This title is one part Retro Spidey as a teen (think Marvel Age: Spider- Man), one part Modern Spidey as a teen Ultimate Spider-Man, and two parts Classic Spidey as a teen; making it something more than an alternate universe Spidey, but just shy of actual continuity implants. Needless to say, in this title, all bets are off. For not only is the series is honestly very entertaining - it is truly a unique experiment; casting a classic version of Spider-Man set in a more modern age, delivering both the feeling and fun of old-time continuity that has been retro-fitted into Spidey's history, yet, holds no real impact on the current incarnation of the character. So, for us old timers, it simply doesn't get any better than this!
Spidey goes up against Dr. Doom, with a brief appearance by the Fantastic Four.
As the story opens, Spidey is being throttled by Dr. Doom on a flying platform high above Midtown High in Queens, where the Fantastic Four are being honored in a local celebration.
The story immediately flashes back to earlier in the day when an announcement comes over the loudspeaker at Midtown High that school was going to be let out earlier so that the students could join in on the planned Fantastic Four celebration. Needless to say, this announcement excites everyone in the school (students and teachers alike) save for our young Mr. Parker, who has met the FF, and would rather advance his education rather than fawn over the FF.
Dejected, Peter walks home, only to find himself abused by school jock, Flash Thompson, who finds great fun in bouncing a basketball off his head. Hurt and somewhat confused, Peter inquires why Flash isn't with everyone else at the FF celebration. Whereupon, Flash goes off on a rant about how Spidey is a real hero and the FF are just glorified celebrities and media hogs, sucking up some of the press that rightfully belongs to Spidey. Unable to comprehend this unbelievably ironic twist of fate that has somehow made Peter's worse nightmare Spidey's biggest fan.
Just then, Pete's Spider Sense kicks in as he notices a pair of workers on coveralls on the roof of a nearby building, so he runs off, leaving Flash both baffled and superior to him. Quickly changing into his costume, Spidey, approaches the two men and attempts to discover, what is going on, with them and why they set off his Spider Sense. As he approaches them, they attack him and run away, jumping off the roof of the building. As Spidey observes the two men, from the ledge of the building, they appear to become swallowed up by a tesseract of some sort.
Displaying more bravado than brains, Spidey jumps off the edge of the building to follow them, and disappears into the portal after them. At the end of his teleportation journey, he winds up in Dr. Doom's lab and at the feet of the mad, Latervarian monarch himself. Quickly, Spidey scampers away and attempts to ascertain where he is and what is going on around him. He learns that he is inside a flying platform or magnifying glass that Doom is going to use to focus light on the FF and burn them to a crisp.
Spidey locates an exit, only to learn that he is several hundred feet above the ground, hovering above the Earth. At this point Doom catches up with our webbed hero and starts blasting away at him. Cornered, Spidey, once-again, does the foolhardy thing, and brings the fight to Doom. Only when he puts his hands on Doom's armor, he is shot through with electricity, knocking our hero out cold. Doom orders his henchmen to toss Spidey out the open bay door to the countryside far below.
At the last possible moment, Spidey comes too, and realizes that the thugs are merely robots, and manages to take them out by simply unloading on them and totally trashing them. With no time to pat himself on the back, Spidey leaps directly into action against Doom, once again. Only to wind up with the Monarch's armored hands around the heroes' throat, as he dangles Spidey out the bay door.
Knowing that this could very well be it. Spidey manages to flip around, grab Doom's head with his feet, and toss him from the flying platform. Unfortunately for Spidey Doom has a jet pack on, and instead of falling, he jets back into the platform's open door to engage Spidey, then jets off, informing Spider-Man that he is too late, and that the flying platform is about to act as a giant magnifying glass, and roast everyone on the ground. Knowing he has little time left, Spidey rushes back to the control room. On the ground The FF, Aunt May and Mrs. Watson, along with the others at the celebration are beginning to overheat. Needless to say, with only eight seconds remaining on the timer, Spidey manages to stop the clock, and shutter the giant floating lens so that the surface heat drops back to normal, leaving him with the only problem of how to land a giant, flying magnifying glass, full of broken Doombots, and stuff.
This stuff is fun, fun, fun. It feels like Stan is truly the motivating force behind this series. Spidey's dialogue is flip, snarky, and full of the snide bravado of his early youth. The art exudes a vibrancy and energy that is often missing in many of today's comics that rely too heavily on grit, mood, and shadows. These are "all in color for a dime" boys and girls (even if there are more dimes in that stack than there used to be back in 1962).
Heck, even the silliness of the plot itself (Doom roasting the FF with a flying magnifying glass the way a lonely board teen might fry an ant on the sidewalk), is pure Stan Lee-simple. You really can't get comics any better than this!
Seeing a teenaged Spidey in action in straight up, single-issue action tales, while clinging to the heart of the character quite a bit of fun. So, if you are looking for a jumping on point into the Spidey legend, have a friend (or child), you are trying to introduce into Spidey's mythos, then this is the series you want to pitch. For it is with this series, Marvel recalls that both the casual and new (or young) reader needs a place to jump on, and get hooked on the magic of Marvel.
This comic (as all Marvel comics from January '06) contained a back-up tale staring Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius "Weather or not" where he utilizes one of his dad's hi-tech devices to create snow and other weather patterns in his room so he can go snowboarding inside. (This story may or may not actually appear in the Marvel one-shot of the same name - although I believe that it is an original story.) A Spidey mask appears at the back of Franklin's overstuffed toy box in this story.