So tired of all the grit and cognitive dissonance of "Classic" Spider-Man? Well, welcome to the simple world of Spidey once again as teenager who now exists in the modern-day world, with all of the requisite nuances and of today combined with the straight-up fun from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. It is important to note that while it is most-assuredly true that these stories are targeted for a much younger audience than the typical Marvel Comic; it should be stated that there are plenty those of us "old timers" who were around during those long-ago days who find this title as a welcome friend.
In this version of the Marvel Universe, it is present-day America, and Peter Parker is still 15, attending Midtown High, and a part-time freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle. This, my friends, is the Marvel (Adventure) Universe, and we are quite happy that it is here, as we have come to be entertained.
Spidey is down, and about to be stomped by a bar of villainous baddies — Electro and Scorpion. Flash back a few days to earlier, one evening while Spidey is swinging is midtown Manhattan, when he spots Mac Gargan, A.K.A. The Scorpion, tearing up an armored truck. Realizing that preventing this sort of anti-social behavior is just the sort of thing that he put on the Spidey-suit in the first place, our pal Petey swings down and confronts the nasty nogoodnick.
After trading haymakers for a bit, Spidey realizes that the driver of the armored truck is trapped in the cab of the truck, which is rapidly filling with water from the broken fire-hydrant onto which Scorpion dumped it. However, once Spidey frees the driver, he realizes that Scorpion took the opportunity to beat a hasty retreat. So, with no villain to fight, Spidey swings on.
A few moments later, he swings past the Metropolitan Museum of Art and notices that the lights are on, so he decides to stop in and check things out, when he discovers that Max Dillon (Electro) is inside and attempting to rob the place. So, being the dutiful superhero, Spidey slips inside and confronts the baddie, with some — shall we say "electrifying" results. Unfortunately for Electro, Spidey's interference triggers the Museum's alarm, and the villain skips out to avoid capture.
The next day at the Daily Bugle, Peter is excited to learn that not one, but two of his pictures are gracing the cover of the paper. Immediately he figures that he is going to get a double bonus because both pics (one of him fighting Electro and one fighting Scorpion) are on the cover. Unfortunately, when he talks to JJJ about it, the Bugle publisher brushes off the young photog with his usual nonchalant, cheapskate rant, and walks away, sending Pete out to take even more photos (for which he will be likewise underpaid).
Needless to say, neither Electro nor Scorpion are very happy about looking like fools, plus both of them are seriously teed off about having their respective scores turned sour by Spidey, so now both of them are most-assuredly gunning for our young hero. That night sure as shooting, Spidey gets ambushed first by Scorpion and then (a few hours later) by Electro. In both cases the encounters were brief, violent, and leave young Parker more than just a bit bruised.
And so it goes, for the next several nights, every time Spidey-Man ventures out, he is assaulted by first one, than the other villain, so much so that Peter even considers not going out on his nightly patrol. Only this is Spidey about whom we are speaking, and when he sees a TV report about a nearby apartment building on fire, with a young boy trapped by the flames, he unhesitatingly pulls on his mask and heads out to once more save the day.
On the scene, Spidey chats up the firemen to assess the situation, and then swings into action to rescue the young lad (and his pet ferret). The youth (named Dax) tells Spidey that he wound out on the ledge because when they were picking on him they frightened Rascal (the ferret) who ran out on the roof, closely followed by Dax. To but the boy at ease, Spidey relates how he has a couple of bullies wh have been picking on him for the past week or so.
That's when Dax clues the only-child Spidey how he outfoxes his older brothers when they start ganging up on him, which he then transforms into a plan as to how to get Electro and Scorpion to do the same thing. Later on that night, at the Bethesda Fountain in the middle of Central Park, Spidey has managed to lure both criminals to this spot where he then cleverly sets them on each other, merely by baiting them into fighting each other for the "honor" of trashing Spidey.
As the two brainless thugs go at each other, Spidey shouts taunts at them both to egg each of them on as they pummel each other. Finally (as Spidey figured would happen), the two of them stumble into the fountain itself, shocking them both into unconsciousness, allowing Spidey to swing off victorious once more even as the cops swoop in to capture the hapless crooks.
This story proved interesting as it really took an entirely different tact with the storytelling aspect. Here we got to see a side of Peter that we really never got to see before. Here we get to experience a Peter who really had no idea how to handle siblings, as he never had any of his own, and then leverage that knowledge into a way to defeat a couple of unruly thugs who were picking on him.
Truly, a most excellent object lesson to be learned, to be sure.
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man is consistently one of the best-written Spider-Titles currently being produced by Marvel. I give it my highest recommendation.
There is a one-page Chris Giarrusso Mini-Marvel story at the end of this tale, unfortunately, no Spidey, but delivers a very funny Secret Invasion that can be seen in its entirety in the new Mini Marvel Secret Invasion digest. You can always find more Chris Giarrusso coolness at his website.
There is also a four-page teaser for Wolverine First Class first at the end of this story that is running in several Marvel books this month.