Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man features terrific stand-alone stories of a classically themed Spider-Man, which are set in the modern-day world. Each story is set-up to evoke the look and feel of Stan Lee-style action, wrapped up a present-day art. Each story has no connection to other issues - other than that the recognizable elements of the Marvel Universe remaining the same (Pete is Spidey, JJJ runs the Bugle, etc.), and remains recognizable to even the most casual of readers). This all makes the comic series ideal for younger and/or new readers or even for older fans that are looking to read Spider-Man stories without having to deal with 45 years of continuity or the messy fallout of Marvel's recent Civil War event.
Spider-Man and Night Thrasher team up to take on The Jester who has abducted an entire TV studio audience of a children's show, while the show is on the air, and is demanding a ransom.
As we open this story, Spidey and Night Thrasher are at each others throats in the middle of a TV studio while The Jester (a poor man's Joker) is watching them on a monitor. Flashing back to the beginning of the story, we find Peter along with Julie Simms, a reporter for The Daily Bugle. Julie and Peter have been assigned to do a news article on Dwayne Michael Taylor, the dour head of the Taylor Foundation. Taylor who has just purchased the number one children's network in order to - as he says - "...expose children to more worthwhile and educational programming." You see, Taylor feels that there is just way too much silliness on TV these days, and he wants to do something about it.
Taylor is also not very impressed with Peter's professionalism, and lets him know about it in so many words. During the course of the pre-interview that is occurring in the lobby of the TV studio that Taylor just purchased, the Jester is breaking into the building's loading dock, and weaseling his way into the on-air studio. Just as Peter is about to take his shot, all of the actors, from the set pile out of the studio in an all-fire hurry.
As they rush off shouting about a take-over of the studio, both Taylor (who is secretly Night Thrasher) and Peter (who is secretly Spider-Man) rush off in different directions; each to change into their superhero togs. Meanwhile, inside the studio, Jester and his miniature army of toy robots have taken over the studio and are holding the children in the studio audience hostage.
Spidey and Thrasher both burst into the studio, attempting to stop Jester. Only they wind up getting both bested by jester and his robot hoard, as well as tripping over each other. Jester manages to toss both the heroes out of the window of the penthouse studio. Once they safely reach the ground, they argue over who did what and then, in an effort to better assess the situation, they both head off to Thrasher's secret lair.
Back at the Thrasher cave (or whatever he calls it) they pull up all the intel they have on the Jester and plan their next move. Back at the studio, Jester keeps trying to entertain the kids, but all he is doing is scaring them. When Thrasher leaves the room to whip up some device to help defeat Jester, Spidey realizes that he needs to reschedule Peter's photo shoot with Taylor and calls him up. Obviously, Taylor/Thrasher, who is in the next room, can't do the shoot now either, so quickly agrees.
Back at the studio, Jester is bombing worse than Leno on an off night and none to happy about it, when Spidery and Thrasher pop back in. However, to all appearances, they are still at odds with each other as their surprise attack quickly degenerates into yet another argument. Sick of their bickering, Jester gets ready to smack them both with pies, only the antics between the two heroes ultimately collapses into slapstick as they slip, trip, and fall over the pies and each other.
Frustrated beyond belief, Jester yells out "Fight me!" to which his robot minions do precisely that, and dogpile their master into the ground, thus ending his threat most dramatically. Even when he tries to set off the bomb he has planted, he learns that Thrasher has disarmed it while he was fighting off the robots.
The following day, Peter and Julie are back at the studio to finish the article and photo shoot. There Taylor demonstrates that he has (somehow) learned to loosen up (of course at Peter's expense).
Unfortunately, this has been my least-favorite issue of MA Spidey. The reason for that is that while the action all seemed in character. What I didn't understand is that both Spidey and Thrasher left the kids behind in the studio, held hostage by a crazy criminal, to recon back at the Thrasher cave. This part was just so badly written that I'm hoping that new writer Chris Kipiniak's work improves dramatically.
Overall, the story really doesn't work for me.
In normal continuity Taylor founded and subsidized the New Warriors, and was killed at the start of the Civil War event when Nitro blew up himself and much of downtown Stamford.