This is not the Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man you remember, it is different, and probably will never go back to being that (which may or may not be a good thing). However, in either way, it’s the Marvel (Adventure) Universe with which you are currently stuck. It is (if you can pardon the expression), a Brand New Adventure.
And, as we’ve been saying, for reasons that (mostly) pass our understanding, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man has been canceled and re-launched under this new title, Spider-Man Marvel Adventures. Yeah, yeah Spidey’s name does top off the header of the book, so we know that it is still contains stories about him as a teen that are set in the modern-day world, only (as stated) things are not quite as we remember them.
Our issue starts off, virtually where last issue left off. Spidey is in a knock-down, drag-out, all-out battle with the killer psychopath, Bullseye, who has been hired by the Torino crime family to kill our hero. From the looks of the thrashing that Spidey is taking, he is doing a good job of earning the $5 million that he’s being paid to do the deed. Meanwhile a crowd of people has gathered and are standing around dumbstruck as New York’s most misunderstood teen superhero gets the tar kicked out of him. Even with Flapper, Chat’s pet Owl running interference, Bullseye tags Spidey but good, sending him reeling.
At this point the story flashes back to three hours earlier finds Pete and Sophia wandering through midtown with Flapper hovering overhead. Pete puts her in a cab then heads off for some Spidey action with Flapper. Meanwhile, Gwen and her dad are arguing about her new boyfriend, Carter Torino, the grandson of the mob leader that Captain Stacy is trying to arrest. Naturally as bother her parent and a cop he doesn’t want her hanging around with him, but Gwen is hard-headed, and refuses rto budge, except to walk out the door to go to meet Carter.
While patrolling, Spidey stops a mugging and webs the mugger to the side of a building only to be both hailed and reviled buy the crowd that has gathered. After trading insults with a couple of loudmouths, Spidey and flapper take off. At the Torino residence, Carter enters his grandfather’s study and attempts to get him to call off Bullseye, but his grandfather also won’t budge. Continuing on his patrol, Spidey spots a cat that was knocked off a ledge by Bullseye, and rescues the falling cat as Bullseye watches from a distance.
Captain Stacy calls Pete to seek Spidey’s help in finding Gwen, who is now alone in the park and also calls Pete (being the very next call he gets), only she doesn’t actually talk to him, and hangs up. Spidey meets up with Chat and several birds in an alleyway when they are attacked by a barrage of small items tossed with incredible accuracy by Bullseye, who finally reveals himself by jumping down into the ally.
This is where the fight begins in earnest, as Spidey lands a haymaker on Bullseye who not only shakes it off, but kills several of the birds with his sais. While the villain is distracted with the Birds, Spidey hustles Chat out of the battle zone then wades back into the thick of it with Bullseye who is starting his takedown of the teen hero. Almost nonchalantly Bullseye tosses everything from punches to taxies at our hero, all the while somehow dodging and shaking off most of Spidey’s feeble assault.
Safely down the block, out of range of the fight, Chat puts in a frantic call to Captain Stacy even as police and fire, and rescue vehicles race back towards the battle in an effort to both contain it and put out the now raging fire from the taxi’s exploded gas tank. A tattered and battered Spidey has scaled the side of a building in an effort to get away, but somehow Bullseye is there before him and easily dodges a week punch thrown by Spidey, even as he tosses a stick high in the air. Bullseye then sucker-punches Spidey and places his limp form directly in the path of the falling baton, only at the last possible instance, Flapper puts himself between the descending death and Spidey, getting the kill-shot meant for our Hero.
Enraged at the senseless death of his girlfriend’s pet, and the selfless act of the bird itself, Spidey gets up and finds the strength to beat Bullseye back to the edge of the roof and belts him over the edge, right into the raging inferno below. The limp supervillain’s body crashes through the cab of one of the NYFD hook & Ladders below as Spidey himself collapses next to the slain Flapper.
OK, I’m willing to admit that the action in the fight scene between Spidey and Bullseye was pretty intense (especially with Flapper’s last minute sacrifice saving Spidey’s life); however it completely begs the question of how Bullseye was able to beat Spidey so badly. No I know that (the real) Bullseye had given (the real) Daredevil a serious run for his money, but for all of their skills, both of those guys are really just normals, while (the real) Spidey (even as a teen), was always presented as one of the most powerful humans in the Marvel Universe.
That Bullseye could so roundly deliver such a serious beat-down to Spidey is more than just an unprecedented surprise; it is pretty frickin near-unbelievable. As a matter of fact, I’m really not totally buying it all. I know that this isn’t the “regular” Marvel Universe, and that Tobin has taken a great many licenses in this world that he’s been building, but this really is a step too far. Spidey has a really powerful rogues’ gallery of his own, and while it is always fun to mix-and-match heroes and villains, we simply aren’t getting this whole storyline.
Again, I understand that I’m essentially a grouchy old fuddy-duddy fan, and that this book is clearly not for me, but I’m just afraid that it just isn’t hanging together based upon the already established characterization for Spidey. No, this book really isn’t fun anymore, and I’m hoping that it isn’t having more harm than good for its intended audience.
This book takes the place of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, picking up with the same continuity as that series had at the end of its run.