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Adventures of Spider-Man: Spectacular Foes Review

Kids 8 to 12 will eat this up!

The catchy opening music to your favorite cartoon, the voice of Spider-Man in the animated series, the clean lines and use of fists to solve every problem…when it comes to nostalgia, some of the simplest things stay with you. Marvel Comics is releasing their 1996 to 1997 series Adventures of Spider-Man #7 through #12 this week in comic shops, which was their attempt at kids comics in the ’90s. This last half of the series offers classic foes and fan favorites like Venom, but is it good?

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Awesome animated-style adventures of the amazing arachnid in battle with some of his greatest foes! In this second serving of Spidey slugfests, Spider-Man gets a hero’s welcome in Crimetown, USA, when the ruthless Enforcers attack – at the command of the Kingpin! But not content with manipulating events from afar, it won’t be long before Wilson Fisk himself arrives to get his hands dirty! Then, Spidey is plunged into a Wild West nightmare, thanks to the mind-bending machinations of Mysterio! Will the Beetle be the one to catch the Spider? Or will that honor fall to two of the wall-crawler’s deadliest archenemies? It’s seriously bad news when Doctor Octopus unites with Venom! How will Spidey get out of this one? Tune in and find out!

Why does this matter?

It’s somewhat shocking how hard it is to find details about this series. Only this past June was the first half reprinted and this closes out the series by artist Alex Saviuk and writer Nel Yomtov. I imagine many kids of the ’90s are going to cherish rereading this series again.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

That looks like it hurts!
Credit: Marvel Comics

This book is printed in a digest format for kids which suits the more cartoony and simple style by Saviuk. The voice of Spidey is pretty sound here, talking and thinking to himself quite a bit for the reader’s sake. The narrative is generally simplistic with little relationship drama and more detective work from Peter. That’s probably best for younger readers, who will likely dig the Spider-Man personality and the various villains who pop up.

The book opens with a two-part Kingpin story and a deep cut appearance from within the Enforcers. Mysterio and the Beetle take up the next two issues followed by a two-part story involving Doctor Octopus and Venom. One of the joys in reading a series like this is how the creators can play around with characters in a fun, all-ages way. Venom in particular is lightened and he does some moral thinking about not giving away Peter’s identity to Doc Ock at one point which you’d just never see in the mainline books. Consider for a minute how Spider-Man defeats Venom with a smoke detector alarm and you’ll see the stakes are quite low with this one.

It can’t be perfect, can it?

This is definitely for younger readers with its simplified stories and lack of real danger. Spider-Man goofs at one point running into a clothesline while being chased by drones and it’s made into a joke. This is not for those looking for a deep read.

Is it good?

A perfectly serviceable all-ages read. Kids 8 to 12 will eat this up, but for older readers give it a pass unless you want to dip into those nostalgic vibes of the ’90s.

Adventures of Spider-Man: Spectacular Foes
Is it good?
A perfectly serviceable all-ages read. Kids 8 to 12 will eat this up, but for older readers give it a pass unless you want to dip into those nostalgic vibes of the '90s.
Nice collection of foes for Spidey to combat
Clean, cartoony style that works
Kids 8 to 12 are going to eat this up
Adults may want to pass unless they're looking for something nostalgic

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