In this version of the Marvel Universe, it is the present-day, Peter Parker is still 15 and is attending Midtown High, and he is a part-time freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle. This is the Marvel Adventure Universe. There is no sign of Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, or even Mephisto. In this comic the events of the day reflect classic Spider-man stories but occur in a modern time frame. True, these stories are essentially targeted for younger fans, but given the events of the current-day Amazing Spider-Man, this title is a welcome respite for many older fans.
Spidey vs. the Fantastic Four, what is this all about? Well, perhaps we should read on to find out what is occurring.
It is the end of an average day at Midtown High all the teens are rushing to get where they are going (mostly out of the building to be sure, this is, after all, High School). Still, not everyone is in a hurry to get off campus, as one student heads into the Men's room to change into costume. That person is none other than Peter Parker, who (interestingly enough) isn't changing into Spidey, but a Bavarian geek-lad.
Peter, you see, is a part of a group of kids who are playing at being in the UN. When Peter gets to the classroom where the after-school Model UN class is being held. As Peter enters the room he is not only greeted by all of the other kids (who are there already), but by a new child as well. The new kid is named Kristoff, a lad from Latervia who starts off his presentation by stati8ng that "America is evil." Before he can proceed, he is shouted down by the rest of the kids in the group.
It is only after the teacher stops the class from becoming physical, that Kristoff finishes his speech. He tells the students that the words "America is evil" are words that he has heard all his life, yet, now that he is here in America, he wants to learn more about America so he can bring the truth back to his people. It is this simple turn of his initial statement that turns the class around, and elicits a cheer from the children.
Naturally enough, Peter immediately befriends the young lad and the two of them wander off. The pair head towards Peter's house. When they get there, Aunt May is watching one of her soap operas, and even though she is initially irritated with Peter for interrupting her story, she recants as soon as she realizes that he has a friend, and then takes the time to explain the convoluted storyline of an American Soap to the Eastern European lad.
After changing into more conventional clothing, Peter takes Kristoff to Mid-town to show him the sights, and give him a feel for what America is really like. After spending several hours wandering through NYC, Kristoff reveals that what he really wants to know, is about American Heroes. Figuring that this is the best way to show him the good in the US of A, Peter brings him past the Baxter Building, where the FF live. It is here that Kristoff reveals that Emperor Doom thinks very little of American heroes. It is right here that Peter begins to sense something is amiss.
It is also when the FF make their grand entrance, only it is (much to Peter's surprise) they are they to apprehend and incarcerate Kristoff. Unwilling to believe that there is anything that could be so wrong with his new friend, that would require the intervention of the famed Fantastic Four, Peter changes into his Spider-Man costume in order to investigate further. As he did in Amazing, numerous years ago (real time), Spidey ascends the Baxter Building and breaks into FF HQ, only to be set upon by the building's security 'bots.
Easily dispensing with the 'bots, Spidey spots Kristoff, and sets about to free him, only to have the FF show up to attempt to stop him from doing so. As Spidey argues his case to his super friend, his foreign friend turns out to be a 'bot himself. Kristoff extends a series of mechanical tendrils, patches into the FF's computer systems, and begins to download info from the CPU. Then he transforms into a pint-sized Doombot. Realizing that he's made a tactical error, Spidey goes after Kristoff, in an attempt to stop him from performing a core-dump on the FF's Mainframe. The FF immediately joins the fray, as soon they are all going at in a huge melee in the Reed's lab.
As his family and Spidey are fighting Kristoff, Reed addressed himself to a tech way to stop the robot Kristoff, so while Spidey and the others are fighting the littlest evil 'bot, Reed figures out a way to shut down the neural inhibitors of the robotic felon's positronic brain, which (naturally enough) he does. Then, with Spidey's heal, they reprogram and reboot Kristoff, sending him on his way, with a brain full of subplots gleaned from May Parker's soap operas, and layered over info about the FF themselves. All of which interests (and one assumes, will eventually confound) Doom himself.
Ah, yet again, another very positive outing in the MA Universe. This one plays on the whole "Kristoff as Doom's son" storylines that have also surfaced in both the Regular and M2 Universes. The story is short, entertaining, and to the point. It hits all of the action and character points that make for a swell read, and gives us a nice neat little package that has a beginning middle and end. What more could you want in a story about your favorite hero?
Another reason why this is one of the finest Spider-titles that is currently being produced by the former house of Ideas.
Another good tale of our preferred hero as he shows off not only his humanity, but his brains, and fighting ability as well. This is why we love this character, he befriends the new kid, Kristoff, then stands by him until he realizes he's made a mistake, and then stands with his hero friends to stop a menace, ultimately utilizing both his scientific and knowledge of everyday life (coupled with his own unique, brand of wit) to solve a potential future threat,
There is new one-page of Chris Giarrusso mini-marvel strips at the end of this story, featuring the Skrulls. Unfortunately, Spidey is not in the strip.