My friends, you have just entered the Marvel (Adventure) Universe, We control the horizontal, we control the vertical, and we are extremely very happy that it is here, as we have come to be entertained. This is a world where Spider-Man is still a teen, only he doesn't live in some long ago time, but in the world of today, re-imagined for a modern sensibility only without all the grim and grittiness of that bygone day, but with all of the exciting nuances and fun from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. It is important to say that while it is most assuredly true that these stories are targeted for a much younger audience than your typical Marvel Comic reader; it should be duly noted that there are plenty of us "old timers" (yes, I'm one) who were around back during those hey-day of that era who still find this title a refreshing breeze. In this version of the Marvel Universe, it is present-day America, and Peter Parker is not only still attending Midtown High, but he (as always) is a part-time freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle.
Opening up, we have Spidey (apparently) getting a beat-down by the Sinister Six (Electro, Doc Ock, Rhino, Green Goblin, Scorpion, and Hydro-Man). As our story opens up, we have Norman Osborn being escorted into the maximum security wing of Ryker's Island by the Warden. The interesting part of this is that Norman isn't in cuffs, but wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase, and the Warden is apologizing to him for having "accidently" locked him up when everyone thought he was the Green Goblin. Happy now that all that "nonsense" has been cleared up, he is happy to have OsCorp look over the security measures and upgrade them.
Needless to say As soon as he is past all of the security measures, and in the control room, he dons his goblin mask and releases the costumed criminals in lockdown (Electro, Doc Ock, Rhino, Scorpion, Hydro-Man, and Jester) all of whom exit their cells to great their liberator. Goblin tells them that they should join together as the Sinister Six to beat Spider-Man. When Jester points out that there are seven of them, Rhino clocks Jester and states "Now there's six."
In Manhattan, Spider-Man is facing off against a giant robot attacking the 28th Street 6-Train station. He manages to distract the robot long enough for the 6-Train to smash it to smithereens. During the fight he hears Peter's name called over the radio from a bystander's boom box. (Seriously, who listens to Boom boxes any more?) It seems that WEBB radio was giving away a birthday party for 10, which Pete (who just turned 16) won, only it seems that he doesn't have 10 friends to invite, which leaves Pete sitting alone at a kid's party venue. While sitting (alone) amidst a group of screeching teens, he spots the Goblin terrorizing the folks on the street. Switching to Spidey, he heads outside to take the fight to the Goblin. No sooner than he engages his old foe, then his old foeman tangle Spidey up in his own webs and drag him off to the rest of the Sinister Six, who immediately start pounding on our favorite hero.
As we've come to expect, the villains fall all over themselves trying to be the first one to clobber Spidey, and thus only manage to trip each other up, and irritate the crap out of their so-called teammates. This doesn't last long as the Goblin manages to get them all lined up against Spidey. Still, it isn't enough as Spidey manages to unhinge the group again by deflecting one of Goblin's pumpkin bombs into Hydro-Man causing him to explode and get everyone soaking wet. Of course Electro is standing in the puddle and powers up shocking all of the villains, giving Spidey the win.
Heading home, Peter is still upset that he couldn't find anyone to celebrate his birthday with him, only when he opens the door to his house, he spots all of his friends (including Flash, and JJJ, and many others). Back at Ryker's Osborn is being locked up, much to the delight of the Jester.
This is a well-done pairing/updating of Spidey and the Sinister Six from his first annual. I like how the events of the regular Spidey title are slyly hinted at and blended into the story (how Norman is been "exonerated" of being the Goblin, and put in charge of national security. The story does well in showing us a balance between Spider and Peter's lives, as well as how Spidey is able to think his way through his fights and not just throw punches to get the work done.
Light, airy, full of fun and snappy wise-cracks, this is plenty perfect Spidey, fun for a quick jaunt down memory lane (loved Rhino's solution to the Sinister Seven/Six issue). The solution to the issue at hand was very well done, and at no point did the story seem overly rushed or even too silly.
Marc Sumerak has a good handle on what makes a Spidey story work as well as how to appeal to a younger audience without talking down to the readers.
I wish that Marvel would do something about making a better effort to promote this title in venues where a younger market would be able to get their hands on it and read it to kick up its numbers.
This issue not only has a longer main story, but also has a back-up story in it to celebrate reaching this 50ish issue milestone.