In this comic, our sturdy her Peter (Spider-Man), Parker is not only still a teen, but he lives in the hi-tech, modern world of right now. Yes, this series has re-imagined Spidey for today’s modern sensibility without all of the grim and grittiness that today’s comics sport. Still, it retains all of the exciting nuances and straight-up fun from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. True, these stories are targeted for a much younger audience than your typical Marvel Comic reader; it should be noted that there are plenty of “old timers” (like this reviewer) who find this title a refreshing breeze.
A random day on the street in Mid-town Manhattan, and the Blond Phantom is casually looking for someone while chatting to someone on her cell phone. Suddenly a baseball bat flies out the window on a nearby building and smashes into the car next to where she is standing. Recognizing a situation into which her special gift is required.
Entering the building through the broken window, she sees Spider-Man surrounded by a room full of thugs, who are attempting to beat in his brains. As she watches (and pitches in a little), he makes short work of the thugs (who happen to be torpedo men for the Torino Crime Family, who has put a hit out on Spidey.
As Spidey cleans up the mess, the Phantom offers him — first a ride — then a job working for her agency. While he is clearly intrigued by the idea, he dismisses it out of hand for the usual reasons (Secret identity, et al). Only when he gets home, he sees that Aunt May is (once again) fretting over the bills, and he starts to seriously consider the idea. Returning to the Phantom, he dons an overcoat (as a faux disguise), and he explains to her that the Torino Crime Family has a contract out on him.
Back at school, he meets up with Gwen Stacy — who is somehow under the impression that the two of them are dating — which is seriously starting to Wig Peter out a bit. Spidey meets with the Phantom, and tells her about a meeting he (as Pete) has with Captain Stacy. As the pair walk and talk they wind up in front of a theater marquee, and are once again jumped by Torino’s thugs.
Phantom and Spidey take care of them and then she give Spidey a business card to take to Chat, as Phantom indicates that she wants to extend a job offer to Chat as well. Later on that day, Captain Stacy shows up at Peter’s house to deliver a “reward” for calling in the tip that got all of Torino’s hoods arrested. Interestingly enough, the amount is precisely what May needs to pay the outstanding bills.
Writer Paul Tobin is very obviously going somewhere with the new in-series continuity but precisely where is not nearly as obvious. Still, that direction is not nearly as important that not only is he consistently crafting outstanding stories, but he is, in fact, going somewhere. Sure, sure we have long stated that we really enjoyed the “static” nature of this series (all you need to know is the very basic info about the Spidey legend), but now that we see what can be done with even a very simple internal continuity, we have been won over to this point of view and have decided to settle back and enjoy the ride.
And what a ride it has been new characters, a new direction and the same old fun that we have come to expect with this most-excellent title.
Built for kids, but enjoyable for adults, this title is always a delight to read. Not to be taken as seriously as is the main title, but serious enough to have some good old fashion fun.
This title (as is the entire Marvel Adventure line) is slated to end in March, but not to worry, folks, as the books will be re-born (phoenix-like) the following month, complete with new branding and (presumably) with the same child-like sense of “gosh-wow” present in each and every issue.