Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #36

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

If you love your girlfriend and/or wife, if even on your worst day alive you would never ever even consider the possibility of making a deal with the devil (no matter what the preferred or presumed outcome of such a deal would possibly net you), then you want to be reading this comicbook.

If you love Peter (Spider-Man) Parker as a teen, living in the modern world (replete with personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, and the like) fighting classic Marvel Age characters (Sandman, Green Goblin, Doc Ock, The Rhino, heck, even a re-imagined Venom); If you want to see Aunt May alive (not some magicked-up version that editorial doesn't feel the need to explain); If you want or read some wicked-cool, mad-fun, pure pleasure Spider-Man adventures. Then you need to buy this comic, because that is what is going on between the covers of this book.

Good clean, Spidey fun, with no stink of Mephisto.

In Detail...

"The Good Son"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #36 (Story 1)
Apr 2008 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Fred Van Lente
Artist:  Corry Hamscher, Terry Pallot
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #10
 Partially Reprinted In: Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #252

As the story starts out we witness the Green Goblin delivering a serious beat down to our friendly neighborhood Spidey-guy, only as we progress through the story, we realize that it not only isn't really the Goblin delivering the beating, it really isn't our webbed little buddy that is actually on the receiving end of it either. As it turns out that the faux Goblin is really Harry Osborn not his villainous dad, Norman.

As it turns out, young Harry is simply wearing his father's Goblin costume and training on a virtual reality machine, while dad is rotting away in prison. The conflicted Harry is attempting to make up his father's intolerance and disappointment in him by breaking him out of prison, and, as it turns out, today is the day that it all comes down. Needless to say, what Harry doesn't really understand is that his mean-spirited father will never be satisfied with whatever Harry does...but we'll get there ol' friends, well get there.

Meanwhile, as Harry is putting the finishing touches on his new Goblin chops, J. Jonah Jameson, and his erstwhile cub photographer Peter Parker are at the prison getting ready to interview Norman Osborn, only first, they have to remove all metal objects from their pockets as they are required to pass through a metal detector first. This is a problem for JJJ as he is such a skinflint that he doesn't want to give up his change and for Peter because he is wearing his metal web shooters under his street clothes.

Jonah finally gives up his change, while Pete hides his web shooters in his back pack which he leaves behind. As they are preparing to go into the Prison, Pete realizes that even though he has sent many crooks and supervillains to this place, he has never been inside himself. He briefly recalls how he became spidey, and then imagines all the super-baddies that are probably incarcerated here. Once they are finally divested of all metal objects they proceed to the interview room, where Jameson attempts to get Osborn to admit that he was in cahoots with Spidey all along. As can be expected (by everyone in the room except for JJJ, this sends Osborn into a fit of rage, necessitating him to be subdued by the guard and his stun baton.

While this is going on, Harry gets his Goblin on and heads out towards the prison. As he comes in low over the prison walls, he is spotted by a couple of guards who sound the alarm. As the alarm goes off the guards begin to gather up Osborn and hustle the journalists out the door. Only they don't get too far, as "New Goblin" comes crashing in the room, tossing around pumpkin bombs.

One bomb hits peter's satchel and explodes, causing Pete's Web Shooters to explode, and covers everyone with web fluid, causing them (guards, and Osborn, Sr.) to be stuck in place. The gate guards begin to gather up the yard convicts only to have the only bridge to the island prison destroyed. As JJJ attempts to make a deal for his freedom, Peter slips into a side room to change into Spidey. Needing a distraction New Goblin ducks out to the cellblock and releases the prisoners, who immediately head for the Vault area in order to release the supervillains.

Realizing that he simply can't allow that, Spidey rushes past Goblin, and heads to the cell block to stop the rioting prisoners. As he descends into the fray, he is engulfed by a wave of prisoners who are attempting their own beat-down on our webbed hero. Feeling that he's done a good thing, Young Goblin hurries back to dad to inform of the wondrous thing that he's done. Only his nefarious father is enraged that anyone besides him would have the glory of destroying his arch nemesis.

Rebuked by his father Harry hustles back to the cell block, not to join in the beat-down, but to rescue Spidey form the onslaught of convicts. In the ensuing melee Spidey and the Goblin beat back all of the prisoners. When asked why he helped, the Goblin indicates that he realized that he was doing things for the wrong reason, and wanted a second chance to make everything right again.

In General...

This story puts an interesting twist on the father/don dynamic that has been going on with the Osborn family for years in virtually every other Spidey-themed comic, and it has the effect of spinning this plotline into new and clever ways. Needless to say, this p[lot will probably never be touched on again, as this title has a habit of never having stories go beyond a single issue.

Still, that should not dissuade you from thoroughly enjoying it, as it still was fun, to the point, and blooming with spot-on characterization. Just goes to show what writers can accomplish without the undue burden of overbearing editorial interference.

Overall Rating...

Love this stuff, great art, smooth story, no Mephestio, what more could you ask? (Except for perhaps MJ and/or Gwen.)

Footnote...

There is a one-page Chris Giarrusso mini-marvel strip at the end of this story that continues the Iron Man storyline that has been occurring at the back of several Marvel comics this past month or so.