Marvel Age: Spider-Man #1 (Free Comic Book Day edition)
Marvel Comics (August, 2004; reprint originally dated May, 2004)
PLOT: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
SCRIPT: Daniel Quantz
LETTERER: Randy Gentile
UDON CHIEF: Erik Ko
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Mackenzie Cadenhead & Nick Lowe
EDITOR: C.B. Cebulski
CONSULTING EDITOR: Ralph Macchio
“Duel To The Death With The Vulture”
ARTIST: Mark Brooks
COLORIST: Danimation with Simon Yeung
“The Uncanny Threat Of The Terrible Tinkerer!”
PENCILER: Jonboy Meyers
INKER: Pat Davidson
COLORIST: Larry Molinar
First off, these titles. They are not memorable, they’re not interesting, and they’re way too long. I hope this wasn’t a regular thing with this series.
In the first story from early in Peter’s career as Spider-Man and a photographer the Vulture is making his own debut. Meanwhile we get the first time Aunt May is about to lose the house. After seeing an ad in the Daily Bugle for pictures of Spider-Man and the Vulture for $500, Peter uses Uncle Ben’s old camera to get some shots, and ends having to fight the Vulture. In case you didn’t know, this series featured modernized retellings of classic Spidey adventures for a young audience who didn’t buy reprints. That’s not a bad idea, but it also leads to a small problem. More on that in a moment.
The back-up story is very short, as Peter accidentally uses a device he used to fight Vulture in the main story to ruin the computer of his teacher, Mr. Warren. (I don’t know if this is supposed to be Miles Warren, who like most of his more famous cast outside of the Bugle staff (who also get debuted here), Flash Thompson, and Aunt May, he wouldn’t meet until college.) When he arrives the computer case falls open and Peter sees a listening device. Why bug a high school science teacher I couldn’t tell you, but that’s what The Tinkerer and his apparently fellow aliens had in mind. Spider-Man manages to chase them off the planet.
The biggest problem is that these stories are truncated versions of the actual debuts of the Vulture and the Tinkerer and it shows. Things happen too fast, for some reason lines of dialog reference stuff we don’t see, and it just feels rushed overall. The problem is that there used to be more panels per page, and shoving the Tinkerer’s story into a six page backup story, one page of which is trying to imitate the teaser splash page they used to have in the comics being remade (the Vulture story has one as well) the end result is a story lacking the space to be its own version. I’m also not sure why they didn’t start with Spider-Man’s origin, going instead for the Vulture, Betty and J. Jonah Jameson, and the Tinkerer. Additionally the art is too detailed in some areas and too exaggerated in others, something more in line with the 90s, and as a whole really isn’t the work you’d expect from Udon Studios, who did the art for this series. In the end you’d be better off tracking down reprints of the original than getting these.