A unique and interesting publishing experiment for Marvel; the comicbook offers up a classic look at Spider-Man only done in a modern age. This juxtaposes both the feel-good fun of old-time continuity (for us older fans), layered on top of well-worn and comfortably-known Spider-Man history, yet (and this is the really cool part), it holds no impact on actual continuity. Giving us good old-fashion fun with no discernable consequences. Now how cool is that, eh?
It seriously doesn't get any better than this as readers are handed a comic that is one part retro Spidey as a teen (Marvel Age: Spider-Man), one part Modern Spidey as a teen (Ultimate Spider-Man), and two parts Classic Spidey as a teen (Silver Age Amazing Spider-Man); making it more than an just an alternate universe Spidey, but just shy of an actual continuity implant. Which of course makes this series not just fun to read, but quite entertaining as well.
Spidey run afoul the Black Cat who first seems to help Spidey nab some crooks, and then tricks Spidey into pulling a heist. Only Spidey pulls out of the heist in time to get caught by the cops. Along the way, first Peter/Spidey experience a round of phenomenally good luck, then (when he rebukes the Cat and her criminal ways), a spate of unusually bad (even for Pete) luck.
On his way to The Bugle (via web line 'natch) to sell fearless publisher J. Jonah Jameson more pictures of himself in action, our webbed hero crosses the path of three thugs who are pulling a heist of the National bank. Resigned to the fact that he now has to deal with this distraction, Spidey corners them in an alleyway, only to discover that he was (literally) beaten to the punch by none other than The Black Cat.
As you can imagine, this startles Spidey, as she has a reputation as a notorious, well, cat burglar. When questioned about this, she responds by asking him hasn't he been referred to as a "masked menace" by The Bugle? Whereupon she attempts to pull up his mask (to either see how cute he is under the mask, or to give him a kiss, it is never completely established which). Spidey stops her and tries to convince her that this isn't a game, but serious business. She is not convinced, and leaves telling him to meet her at the Guggenheim the following night to help her prevent a robbery, and then just before the cops arrive in time to see Spidey swing off.
When he gets home, Aunt May tells her nephew that he has a phone call. The call is purportedly from Liz Allan who (shock of all shocks) seems to be asking Peter to escort her to the formal dance that is this weekend. Shocked, Peter agrees, naturally enough believing that his luck is beginning to change for the better.
The next night he hooks up with her at the museum only to learn that he has been duped by the platinum blonde seductress, as it is she that is puling the heist. As he turns on the Cat, so too does his luck turn from its normal bad to horrendously worse, and he trips over a janitor's bucket setting off an alarm. Also, the ancient Hawaiian good luck statue that the Cat was attempting to steal, gets stuck in his webs, and to his hands. Needless to say, with the booty in his hands, the guards rush in, and figure him to be the thief (as they can't see Cat who has already made good her escape).
The next day, not only are the news stations blaming him for the heist, his call to Liz (checking on their date the next day) goes unanswered by Liz, who claims to not know anything about this supposed date. It swiftly begins to dawn on our hero that perhaps this new spate of bad luck can be attributed to the uniquely "American" idol in his hands so he makes to return it to the Guggenheim. Only, on his way there, he mysteriously runs out of webbing and falls to the ground. Land bound, he attempts to board a bus, only with no pockets, he is refused passage, and is forced to ride on the roof.
Back at the Guggenheim he spots the Black Cat, who - once again - attempts to work her undeniable charms on him, only Spidey turns her down cold, much to her chagrin. That's when she pops her claws, so to speak, and goes claw to web with Spidey and they tussle across the length of the museum as she attempts to wrestle the idol away from him. During the course of the fight, Spidey winds up breaking a pair of mirrors (giving him yet another 14 years bad luck). When the guards finally pinpoint the source of the ruckus, Cat bolts, once again leaving Spidey with the goods.
Beaten and bruised, Spidey returns home and is almost caught in costume by his Aunt. Whereupon, he determines that he is going to give Cat what she wants, if only to break the cycle of the bad luck. The next night, Cat finds the idol and figures that Spidey is a good guy after all for giving the statue to her. Only, she discovers that it is a fake filled with pics of Spidey and a note. Sighing she (apparently) lifts the "bad luck curse" from Spidey, and goes on her way.
The following night, Pete approaches Liz's house, all ready for their formal date, only to discover that she is actually going with Flash. Dejected, Petey walks away when he discovers a trio of Flash's acolytes who are hiding in the bushes out side Liz's place snickering over what a great gag they just pulled on Parker. Totally bummed, Pete starts to head for home, when he is stopped by Liz who is fuming mad at Flash for "punking" Parket yet again. So to get even with Flash, and to make it up to Peter, she dumps Flash for the night, and goes to the dance with Peter.
As usual, this is classic stuff. If you haven't picked up this series as of yet you are only cheating yourself. This reviewer hasn't had this much fun between the covers of a Spidey comic in years (prior to the start of this title). Both the dialogue and characterization are so crisp and reminiscent of Spidey's early youth, that you can just feel the presence of Stan in the wings. The art radiates a youthful vibrancy and energy that is unfortunately missing in many of today's comics.
If you are looking for a starting point to the Spidey legend, or you have a friend (or know a child), to whom you are attempting to introduce to comics via Spidey's wonderful mythos, then this is the series you want to pitch to them. For it is with this series, that Marvel recalls that both casual and new (or young) readers need a place to jump on, and get hooked with the magic that is Marvel comics.
The story is followed by a one-page Mini Marvel story by Chris Giarrusso staring Spidey, The Thing, The Human Torch, and the Black Cat.