Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #5

 Posted: 2005


This title is essentially one part Spidey as a teen Marvel Age: Spider-Man one part Ultimate Spider-Man (That is to say, a modern re-interpretation of the character), and two parts classic Spider-Man making it something just shy of a continuity implant. However, in this title, all bets are off, as the series is off and running with its unique experimentation of casting a classic version of Spidey set in a more modern age that has the feeling of old continuity retro-fitted into Spidey's history, yet, hold no real impact on the current incarnation of Spidey (which, of course, gives it a much better fan buzz than the the John Byrne attempt, Spider-Man: Chapter One.

As this issue opens up, Electro is pouring over a copy of The Daily Bugle, and ranting in classic Marvel style over his numerous (and well-documented) losses to Spidey. Yep, he's having a full on nutty, and planning a way to get even with our webbed hero. Thus, in classic style, Spidey has to worry not only about defeating this screwball villain, but he has to tangle with the bullies at Midtown High, and try and pry money out of his publisher at The Bugle.

Story 'Power Struggle'

Across town, Peter Parker is attending Midtown High, and being unmercifully provoked by Flash Thompson and Ox. (Even though he is not identified as such, the drawing makes it clear that this is Ox, who appears as a Midtown High School student in Ultimate, but not in Amazing. See, I told you that it was a little bit Classic and a little bit Ultimate.)

After school, Peter wanders over to The Daily Bugle to see if he can wrangle a photo assignment from J. Jonah Jameson. Naturally enough, ol' J.Jonah Jameson informs Pete that he isn't a charity and that Pete should show initiative and look for his own assignments.

Just then Electro blasts through the window of Jameson's window, and brag about his next caper, which is that he is going to take control of the city and he wants The Bugle to print an exclusive account of his exploits. After he leaves, Jonah tells Pete to go out and snap pics of the event. Pete quickly ducks out and climbs into his Spidey togs, then swings out into Times Square, wondering how he will find Electro.

Just then, the electric one's face blossoms to life on the IMAx-size screen in the middle of Times Square, announcing his intentions. Spidey hitches a ride on a passing police chopper, which heads out towards Electro's location. Only when it gets there, Electro (who has hard-wired himself into the main generator) shoots it out of the sky.

Knowing he has to do something, Spidey leaps off the chopper, and -- affixing himself to the side of the building -- shoots out a heavy web net to snare and rescue the chopper and the police inside. Once he has seen to the safety of the cops, Spidey turns his attention to Electro, and lands a haymaker on his gree-clad foe, only to learn that while wired up as he is, Electro is nearly impervious to Spidey's blows. Electro knocks Spidey through the skylight into the generator housing room below them.

Looking to finish our hero off, Electro follows Spidey inside. Looking for a way to stop the villain, Spidey enlists the aid of Bill, the plant foreman. Spidey's plan it to pump even more juice through Electro in an effort to overload his body's ability to conduct electricity. So while Spidey goads Electro into fighting him, Bill manages to pop the circuit that channels even more power through Electro which essentially pops his internal circuit breaker and knocks him out.

As the cops come to collect the now unconscious Villain, Spidey snaps off a couple of picture of Electro to sell to Jameson. The next day, Pete's photo is on the cover of The Bugle, and even though Flash and his band of goons continue to razz Pete and cite the bravery of Spider-Man. Liz Allan tells Flash to give Pete a break and leave him alone. Flash responds that how could he possible respect Pete when there were real heroes like Spidey. As Pete walks away, he realizes that the ultimate irony is that he was Spider-Man, and wouldn't that just fry Flash's tiny brain.

General Comments

While I really do like this title, I'm not entirely sure that I'm a fan of Patrick Scherberger's stylish pencils (sort of a cross between Magna and cartoony animation). Sure Sean McKeever's stories do harken back to the simple stories of my youth, displaying the flat-out, unencumbered fun of those by-gone days, but on some levels the art is becoming something of a distraction to me.

Overall Rating

Three plain webs.


Needless to say, seeing a teenaged Spidey in action is straight-up action tales, that cling to the heart of who the character is without any of the twisted and (sometimes) convoluted storylines of the present day, is a whole load of fun. Therefore, if you are a spider-fan wanna-be looking for a jumping- on point into the Spidey legend, or have a friend (or child), you are trying to introduce to the Webbed one, then this truly is the series that you want to pitch to them. Over the years, this reviewer has often complained that Marvel has forgotten both the casual and new (or young) reader. This title goes a long way to resolving that gripe.

 Posted: 2005