Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #21

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

If you are following Marvel's regular line of comics that are currently embroiled in the Civil War Event then, by reading this title I can assure you that you - as am I when I read the title - will be magically transported back to the halcyon days of early Marvel comics, when everything was wonderful and lighthearted. It is, quite simply, the purity and simplicity of the stories delivered by Marvel Adventures, Spider-Man infused with that "gosh wow" approach its writers have taken with each issue that, quite literally make this the most perfect comicbook that Marvel Comics currently publishes.

In Detail...

"Fashion Victims!"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #21
Jan 2007 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Fred Van Lente
Pencils:  Michael O'Hare
Inker:  Cory Hamscher
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Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #21
 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #21 ($2.50 Pre-Priced Reprint)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #13

It is "Stupid Villain Day" in the Marvel Adventure Universe, or so it seems when our hapless teen hero is beset by the likes of Stilt Man, Rocket Racer, and Leap-Frog. Well, more to the point, a bunch of losers have managed to hook up with The Tinkerer, and purchased his cast off prototype supervillain suits. During the subsequent encounter with the Tinkerer, Spidey comes into contact with the "living metal" that forms the basis of his new (Black) smart suit.

In General...

While swing through the steal canyons of Manhattan, Spider-Man happens across the fleeing form of the Rocket Racer, who is attempting to make good his escape after knocking over a bank. During their brief scuffle, the Racer - utilizing his mini-missiles - manages to blow Spidey through a wall and disappear. While Spidey is recovering from the blow he notices an engraving on one of the unexploded missiles. Then he hears a TV report of a man in a super suit above Park Ave. Thinking that this is his guy, Spidey jumps back out the apartment window and heads towards the action.

Only when he arrives, he discovers that it isn't Rocket Racer, but Stilt- Man who is robbing people 60 floors above the ground. Needless to say, when Spidey arrives, he employs nothing more sophisticated to bring down this foe, than a simple leg in front of one of Stilty's legs, causing the extra-tall villain to, well trip and fall. It is then that Spidey notices the same monogrammed "T" on the back of Stilt-Man's suit that was on the Racer's missile. It is then that the webbed one is pounded by Leap-Frog, who uses Spidey's head as a trampoline and bounces off him a couple of times as Froggy attempts to help Stilty escape.

Spider-Man lands a haymaker on Froggy who only manages to, er, bounce back and tackle Spidey, knocking him into a truck. This puts our hero down for the count, and the two felons escape. Back at their hide-out, the three are counting their loot, and feeling pretty good about themselves that all managed to get away from Spidey, when Froggy realizes that perhaps they weren't so lucky. You see, Spider-Man managed to place one of his Spidey tracers on Froggie's costume which lead the hero straight to the crooks. They all turn around and notice Spidey hanging upside down from the ceiling and they try to run all over again. Only this time, however, they have all removed part of all of their costumes, and are more easily subdued by Spider-Man, who webs them all to the wall.

It is here that Spidey learns that this mysterious Tinkerer contacted all three of these Internet geeks and offered them free use of the suits. Spidey manages to convince them to introduce him to the Tinkerer (with Peter thinking that he is tired of fighting criminals that are dorker than him). When they take Spidey over to the Tinker's shop, he somehow manages to talk the old man into believing that Spidey is going over to the dark side (due mostly to his constant negative press in The Daily Bugle.

Only it turns out not so much, as the three suits begin attacking Spidey. Turns out the Tinkerer is as easily fooled as the lunk-headed lackeys that he bestowed his technology on, and is accessing their suits by remote control to deliver a beat-down to Spider-Man. From here we learn that all along, the Tinkerer was just using the three goons (and now Spider-Man) to market his super suits to wealthy crooks. SO, with the crime lords watching remotely, the Tinkerer uses his hi-tech creations to beat the stuffings out of our hero. Spidey does manage to slip away (by grabbing a hold of the Racer's skateboard, and jumping off in a different part of Tinkerer's junkyard). It is here that, while taking refuge in a workshop/shack that Spidey discovers the Tinkerer's Smart Stealth Cloth. The cloth is actually a liquid that is being stored in a vat. As Spidey gets closer to investigate, the "cloth" leaps out at him, and completely engulf him, taking on the persona of Peter's Spider motif, it fashions itself into a black version of his costume. Right about now, the Tinkerer's hi-tech, electronic thralls locate the workshop in which Spidey had hidden, and are closing in on him. Only when the burst into the shop, he is no longer there.

Still the losers that they always were, it never occurs to ever look up, as Spidey reveals that he is hiding in the rafters, and he snakes a webbing at all three of them as they b0lt for the door, spooked by the black costume. Spidey manages to web them all up, and then corners the Tinkerer. Seeing that the Tinkerer has failed to defeat Spider-Man, all of the crime lords sign off, and the Tinkerer himself goes to peaces, revealing that he was just a very sophisticated robot. This leaves our hero in possession of a new Black costume.

Overall Rating...

High marks for this episode, as it manages to introduce us to the black suit without the debacle of (yet another) Secret War. What I wespecially lioked best about this particular story is the way writer Fred Van Lente took a trio of half-baked villains, and held them up for what they have always been, half- baked knucklehead, villains. Plus, we have the added treat of getting Spidey into his legendary Black suit with plenty of lead-time for Spider-Man 3. (By the time the film is out, it is a sure bet that virtually all of the Spider- titles will have May's favorite nephew in the suit.)

Footnote...

This is a great way to introduce young readers to Spider-Man. For it is with this (and the other Marvel Adventure) titles, that Marvel recalls it's colorful past and grants new readers a much-need jumping on point, while attempts to hook new readers with the magic that is Marvel comics.

This comic also has an 8-page back up entitled A New Light that ties into the daytime TV soap opera I Guiding Light. The story (which also stars the New Avengers, and a new incarnation of the Sinister Six with Doc Ock, Sandman, Venom, Boomerang (Brock), Hydro Man) has the heroes traveling to Springfield (where the TV show takes place) to learn about the presence of a new super- powered being. The five villains are attempting to recruit the new heroine (named Guiding Light). The Avengers beat off the Six, and offer Light an Avenger's Priority Card and an offer to help her out should she ever need it.