In a world of “Brand New Day” and “New Ways to Die”, it’s comforting to know that there are Spider-Man stories available that don’t require previous knowledge of anything webheaded other than that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Even that is closely covered in this Marvel Adventures tale.
The Marvel Adventures line is undoubtedly pointed towards a younger demographic, but that demographic belays the fact that the titles are truly offered as “all ages”, rather than “Elementary Spider-Man” or some such. That said, the title is light on continuity and even details about the characters. This might have some less informed readers scratching their heads a bit, but for folks that have followed the webhead, there is no data loss. Most folks grabbing this book would probably have some notion of the characters that surround Spidey, so that is a minimal concern at best.
The art is functional and in some parts enjoyable. In other areas, however, Ferreira almost gets tangled up in his obvious tribute to Todd McFarlane’s take on the world of Peter Parker. This makes for some nice visuals, but is also slightly distracting to me, as McFarlane’s Spidey was so very distinct from others. Ferreira does provide straight forward storytelling, with few exceptions.
The antagonist of the issue is Orka, an Atlantean baddie who is played up as a strongman with a Greenpeace influence. He shows up to try and liberate the captive animals of Oceana — a marine wildlife park akin to Sea World, right down to its star attraction Kantu, a killer whale. The story does not provide any background about Orka, but it does provide a foe that requires Spider-Man to use his wits and perform as only Spider-Man truly can.
This book manages to provide an enjoyable read that can be given to any reader who is interested in Spider-Man. It manages to do so with becoming saccharine or telling a story for elementary readers only. As a father who has recently started enjoying his own children’s interest in the four-color art form, this book will certainly become a staple of their comic reading library. On occasion, I might just check it out too, when I need a good, continuity-free, fun read.