Comics : Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #56

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

In this comic, our sturdy her Peter (Spider-Man), Parker is not only still a teen, but he lives in the hi-tech, modern world of right now. Yes, this series has re-imagined Spidey for today’s modern sensibility without all of the grim and grittiness that today’s comics sport. Still, it retains all of the exciting nuances and straight-up fun from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. True, 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” (like this reviewer) who find this title a refreshing breeze.

In Detail...

"Vigilantes"
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #56
Dec 2009 : SM Title
Summary: New Adventures of Spider-Man as a teen
Editor:  Nathan Cosby
Writer:  Paul Tobin
Pencils:  Matteo Lolli
Inker:  Christian Dalla Vecchia
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Review

Captain Stacy and several of New York’s Finest are at the NYC Port Authority bus terminal arresting a number of criminals and questioning witnesses. Apparently a pair of super-powered teens (Cloak and Dagger) descended upon the terminal and attacked a pair of chickenhawks who were attempting to abduct a pair of young boys who just got off the bus. The sudden appearance of Cloak and Dagger threw the terminal into turmoil as they proceed to mop the place up with the two chickenhawks.

Once the deed was done, chickenhawks ‘port out of the terminal leaving the thugs behind for the cops to clean up. Not used to dealing with “capes” Captain Stacy reaches out to contact someone he knows who might have better luck in that arena. Across town Peter Parker is having lunch with Chat in a rooftop garden (a site that was “acquired” for them, by Chat’s friend Emma). Chat really likes Peter and nearly tells him that not only can she talk to animals, but that she knows he is Spidey.

Before she can, however, Pete receives Captain Stacy’s phone call. Stacy asks for Peter to “locate” Spidey so he can help with the Captain’s unique problem. Peter reluctantly agrees, makes his excuses to Chat, and ducks out to become Spidey. After some web-swinging across Manhattan (during which time he “persuades” several hoods to help him locate Cloak and Dagger), unfortunately, he is unable to do so.

Meanwhile Chat calls Emma to tell her friend about her day. During the call, Cloak and Dagger appear outside Chat’s window. During the course of the call, Spidey swings past Chat’s apartment to discover Cloak and Dagger hiding out on the balcony below Chat’s. This results in the requisite fight between them during which Cloak recount’s Chat’s past to Spidey as Cloak and Dagger think Spidey kidnapped Chat, and Spidey believes that Cloak and Dagger are there to harm his friend.

As the fight progresses, Chat and her animal friend jump in on the side of Spidey. This gets the attention of the mutant pair of rescuers, who then stop to hear Chat’s explanation of why a) she is not in danger; b) Spidey is not a bad guy; and c) she doesn’t need rescuing. Satisfied with her answers, Cloak and Dagger vanish. Leaving Spidey with Chat who offers him some of the Pie that Peter had to take a pass on ealier because of Captain Stacy’s call.

In General...

An interesting thing is happening with this title as it creates its own chronology while building on the previously established history of Spidey. The introduction of Cloak and Dagger, plus in this episode we see Emma acquire her “White Queen” outfit. In the Classic Spider-man, Captain Stacy suspected and eventually knew about Peter’s dual identity, but never capitalized on it, here they seem to be exploring a different venue, which is proving to lead an interesting direction.

It is also clear that there are plans afoot for both Chat and Emma as well as for Spidey and Chat. That all of this is leading the series into a decidedly different direction than Classic Spidey is not at all upsetting to this long-time Spidey reader, and will hopefully lead to some new and different on-going stories that will in turn allow writers to explore “what-if” scenarios that last longer than a single issue.

Again, I’m not entirely sure that I’ll enjoy/approve of the direction that this series takes, but Stan knows that I certainly don’t approve of the direction that Classic Spidey is currently taking these days.

Overall Rating...

The stories retain enough of my memory of who Spidey is (was) while adding new, different, and entertaining modern-day elements to the story without detracting what has occurred. The stories are simple and entertaining, while making the character accessible to a new (younger) audience.

If only Marvel could figure out a way to successfully market the series to its intended audience.

Footnote...

Interested readers can go to marvel.com/blogs/NathanCosby for an exclusive preview of Marvel Adventures Superheroes #17.