza.
All the while Spidey is mussing about how even though he is an Avenger, he isn’t one of the big powerful kind of guys who can take down a guy like Dominus, That’s for someone like Thor, or the FF. Still, even though he has to face the world from “Street Level” there are still things that he can do, like empty all of his web cartridges at Dominus’ feet causing them to stick to the ground, and the over-sized goliath to fall to the ground allowing Thor to deliver the final blow.
In General: This is a very nice eight-page story that really looks into who Spidey is, and what makes him work as a hero. It really is more than the whole “with great power...” mantra, it is more than guilt over Uncle Ben, or his need to protect Aunt May. He has everything that it takes to make a hero. He is willing to put his life on the line and go up against impossible odds simply because someone needs to stand on that line and to do the things that he does.
It is this sort of story that makes me want to continue reading Spider-Man. It isn’t about punching bad guys, it isn’t about soap-opera drama, but about the core of what makes the hero tick. Peter is a hero because someone has to stand up and do something, and it might as well be Peter.
This is just one of five short stories in this anthology.