This is part one of “Spidey’s Totally Tiny Adventure”, the serial that ran through all of Spider-Man’s annuals in 1990.
The cover to this issue reads “Big Trouble for Little Spidey” and “Oh no, Spidey’s been reduced to this!!” Heh heh. I don’t normally comment on cover blurbs but these two were too funny not to include. (What? I liked them!)
Anyway, our story starts with Peter Parker at the Tomorrow Exposition, which is basically a grown-up science fair. He takes some pics for the Daily Bugle and then browses the exhibits because he’s such a geek. He gets a demonstration of a floating ray fueled by quarks (don’t ask) and a hi-tech security system/pest control (with miniature rocket ship and robot dog included). Peter’s not the only science nerd interested in the officers, though. Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man II, shows up just as the event is closing for the day to peruse the booths after hours.
Of course, this is the exact moment some mercenaries break into the building to steal all of that state-of-the-art technology lying around (I can only imagine the insurance premiums for the show’s promoters). Scott changes into Ant-Man and Peter changes into Spider-Man to confront the party crashers. They both change right around the corner from each other without evening noticing each other. So, of course, Spidey accidentally gets a whiff of Ant-Man’s shrinking gas through a nearby vent. Uh oh, now both our heroes are tiny!
Meanwhile, the mercenaries are still knocking out guards left and right. But before Spidey can go into action he has to deal with a bit of irony in the form of a giant (to him, at least) spider! He pops the spider in the thorax then webs up its mandibles. With one menace dispatched, our hero starts to web-swing towards the action. Unfortunately, the flying pest control module (which looks like a flying saucer) picks up our pint-sized hero on its radar and decides he needs to be exterminated! Spidey manages to avoid grappling hooks, poison gas, and a metal flyswatter before smashing the contraption to bits. Next up in Spidey’s travails is an attack by the robot dog mentioned earlier. One thing that wasn’t mentioned previously, however, was that this robot dog has eye lasers! Spidey avoids being zapped and quickly knocks the dog’s head clean off!
While this has been going on, Ant-Man has been fighting off the armed goons single-handedly by using his shrinking and enlarging powers to keep them off balance. When Spidey finally joins the action Ant-Man pretty much has things wrapped up and is using an army of ants to prevent the chastised goons from escaping. Spider-Man webs them up and the two heroes fly off on an ant to a more private spot for the post-fight wrap-up. Ant-Man quickly explains how his gas works and gives Spidey a spray of the enlarging mist. Only problem is, Spidey remains shrunk. Oh no!
A nice story with a fun guest star, but not really worthy of the super-sized annual treatment (pardon the pun).
These were the pre-clone years that saw writers playing around with the Spider-Man formula by making him go through a lot of wacky transformations (sort of like a mini-Silver Age). He gains cosmic powers in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. He became the Spider-Hulk in Web of Spider-Man #70 and lost all his powers for a few issues starting in Amazing Spider-Man #341. I’m sure there’s more examples but those are just off the top of my head.
Check out Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9 to see what other trouble Spidey can get into in his new form.