Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #32

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Featuring a series of unconnected classically-themed stories of a teenaged Spider-Man that are set in the modern-day, rather when we first actually met him back in '62, this series is developed to evoke the look and feel of a Stan Lee-style action tale, wrapped up and delivered in a contemporary art package.

Spider-Fans who have fallen away over the years due to the messy fallout of Marvel's Civil War Event or even the recent Mephisto Incident) will most assuredly enjoy this series. For many, this series is fast becoming a refuge of sorts form the ugliness of those corporate storylines. So, if you are interested in returning to the Spider-fold (and read Spider-Man stories without having to deal with the weight of 45 years of continuity or editorial malfeasance) this is the series for you.

In Detail...

"Submerged"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #32 (Story 1)
Dec 2007 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Peter David
Pencils:  Pop Mhan
Inker:  Norman Lee
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #6
 Reprinted In: Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #235

Spider-Man goes up against Hydro-Man.

In General...

As we open up, we see Spidey standing on what appears to be a beach, facing off against a very angry Hydro-Man. Cut to an ordinary day in the life of an (extra)ordinary teen photographer for a great metropolitan newspaper. Peter is out in front of City Hall where a political rally is being held by an eco-friendly politico (Senator Arnold) who is running for office while preaching the values of ecology-minded government and the dangers of global warming.

Just as the rally gets going, Peter is confronted by [[J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the Daily Bugle (and Peter's boss) who scolds Pete for being there taking photos of some crack-pot tree-hugging politician when he should be snagging pics of "that web-crawling menace" (as JJJ like to put it). Pete objects and says that Robbie Robertson (City editor for the Bugle) assigned the teen to the story (and besides, Pete thinks to himself, he wants to do something other than take pictures of himself as Spidey fighting criminals).

As Senator Arnold goes on with his speech, Peter's Spider sense starts to buzz as he notices that there is water starting to flood the area where the rally is being held. Suddenly, the trickle of water becomes a tsunami as an enormous wave engulfs City Hall. Washing away many of the people at the rally, including Jameson, who is rescued from his plight by none other than Spider-Man himself (something he understandably hates).

After depositing JJJ on a rooftop where others have gathered, Spidey tries to figure out what is going on. Meanwhile Jonah begins yelling at our hero, taking his usual tact of blaming Spidey for the problem. To shut him up, Spidey webs his mouth shut just as Hydro-Man makes his appearance in the form of a huge anthropomorphic wave. Unwilling (or unable) to keep quiet, JJJ pulls the webbing (and part of his mustache) off, and resumes yelling at Spidey, who again webs him quiet.

Hydro-Man begins to make his case: he points out that as an island, Manhattan is surrounded by water, and thus Hydro-Man is holding the entire city hostage and demands $50 million as his payoff. The city has 24 hours or he will turn it in the world's biggest water park. As Hydro-Man recedes, one of the hostages accuses Spidey of doing nothing whereupon he challenges her to go punch out a wave and see what happens. JJJ manages to pull off the webbing again (along with the rest of his mustache) to resume his rant against Spidey. Spidey simply ignores him and begins discussing the situation with the politician as they explore their options.

Back at the Bugle JJJ asks Robbie to show him the headline for the next day's paper, which reads "Hydro-Man Blackmails City." Jonah (naturally) wants Robbie to rip it out and replace it with one ridiculing Spidey. Next we cut to a scene where Peter is walking home from school, reading the Bugle bemoaning his life with all the troubles he's seen.

He is stopped and pulled from his reverie by a patrolman who informs him that a power line is down and the scientist in Peter can't help but to notice that the live wire from the downed line is lying in a puddle of water, which gets him to thinking how he can best Hydro-Man.

Next we see Spidey walking down the length of a pier with a briefcase calling out to (taunting, really) Hydro-Man to come and get it (him). He is rewarded with the appearance of the water-logged thug, who knocks Spider-Man over, and swipes the briefcase from him. Thinking he got away with something Hydro-Man begins to gloat, only to have the briefcase pop open and deliver him a spring-loaded pie to the face.

Enraged, Hydro-Man assumes a human form and follows our webbed hero into a nearby warehouse. As Hydro-Man advances on an unusually taciturn Spidey who is standing in the middle of the warehouse, the brainless thug begins to fathom that he is walking into a trap. Only it is too late because, Spidey tricked the sodden villain (as it turned out, the "fake" spidey was real McCoy, and the one Hydro-Man thought was real turned out to be a webbed up dummy that with live wires running through it).

Needless to say, the saturated thug is jolted into unconscious and suitable for capture. Spidey winds up being awarded a medal by Senator Arnold. Adding to the sweetness of his victory, since Peter is not there to snap photos, JJJ is forced to cover the event by himself and take pictures of Spidey being hailed as a hero. What could be better than that?*

Overall Rating...

This stuff is fun, light-hearted and (since it isn't considered as part of Spidey-Cannon) doesn't involve ham-handed, editorial-mandated, mystically-charged retcons and thus is thoroughly enjoyable to read. My advice to all Spider-fans that are upset over what is going on in Amazing Spider-Man is that they should get their monthly fix by reading this title and The Amazing Spider-Girl (another fine Spider-title that features the one, true Spider-Man within its pages).

Footnote...

All of which brings up (on a personal note) a curiosity from this long-time Spider-Fan, why it was important to dissolve Peter and MJ's marriage in such a haphazard and cavalier a manner when it probably would have been simpler to have simply to have spent more effort promoting this series as an alternative to whatever was going on the regular title for anyone (including Joe Q) who wanted to read stories of an un-wed Peter Parker.

This story also contains one-page of a longer Mini Marvels storyline, parts of which have appeared in other Marvel comics this month. This panel has Johnny Storm form the [Fantastic Four trying (unsuccessfully) to be accepted as a member of the Avengers. Spidey is seen sitting at the Avengers table, as a member of that August Body of Heroes.

*Oh, wait, I know what could be better! Not having Peter Parker and MJ's marriage arbitrarily retconned out of existence!