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‘Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-in-One #4’ – Advance Comic Book Review

Everybody has seen numerous retellings of Spider-Man’s origin from Amazing Fantasy #15 – from comics, to cartoons, to movies. Interestingly enough, the story from Amazing Spider-Man #1 in 1963, in which Spidey meets the Fantastic Four, has been told many times, as well. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby retold the story in the first Fantasic Four annual. Tom Defalco did a version of it as did John Byrne and later Dan Slott. The interesting thing about this story is that, unlike the origin, it can be told from a different perspective without taking away what is inherent to what came before. This is the basis for Marvel Action Classics #4.

This retelling of Amazing Spider-Man #1 is wonderful! While keeping the structure of the original – down to newspapers turning the public against Spider-Man (which would probably not happen in the 21st Century) – it deepens the relationship between Spider-Man and the Human Torch.  It also focusing on their banter as opposed to the fight which makes the story more fun than the Lee/Kirby retelling. Spidey also encounters a formidable Ben Grimm as the Thing. He’s dramatic, not because of his monstrous form, but because of the way he’s introduced into the fight. Scary and imposing, the Thing looks to be more than a match for Spidey. All that is really missing is Peter Parker’s battle with Reed and Sue Richards; however, they are able to shine in the story as they team up with Spider-Man to go after the Chameleon, a switch from the original tale.

This story is written by Todd Dezago who is no stranger to Spider-Man, as he wrote a number of Spidey comics in the mid-1990s. He started writing the web-slinger with the infamous Clone Saga and went until the John Byrne reboot. Along the way, he scripted with such greats as Tom Defalco and J.M. Dematteis. His stories culminated with a lengthy run with legend Mike Wieringo in Sensational Spider-Man. Dezago knows his Spider-Man and brings him to shine at IDW.   The writing is fantastic.

In addition, the art by Michael O’ Hare and Derek Fridolfs is fun and really adds to the narrative. This story was an absolute delight to read: a brilliant update to a classic story.

Also included in this issue is a team-up story between Spidey, the Blonde Phantom Detective Agency, and Wolverine. Set firmly in the “Marvel Adventures” universe, the tale is written by Paul Tobin and illustrated by Matteo Lolli. Spidey is hired by BPDA to find out all he can about Wolverine. A battle between the two heroes occurs, as do some other interesting twists.

Marvel Action Classics #4 is just great – well worth your time and money. One of the best Spidey issues ever produced by IDW!

Highly recommended – 4 out of 4 stars

Creative team: Story 1: Todd Dezago, Michael O’ Hare and Derek Fridolfs / Story 2: Paul Tobin and Matteo Lolli
Publisher: IDW Publishing.
Click here to purchase.

Scott Larson, Fanbase Press Contributor



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