Story Title: They Call Him Mad!
Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Writer: Sean McKeever
Pencils: Mike Norton
Writer: Jonathan Glapion
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Editors: Nahthan Cosby, Mackenzie Cadenhead, Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Pop-Art Productions
Remember Untold Tales of Spider-Man? The classic (and sadly not in trade) series by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe which gave readers access to all new stories set during Peter Parker’s high school years? That’s what this book is like now, as opposed to the earlier incarnations of the Marvel Adventures/Marvel Age titles which were retellings of classic stories aimed at an early-reader crowd. The thing that sets aside the current Marvel Adventures series from Untold Tales, is that while Untold Tales heavily imitated the art style and silver age mentality of the early Spider-Man comics, Marvel Adventures Spidey uses more modern aesthetic sensibilities.
Anyway this issue re-introduces readers to The Mad Thinker, a genius-level super criminal who is so smart that he claims he can accurately predict the probable course of future events down to the most minute detail. One thing that the Thinker however is incapable of predicting is the involvement of Spider-Man, so naturally he comes up with a scheme so diabolical that only a true criminal mastermind would dare think of it. He sends a robot to beat the stuffing out of Spider-Man!
Said robot, named Intello, is vastly different from the Thinker’s previous creation The Awesome Android. While Awesome Andy is a giant gray mute robot with a cinderblock for a head, Intello on the other hand is a big gold mute robot in a toga! Intello should also not be confused with another Spider-Man foe; The Living Brain, who is a big green mute robot with maces for hands.
But there is much more to Intello that is left unanswered for the reader. Thinker describes his creation as an “autonomous, intelligent android” but we have to ask us the question does Intello really think? Does he feel? Does he love? With his somewhat feminine clothing and distressingly phallic head is Intello the living embodiment of the Mad Thinker’s own repressed desires and confused sexual identity? I will leave that question to you the readers.
What follows is a predictable, but highly enjoyable little romp highlighted by some very funny dialog by McKeever who really should be considered should Bendis ever need a fill-in on Ultimate Spider-Man. Highlights include Spidey’s hilarious commentary on Intello’s choice of clothing, Flash Thompson picking a fight with the robotic villain, and a cameo by the protagonists of one of McKeever’s other titles. On art chores is Mike Norton who provides the same clean, animated look he gave to Gravity. Bright lively colors by Guru eFX sweeten the deal.
While the story is rather light, fluffy and not particularly deep it’s hard not to like this title. Younger fans familiar with the character through movies and television should be able to enjoy this title. If you’re a Spidey purist who’s not crazy about the direction of Marvel’s ‘OTHER’ Spider-man books should give this one a shot.