Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

This is the most perfect comicbook that Marvel currently publishes. The reason is simple, if you simply love Spider-Man, and want to read his carefree adventures without the added weight of having to retain over 45 years of (often conflicting) continuity, then yea, you need to read this book.

In Detail...

"Monster Mash"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20 (Story 1)
Dec 2006 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Peter David
Pencils:  Mike Norton
Inker:  Norman Lee
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #20
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #12

It is Halloween, and the Monster Frankenstein is on the prowl. How can Spidey take him down? Well, perhaps the bowman Avenger Hawkeye can lend a hand.

In General...

As the comic opens up, Frankenstein is standing over the unconscious body of Spidey and about to pile drive the unconscious body of Hawkeye into him as a gym full of Midtown High students look on in horror. From here we flash back to the previous morning, as we see Peter Parker starting his day at Midtown High. As he opens his locker, he is startled by Flash (who is not in costume) and Liz (who isn't). They tell Peter that they are going to the big dance after school and wonder if he is coming. As usual, Peter begs off.

From here we cut to a warehouse across town (later that day) where a bunch of shady-looking characters are offloading a very large crate. They are interrupted by none other than Hawkeye who wants them to surrender to him, and turn over the crate. As he is confronting them, Spider-Man is swinging overhead, and hearing the ruckus that is going on within the warehouse, decides to investigate.

Inside, Hawkeye is taking on the thugs by firing an arrow that has a head that emits a sleep gas on contact, knocking out the entire crew, only to fall victim to his own success when one of the thugs driving a forklift crashed into a pillar supporting the balcony on which he is standing. As he is falling over the edge, he himself is rescued by Spider-Man.

When Spidey and Hawkeye go to investigate what was in the crate thea the thugs were moving they find none other than the body of the Monster Frankenstein. Moreover, once the crate is open, Frankenstein comes back to life, and attacks the two heroes. Needless to say, the enraged monster makes short work of them; ands then stalks off into the night.

As luck would have it; it is Halloween, and no one really takes much notice of a seven-foot monster parading down the streets of the city. As people see the monster, they simply laugh him off, or are impressed by the thoroughness of his costume. Eventually, he makes his way to Midtown High's Halloween night bash. Crashing into the gym's hall, the kids are not frightened by him, but seek to make him comfortable as they think that his costume is simply mad- cool. Offered a cup of punch by Liz in her witch costume, the monster accepts it and actually smiles.

Back at the warehouse, Spidey and Hawkeye finally manage to dig themselves out of the pile of rubble under which they've been buried. Frantic to save innocents from the rage of the monster, they hurry out to find him. As they manage to track him down, Frankenstein is dancing the night away at the High School. When Frankenstein sees Flash dressed in a cheep Spidey knock-off costume he remembers his clash with the real Spidey, and starts to go off on the football star.

After he tosses a hapless Flash into the punchbowl, Hawkeye once more sets upon the Transylvanian monster. Hawkeye uses another of his trick arrows to freeze the monster in a block of ice, thinking that will slow him down, only Frankie breaks out and hoist the archer over his head. It is now that the real Spidey bursts into the gym and uses a fallen fire arrow to force Frankenstein back, and away from Hawkeye. Revived, the archer grabs up other flair arrows and the pair of heroes use them to force the monster to flee the building. Frankenstein flees back to the docks and frightens a bunch of dockworkers, before an explosion arrow of Hawkeye's blows out a section of the dock, and dumps the monster into the river. Thinking that he has to surface sometime, Spidey and Hawkeye stake out the dock, waiting for him to come up for air. Only it is the next morning and Frankenstein doesn't come up, apparently not needing to breath, he has found something approaching tranquility on the seabed with the fishes.

Overall Rating...

OK, nothing is sillier than a Frankenstein story set at Halloween. It is for stories like these that this series will always succeed. It is fresh, simple, entertaining, and not afraid to be campy, everything that a classic Silver Age, Stan Lee-style superhero story should be. No other explanation is necessary.

Footnote...

If are looking to introduce someone to Spidey (or just want to have some fun yourself), then this is the comic that you want to show him or her. It is with this comicbook series, that Marvel recalls it's own light-hearted past and granting new readers a much-need jumping on point, and giving long-time readers a chance to remember what brought them into the fold into the first place.

This issue also has a one-page Mini-Marvel story by Chris Garrusso, staring Spidey and the Avengers.