When Marvel Age Spider-Man #1 came out a few months back, myself and various others were rather confused as to why the first issue of that title re-told the story of Amazing Spider-Man #2. I can possibly understand why they might have skipped Amazing Fantasy #15, since the tale of Uncle Ben's death might have been a bit too violent for the target market. Heh, well, let's just ignore the fact that most eight year old American kids have already seen several hundred murders on TV, and pretend that the violence was the problem.
Still, even if we allow the AF #15 being skipped, why start with #2? The answer has now become clear of course, with the first issue of Marvel Age Spider-Man Team-Up re-telling that classic tale involving the Fantastic Four. Subsequent issues in this title will pick and choose other Spider-Man team-up stories from different eras, relying heavily on tales from Marvel Team-Up, but not in any strict order.
So, this issue we get the Chameleon story which appeared as "Spider-Man vs. the Chameleon!" in the second half of ASM #1. Oh, hang on, what about the first story... when do we get the Marvel Age version of Spidey rescuing Jonah's space ship capsule? D'oh!
Spidey swings home after a tough night rescuing people from muggers, robbers, etc. Of course, guard dogs and kids abused and attacked him. Gosh, it's tough being Spidey. Aunt May doesn't seem worried that Peter is home so late, she's baked an apple pie. Peter, however, is more intrested by a newspaper article about the Fantastic Four!
Meanwhile, the Chameleon is sneaking around getting access to some super-secret base, he's scored an ID card, and now has access to the secret formula he has been hired to steal. But wait! He needs a fall-guy. Spidey!
Spidey breaks into the Fantastic Four's mansion, which takes up ten pages or so, including lots of squabbling amongst the four. Spidey get's trapped by Sue's force field, and asks for a job. Reed explains the non-profit thing, which always seemed like a cop-out to me, since they live in relative luxury, hell, just think of the value of their New York apartment block!
As Spidey leaves, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. informs the four that Spidey just stole the SS-542 formula. But hey, no, he was with the Fantastic Four! Off they go in the fantasticar, pick up Spidey, and head to the warehouse. Lots of shinannigans occur with two Spideys, one real, one fake. Then Ben has the idea to drop them both off a tall building and see which one has real webs. Heh, nice idea. The Chameleon confesses!
I really don't like the Marvel Age stuff. I have so much respect for those early stories, it really bugs me to see them hacked up like this. What's worse, there's just something about the stories that makes them seem a bit "dumbed-down" in the retelling. The fonts are larger, the colors are brighter and less subtle, the scripts are far more glib...
I guess that this stuff is working for Marvel, and that lots of kids are reading it. Nothing else would explain why these Marvel Age titles are being pumped out so fast and furiously. I'm gonna nudge up the rating a little just to compensate a little for the fact that they must be reaching the target market. But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it!
Myself, I'd give this one web, but for the benefit of the invisible fans out there that surely must exist given the prolific publishing schedule, I'll nudge it up to two webs. But that's my limit!