Marvel Adventures #5
Marvel Comics (August, 1997)
Spider-Man & The X-Men: “A Little Knowledge”
WRITER: Ralph Macchio
PENCILER: Andy Kuhn
INKER: Harry Candelario
COLORIST: Kevin Tinsley
LETTERER: Michael Higgins
EDITOR: Mark Bernardo
Sensing the actions of the Stranger and learning of the Venom symbiote’s disappearance, Professor X calls in Spider-Man for his knowledge of the symbiote. He contacts Llandra and learns of the Stranger. Spidey and the X-Men are transported to the Shi’Ar homeworld to go to the Stranger’s world, where he captures the heroes and forces them to do battle with the captured villains. Curious about the heroes’s teamwork and compassion, he decides to study them along with the villains, but the symbiote calls out to other symbiotes, who flood the Stranger’s world, giving the others time to escape and return to Earth.
What they got right: The art is a lot better than it has been in previous issues. The fight is…decent I guess. The Stranger’s desperation to find out who he is makes him different from other scientists who want to tear the universe apart looking for secrets because at least he has a personal reason beyond “knowledge for the sake of knowledge”.
What they got wrong: How do you improve the art and screw up Toad this badly? He looks like Gambit playing a wicked witch. Spider-Man doesn’t do a whole lot to the point that Llandra could have told them a symbiote’s weaknesses and lost nothing.
Recommendation: Keeping the earlier issues depended on the payoff to the Stranger subplot and it turns out to be lacking. There are better ways to introduce kids to the Marvel universe than this.