I think this is the last time I need to do one of these. This series is a spin-off of Spider-Man Adventures, an adaptation of the first season of the Fox Kids show from the 1990s, plus one or two original tales before switching to an original continuity, more obviously than the DC “tie-in” comics.
Adventures Of Spider-Man #5
Marvel (August, 1996)“Rhino’s Revenge” WRITER: Nel Yomtov PENCILER: Andy Kunn INKER: Rob Stull COLORIST; Kevin Tinsley LETTERER: Steve Dutro EDITOR: Mark Powers
The Rhino kidnaps John Jameson believing he has access to more of the black goo that created Venom, not realizing it was a symbiotic being. He wants revenge because Kingpin fired him after Spider-Man defeated Rhino so many times during the stories from the TV show that were adapted and thus still canon. Just a coincidence that a scientist created an enzyme that can destroy the Rhino’s costume “hide”. Meanwhile, May’s finances have become so bad that she stopped buying her medication, but someone from a rival paper finds Peter’s camera during his last fight with the Rhino (the formula was put into his webshooters, which made it weaker than normal webbing, which is usually how Spidey films himself during fights) and uses them, giving Peter more than Jameson ever pays him, solving all their financial issues until someone can make a plot point out of it again.
What they got right: Rhino does get hired out but is basically a freelancer, so he gets to be again. (I think Rhino did stop working exclusively for the Kingpin in the show by this point as well, so even though this is now an original continuity I can’t complain that they’re playing too close to Marvel proper.) I also believe Rhino is dumb enough not to believe all of the “goo” (again, a symbiotic lifeform from space) was sent into space by Spider-Man. He’s kind of an idiot.
What they got wrong: Oh joy, more medical issues for Aunt May. Is there any wonder fans weren’t bothered by her passing during the Clone Saga? There were more stories about this than Peter and Mary Jane being married. The enzyme is a deus ex machina, and as far as I know Rhino’s “hide” is bonded with his body, so basically you’re killing the guy. In the kids comic. With 90s art so scary that it will scare kids. What happened to the cartoon-style art the comic was using before I got sick? Finally, here’s one for the entire franchise. The story ends with a rival paper offering Peter a full job with more pay than he gets freelancing for Jameson, a guy who constantly screws him over in both identities and he’s not even considering taking it? It would still have him working for a newspaper, so he would still have access to the latest reports and pre-internet news files without working for the guy out to ruin Spider-Man. (Actually, thanks to the internet and 24/7 news feeds online and on television a superhero no longer needs to work at a news paper in a modern story unless they really want to be a reporter like Clark Kent, so Peter becoming a teacher or even running his own Fortune 500 science firm–you know, because Peter is an “everyman”–makes a lot more sense nowadays.)
Recommendation: This is just not that good a comic. The story is unnecessary, the subplot’s been done to death over and over, and the art is just terrible, with lines and facial expressions exaggerated to extremes. There are good Spider-Man stories in this series but this issue isn’t one of them.