Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #16

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

This comicbook delivers a classic look at Spider-Man in the modern age. This comic uniquely juxtaposes the feel-good fun of old-time continuity, layered over the well-worn and comfortably known history of Spider-Man. However - and this is the totally cool part - it holds no tangible impact on the established continuity of the character as he exists in his regular, on- going titles. Giving us good old-fashion fun with no discernable consequences. How cool is that?

Truly, it really doesn't get much better than this folks. As readers, we are handed a comic that is one part retro Spidey as a teen (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. Which of course makes this series not only fun to read, but thoroughly entertaining as well.

In Detail...

"I, Reptile!"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #16
Aug 2006 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  MacKenzie Cadenhead, Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Pencils:  Patrick Scherberger
Inker:  Norman Lee
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #16
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #10
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Annual (UK) 2009

Dr. Curt Connors accidentally turns back into The Lizard, and threatens the citizens of New York City, once again, and it is up to Spider-Man to stop the reptilian terrorist, and save the Big Apple.

In General...

The story starts out with Dr. Curt Connors working in his lab. Curt is under pressure to finish off his experiments (we are never told what he is working on, or for whom). As the pressure builds, he starts to morph back into the Lizard, he reaches for his antidote pills, however he apparently accidentally grabs the wrong vial, and swallows the original formula that turned him into the Lizard in the first place (apparently, the Lizard's persona somehow managed to influence Connor's psyche to sabotage himself), and Connors reverts to his reptilian form yet again.

The following day, in gym class, Peter, in a misguided effort to keep from getting picked on, begins to show off by climbing the rope better than Flash and some of the other students, only when he gets most of the way up, reason returns, and "accidentally" slips, and falls to the mats below. The day continues with Flash, being ever the High School lout and taking great pleasure in showing Peter up in every exercise that the coach puts the students throughout the class.

After School, Peter changes into his Web-Suit and swings through Midtown helping various people (and taking remote photos of himself so that he can sell them to J. Jonah Jameson for use in The Daily Bugle. Only, it is a slow day, and the only pictures that Spidey can snap, are relatively crime- free (Spidey rescuing a cat stuck in a tree, helping a little old lady across the street, etc.) However, his day takes a turn for the exciting, when he comes across the path of the rampaging Lizard.

Lizard is in Midtown tossing cars around when Spidey swings down to street level, catching a car tossed by the biped reptile before it crushes a group of folks walking by on the sidewalk. Attempting to appeal to the subjugated psyche of Curt Connors, Spidey initially tries the direct approach, only to have the Lizard tail-slap him clean across the street. At this point, a couple of guys from animal control approach Spidey and attempt to have him stand down so that they can take over. Whereupon, the Lizard beats a hasty retreat across the street, through a nearby park and then up the side of a building, and across the roof to make good his escape.

The next morning, Peter is reading the paper (complete with a picture snapped by himself) about how the Lizard seriously out-classed Spidey, making him look like a fool. Needless to say, Pete is upset, and Aunt May asks him what is up. Peter covers by relating about how he was shown up in gym class, and she attempts to comfort her favorite nephew by telling him to compete in his own field. This gets Pete thinking.

That day at school, when confronted by Flash and his pose, Peter tricks the football jerk into accepting a challenge from Peter to debate. Think that he can do anything better than Peter (and being too much of a lunkhead to know that a debate involves the ability to form cognitive thought, Flash forges ahead. In the debate, Peter easily bests the jock in front of the entire school. As Peter exits the school, Liz Allan who is suddenly impressed by the fact that Peter knows stuff follows him out the front door of the school. As they are talking, she is suddenly a gecko (and not the GEICO Gecko either) appears on her head.

As the two look around, they realize that hundreds of lizards are traveling in the same direction, realizing that The Lizard is somehow calling to his scaled brethren; Peter exits stage right and slips into his fighting togs. A few blocks away as the spider webs, Spidey catches up with a raging Lizard who is gathering together an army of lizards, snakes, and other reptiles. Spidey hits the street and again attempts to reason with his transformed friend, only to become buried under a pile of slithering snakes.

Shaking them off, Spidey is once again repeatedly slammed by the Lizard's tail, which drives him across the street. Momentarily stunned, Spidey takes stock of his surroundings, when Aunt May's words come back to him about competing in his field, which re-energizes him, and galvanizes him to his feet. Spidey has spotted a butcher shop, and maneuvers his scaly foe through the front window of the front window and into the shop.

As the crash through the front window, Spidey warns off the butcher, and manages to get the Lizard into the butcher shop's over-sized walk-in refrigerator. Once inside, all that our webbed hero has to do is stay out of the Lizard's way long enough for the cold to slow the creature's metabolism down for Spidey to web him up. Once Spidey has sedated the Lizard, he "borrows" a refrigerated truck and transports the unconscious Lizard back to Connors lab where Peter whips up a new batch of the antidote to administer to his friend.

Back at Midtown High, Peter finds Flash in the school's library attempting to bone up on astronomy so as to not be such a lunkhead. However when Peter gingerly points out that he is reading an astrology book Flash wants to know what the difference between the two. Whereupon, Peter sits down and attempts to help Flash past his own dumbness.

Overall Rating...

This entire episode is very reminiscent of an earlier encounter between Spidey and the Lizard Amazing Spider-Man #44 and Amazing Spider-Man #45 where Spidey defeated the Lizard in essentially the same fashion. Even still, the story is fun, entertaining, and works all the way through.

Footnote...

A one-page mini marvel by Chris Giarrusso staring the Fantastic Four and Wolverine appears at the end of this story.

If you are looking for an introduction into the Spidey legend, have a friend who hasn't yet joined the Spidey family, or even know of a young child and you want to introduce them to comics via Spidey's wonderful mythos, then this is the series that you want to pitch to them. It is with this series (as well as Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four and Marvel Adventures Avengers, that Marvel recalls it's own colorful (and fun) past granting new readers a much- need jumping on point, and attempts to hook new readers with the magic that is Marvel comics.