Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #11

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Think of this title as unique experiment in publishing; by casting a classic version of Spider-Man only set in a modern age, it delivers both the fun and feeling of old-time continuity (for us older fans) that has been retro- fitted, an then layered onto well-worn and comfortably-known Spider-Man history, yet (and this is the totally cool part), it holds no actual impact on current continuity.

Thus, for us old timers, it simply doesn't get any better than this! This title is one part retro Spidey as a teen (think Marvel Age: Spider-Man), one part Modern Spidey as a teen (Ultimate Spider-Man), and two parts Classic Spidey as a teen (Silver Age Amazing Spider-Man); making it more than an just an alternate universe Spidey, but just shy of an actual continuity implant. All of which makes this series not only fun to read, but quite entertaining as well.

In Detail...

"They Call Him Mad!"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #11
Mar 2006 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  MacKenzie Cadenhead
Writer:  Sean McKeever
Pencils:  Mike Norton
Inker:  Jonathan Glapion
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #11
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #8

The Mad Thinker keeps having the thugs he has hired to go on a crime spree in NYC halted in mid-crime by Spider-Man who keeps acing as an unexplainable X- factor and disrupting the orderly flow of events that The Thinker has determined will occur. Thus he determines to dispose of the troublesome hero by utilizing one of his robots.

In General...

As is usual with this series, we begin this episode's story in the middle, with Spider-Man laid out - flat on his back by the Mad Thinker's android in the hallways of Midtown High. From here the story cuts back to (presumably) a few days earlier, in Midtown, in front of a bank to which they are delivering money, the guards driving an armored security truck witness an automobile accident. One of the guards gets out to check on the people in the cars. After he has left the cab of the truck, a bank teller runs out of the bank looking for someone to perform CPR on a man inside the bank.

Against his better judgment (and instructions) the second guard exits the truck to help out (as he knows CPR). As the guard exits the truck, a trio of hoods approach the back of the truck marveling that their info was correct and that both guards were drawn off by twin emergencies. However, as they are unloading the payroll money, they hear a voice from above them. Needless to say, the voice belongs to our stalwart hero, Spider-Man, who makes short work of the hoods, even as a flying mini-cam, which is transmitting images back to The Thinker, is observing him.

For his part, The Thinker calmly assess that this is the third time that Spidey has somehow managed to interfere in his carefully laid out plans. This bothers The Thinker, as he knows that he has calculated every possible permutation, down to the minutest detail. Not being able to fully predict every outcome is something that The Thinker cannot abide, so he resolves to do something about Spidey.

With a new plan of action determined. The Thinker begins to input all of the data about Spider-Man into his computer banks and preparing his analysis to download to Intelo, his golden robot. It is in this fashion that he plans to destroy Spidey.

The next day at Midtown High, finds Pete in the men's room, staring into the mirror, practices asking out Liz Allen and failing miserably at coming up with a cool enough opening line. Al of which convinces him that he is a total loser. After school, he changes to Spidey, and heads for home, as he notices an oncoming storm approaching. Only as he swings off Intelo waylays him. As the two protagonists battle across town Spidey wants to know who this golden robot is, and why he isn't saying anything, or reacting to Spidey's best quips.

As the fight continues, Intelo forces Spidey to a specific spot, clinging to a metallic lamppost. It is The Thinker's plan that Spidey is still attached to the pole as a bolt of lightening strikes it. Only Spidey's spider sense causes him to leap off the pole a moment prior to it being decimated by the flash, surprising The Thinker, yet again.

At this point that The Thinker finally deduces Spider-Man's ability to sense danger and hustle out of its way. Thus setting up his next plot.

The next day at school, Peter is still wondering what the fight was all about the day before and is contemplating asking the Fantastic Four if they knew anything about the golden robot, when Liz Allen walks up to Pete. Her appearance shakes him out of his reverie and propels him (hesitantly, and awkwardly) towards asking her to go see a movie with him. Only he is interrupted by both the appearance of Intelo rushing down the hallway in search of Spidey and Flash Thompson who presumably wants to pound Peter for even thinking about Liz (who is Flash's girlfriend).

Peter tries to get Liz to get herself and the other students out of harm's way, while Flash - who is (as are most jocks) overly impressed with his own ability to be a tough guy. Fortunately for him, just before Intelo pounds him into joke paste, Spidey appears, and webs Intelo's hand back, keeping it from crushing Flash. As the Spidey takes on the towering robot Flash (meathead that he is) winds up getting in the way, and (accidentally) clobbered anyway. As Spidey attempts to rescue him, he too winds up getting clocked.

When he comes to, our young hero finds himself chained up, and hanging upside down in The Thinker's lair facing the Mad one himself. With Spidey awake, the Thinker, goes on a soliloquy about how smart he is, and how eventually he was going to figure out a way to neutralize Spdey's interference because, after all, he is a super genius. Needless to say, Spidey is completely unimpressed, and continues to mock the Mad one throughout the entire monologue.

Enraged at Spidey's flip attitude, the Thinker begins to stalk off to perform more dastardly deeds, when Spidey flexes his prodigious muscles, and easily snaps the chains holding him. As the Thinker then sics Intelo on Spidey who easily avoids the robot's blows, and decks Intelo with a powerful uppercut that comes up from the floor. Intelo flies across the room, smashing into the Thinker's bank of computers, and destroying them, much to the Thinker's dismay.

Spidey then webs the Thinker up to his over-sized monitor and calls the cops. Before he swings off, the Thinker begs Spidey to tell him how his Spider-Sense works, to which Pete responds, "You're gonna hate this, but...I honestly have no idea." The next day at lunch Liz sits with Pete and tells him that Flash is doing just fine, and is wowed that Spidey knew his name. At which point Pete screws up his courage to begin to ask Liz out, only we don't know what comes next, as the story comes to a close.

Overall Rating...

Truly, this stuff just gets better every issue. I really look forward every month to reading this series as I haven't had this much on-going fun in a Spider-Man comic since the days of Sterno and Mantelo back in the '70s. I'm telling you that Spidey's dialogue and characterization are so crisp and reminiscent of his early youth, that you can just feel the presence of Stan in the wings. The art radiates a youthful vibrancy and energy that is unfortunately missing in many of today's comics (including, unfortunately many of the regular Spidey-Titles). I mean it when I say that this title is assembled in the spirit of the Marvel comics I read back in '62.

Footnote...

If you are looking for a jumping-on point into the Spidey legend, have a friend (or know a child), to whom you are attempting to introduce to comics via Spidey's wonderful mythos, then this is the series you want to pitch to them. For it is with this series, that Marvel recalls that both casual and new (or young) readers need a place to jump on, and get hooked with the magic that is Marvel comics.