Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #52

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Sit back, relax and enjoy yourselves, you are about to be thoroughly entertained. This is a world where Spider-Man is still a teen, only he doesn't live in some long ago era, but in the hi-tech world of right-now. He has been re-imagined for a modern sensibility only without all the grim and grittiness of that bygone day, but with all of the exciting nuances and fun from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. While it is true that these stories are targeted for a much younger audience than your typical Marvel Comic reader; it should be noted that there are plenty of "old timers" (and yes, I'm one) who were around back during those hey-day of that era who still find this title a refreshing breeze.

In this version of the Marvel Universe, it is present-day America, and Peter Parker is not only still attending Midtown High, but he (as always) is a part-time freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle, and we couldn't be happier.

In Detail...

"No Substitute"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #52
Aug 2009 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Nathan Cosby
Writer:  Marc Sumerak
Pencils:  Sanford Green
Inker:  Nathan Massengill
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Review

This story has been a long time in coming for this title. The teen-aged Spider-Man (finally) meets up with the adult Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew). Peter Parker's idea of a good time is to stay at the Library until closing time. As he exits the library and heads for home, he spots some suspicious activity occurring around a dark alleyway, switches into his Spidey-togs, and investigates.

What he finds is a group of men in dark outfits who reveal a plan to destroy all of Manhattan, something that would most assuredly be a bad thing for Spidey and his friends, so Spider-Man intercedes and brings down the terror cell in short order. However, on his way out of the building, he accidently picks up the wrong folder. Instead of picking up the folder with his biology report (which he put on a desk before changing into Spidey), he picks up a folder containing top secret information.

This little fact doesn't become noticed until the following day in school, when he realizes his error. Now, not only does he not have his homework, but he left a report with his name at the scene of a crime. Peter knows how totally screwed is as he enters his biology class. However, as he enters his classroom, his biology teacher, Mr. Wallace isn't there, and in his place is a substitute, Jessica Drew, who immediately collects the reports, and gives Peter detention for not having his work (much to the delight of his classmates).

After class, during his detention, Jessica reveals that she isn't really a substitute, and is, very interested in how Peter's report got at the scene of the crime. Totally freaked, Peter bolts from the classroom, and evades Jessica as he tries to make heads-or-tails of what is happening. However, in his haste to escape, he runs smack dab into another group of the black-clad terrorists who were planning on destroying Manhattan.

Before they can attack our hero, Jessica shows up, and delivers her own patented smack-down on the thugs, dragging a very surprised Peter away from the assault. Back in the classroom, Jessica reveals that she is really a secret agent on the trail of the cabal of terrorists, and is trying to help Peter. At this point, Peter turns over the Top Secret file over to Jessica, who determines that they had planted a bomb under the city.

It is at this point that Jessica peels off her civilian clothes, displaying her costume and revealing herself to be Spider-Woman. She shoves Peter in a closet, and then heads off to the site of the bomb. Not willing to be left out of the action, Peter switches into his own Spider suit, and follows Jessica into the sewers of NY, where he finds her battling more of the black-suited terrorists. The two heroes then team-up to beat down the terrorists and stop their plot to destroy the city. Spidey grabs up a water pipe and aims it at the terrorists' computer short-circuiting it and stopping the countdown. Spider-Woman then blasts a hole in the ceiling above them, allowing them to reach the surface with the captured terrorists. She attempts to get Spidey to stick around and give a statement, but he begs off, and ducks out.

As he makes his exit, Spider-Woman reveals that she is aware that Spidey is really Peter. Later on , when she makes her report to her supervisor, she tells him that Spidey escaped and she was unable to capture him. However, she states that Spidey is one of the good guys, and they don't have to worry about his involvement in the situation.

In General...

Yet another fine tale told is a straight-forward, simplistic fashion, allowing for a very enjoyable story. To be sure, telling a simple story is not a put-down, but high praise. The thing that makes this series work so well, is that every story is self-contained, and relies on its history to make the story readable, and doesn't require an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire 40+ year history to know what is going on in the tale itself. I especially enjoy how after Jessica deals with the terror cell, Peter confesses to her that she is now his favorite teacher.

Overall Rating...

As always, everyone is in pitch-perfect character and the story reads so well that it is enjoyable from start to finish.

Footnote...

Next month, the book is due to undergo a drastic visual makeover, heading in an all-new direction with Paul Tobin, Matteo Lolli, and Skottie Young.