Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

It is (so to speak) a brand new day in this comic, as the events of the day reflect classic Spider-man stories but occur in a modern timeframe. To be sure, these stories are essentially targeted for younger fans, but given the events of the current-day Amazing Spider-Man, this title is a welcome respite for many older fans who have taken refuge and comfort within its pages. In this version of the Marvel Universe, it is the present-day, Peter Parker is still 15, attending Midtown High, and is a part-time freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle. This, my friends, is the Marvel Adventure Universe.

In Detail...

"If I had a Hammer"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40 (Story 1)
Aug 2008 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Mark Paniccia
Writer:  Marc Sumerak
Artist:  Ryan Stegman
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Adventures Two-In-One #14
 Partially Reprinted In: Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #232

Our webbed hero crosses paths with the Norse godling, Enchantress, and becomes (you guessed it) ensorcelled by her. She grants him powers and abilities similar in nature to those of the Thunder god, Thor in (yet another) attempt by here to ascend to the throne of Odin, the lord of Asgard.

In General...

A day just like many other days in New York City, a mugging is going down, only this mugging is different than most because of two very interesting reasons. First, it is interrupted by our favorite hero, and second, the muggee is none other than the mortal form of the Enchantress, an Asgardian goddess. Well it seems that little miss Enchantress is here on Earth (after having been banished from her native Asgard for trying to usurp power from the All-Father Odin) to search for the Norn Stones that have been scattered to the four corners of earth (yeah, yeah, I know that Earth doesn't really have corners, but go with me on this one, OK?)

Anyways, even though she could have easily handled a simple (non-powered) mugger, before she got the opportunity to do so, our teen webbed hero swung down to her rescue, whupped the mugger, and returned to her the enchanted necklace. This done, the cougar-like Enchantress starts to be real forward that she wants to show her appreciation to Spidey, and well, as he himself admits, as tempted as he is by what this offer could possibly mean, young Peter is A) a good boy, and B) late for school, so he quickly skedaddles off.

By the time he arrives at school, he winds up receiving the last choice for a report on ancient civilizations, which is (surprise!) Norse Vikings. Needless to say, this is something that he finds less than thrilling, and which Flash Thompson finds hilarious. On his way home, Peter (now, obviously sans costume) crosses paths with his fair maiden, who still wants to reward him for helping her out earlier. This kind of wigs Peter out, because he can't figure out how she knows he is Spider-Man.

It is at this point that she reveals herself to be Amora, Daughter of the Realm Eternal, as well as the enchanted nature of both the necklace and herself as well. Being somewhat ensorcelled by all of this attention (as well as her magic), Peter allows himself to be spirited away to the Realm of Asgard with Amora. Next thing he realizes is that the two of them are standing on Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, with the land of the gods in the distance, and Heimdall faithfully guarding the entrance to the fabled city.

As can be expected, Heimdall refuses them entrance, but Amora isn't taking "no" for an answer, and tells Peter (now in his Spidey costume), to force Heimdall to let them in. Justifiably not so sure that he could take the Norse god in a fair fight, Spidey balks, only to have Amora plant a kiss on him, completely putting him under her spell. Thinking that he is invincible, Spider-Man mounts a full-frontal assault on the guardian of Asgard.

After a brief encounter, Spidey utilizing his webbing; trips up Heimdall and he and Amora slip into Asgard. Once inside, she immediately heads for the throne room and sits herself on Odin's throne. As you could expect, this doesn't sit so well with the other gods (including Balder, the Lady Sif, Fandral, Volstagg, and others), who pile into the throne room and demand she leave. Not at all interested in giving up the power of Odin, she slips the Norn Necklace over Spidey's head granting him the power of Thor (complete with his own helmet, cape and hammer).

Augmented by the power of Thor, Spidey manages to knock around the Asgardian warriors a bit until the real Thor shows up, who is understandably upset that the Enchantress has been using her powers to usurp his own. At Amora's command, Spidey engages Thor, only to have the Thunder god blast Spidey and Amora with his own powers. Lucky for our hero, the blast knocks the Norn stones off him allowing regaining his senses. Realizing that she is no match for both heroes, she tries to work her feminine wiles on Thor, only to find herself thrown unceremoniously in the royal dungeon.

With the immediate threat of the Enchantress dealt with the Norse warriors engage in a feast (as if these folk needed an actual reason to feast). They invite Spidey, who declines at first, but then remembers that he still has to develop a report on Norse Vikings, so Spidey decides to stick around. The next day at school, still decked out in his Norse helmet, he delivers an resound tale of epic battles to his class.

Overall Rating...

This story reads quite well as not only does it bring Thor (an old favorite of this reviewer's) into the story, but it recalls the days of Thor and his Asgardian minions revelry and mirth. On top of that, it as just plain fun. I have to tell you that the more I read these Marvel Adventure comics the more I recall how much fun comics used to be, before the era of "everything has to have relevance and a deeper meaning.

I mean I like gritty stories as much as the next fanboy, but there is something about the sheer simplicity of these stories that brings me back to the days of my youth. And you simply can't beat that with an Uru Hammer.

Footnote...

There is new one-page of Chris Giarrusso mini-marvel strips at the end of this story, featuring the Skrulls. However, even though, Spidey is not in the strip, it is still very entertaining.