Kate and Dan Read SPIDER-MAN 692

Kate walks into the bedroom, catches Dan “in the act”.

Kate: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???

Dan: What? Huh? Nuthin’!

K: No really, what the hell are you doing?

D: This is so embarrassing.

K: …

D: I’m trying to stick to walls like Spider-Man. ::flings SPIDER-MAN 692 onto the bed:: I got all into the Fifty Year Celebration Vibe, y’know?

K: You are so weird.

D: ::Throws himself at wall, falls down::

K: ::Pulls on her own Spider-Man mask:: Alright, let’s check this issue out!

D: ::stares::

K: What? I got it when I was a Mexican wrestler.

D: Of course.

K: ::peels off mask:: For a 50th Anniversary celebration I would have expected a Spidey retrospective. Some sort of “Peter Parker This Is Your Life!” Instead we got “Peter Parker, You’re A Mentor”. Not the flash back issue I was anticipating.

D: Writer extraordinaire Dan Slott introduces Andy Maguire, a character similar to Peter Parker in that he’s an awkward teenager who doesn’t really fit in, and gives him superpowers after a freak accident at Horizon Labs. Andy has many of the traits the reader can relate to: he has trouble getting noticed, both at home and at school; he harbors a secret crush on the “cute, nerdy” girl; and he gets picked on by the jocks. But the big difference between Andy and Peter? After getting his powers, Andy kind of turns into a jerk.

K: But really, wouldn’t we all?

D: Quiet, Jerky. Instead of letting the kid figure out his new powers on his own, our boy Peter Parker decides to take him under his wing. You see, Peter was giving the presentation at the lab and develops a serious case of guilt after the accident. Just like Captain America and Bucky, Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and Speedy, we now have SPIDER-MAN AND ALPHA!

K: “Green Arrow and Speedy?” Who in hell are Green Arrow and SPEEDY???

AND ANOTHER THING!

D: Here we go…

K: Back at Horizon Labs, Alpha is getting his super-powers tested out by all the big brains in the Marvel Universe: Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, The Beast, and… Giant Man? I thought Hank Pym was ANT-MAN? How can one guy be both Ant-Man AND Giant-Man?!? To this I say, “Choose a size, sir!” Can you imagine what his closet must look like? Tiny, tiny costumes hanging next to huge, giant size costumes. What happens if he grabs the wrong size costume? That could be very, very awkward,

D: ::rolls eyes:: You’re thinking about that too much. As I was saying, before you got sidetracked, Spidey takes the new superhero, Alpha, under his wing and shows him the ropes.

K: Yeah, yeah. I’m picking up what Mr. Slott is laying down. At this point in Peter’s life, he’s been around the block a few times. Now his character has grown and developed to the point where he’s able to teach Alpha a thing or two.

D: Yes. Yes, that’s it exactly and I can’t add anything else to it. But what did you think of the two other stories?

K: The short tribute to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and John Romita was kind of odd. A robber is running through an alley when he finds Spider-Man’s discarded costume in a trashcan. Then he puts it on? Didn’t his mom teach him not to take things out of the trash? Gross!

D: Dude, you’re missing the point. The robber learns that it takes more than a costume to be a hero. The latex suit doesn’t automatically make you a hero; it’s your actions that make you a hero.

K: Morality tale! Bah! Trash costume? I say, “Gross.” I’m moving on to the third story, which I liked. It was an excellent example of how Stan Lee wrote his superheroes. They weren’t smooth and flawless like the capes in the DC stories. Lee’s characters had flaws. In this story, Spider-Man rushes into a burning building only to find that the residents really don’t need to be saved. Then, a bird poops on his face.

D: You liked that part, didn’t you?

K: YES! Especially when The Thing shows up and makes fun of him. Why isn’t Ben Grim in more stories? I guess the artists don’t like having to draw all of those tiny, tiny stones on The Thing’s body. Maybe if The Thing wore clothes more often that wouldn’t be a problem for the artist. Anyway, my favorite part of the final story is when the Web Slinger befriends the kid being bullied.

D: No doubt! The final story, “Just Right” by Joshua Fialkov and Nuno Plati nails it. Spidey always works best with a healthy dose of comedy and heart. While Pete is have a day loaded with the “Ol’ Parker Luck” and starts to get down on himself, he meets a kid that needs more than just a hero; he needs a friend.

K: Right! Peter Parker is always looking out for the awkward kids that need a friend. That’s why Spider-Man has been a mainstay on the comic book shelves for the past 50 years. The readers of the comics could relate to Peter Parker, realize that they aren’t alone, and that Spider-Man is on their side.

D: Yeah well, Spidey is my best friend.

K: Uh uh! Spidey is MY best friend!