The Blonde Phantom cons Spider-Man into teaching Chili Storm the superhero ropes.
Chili Storm was a supporting character in Millie the Model. I have no idea why she’s here. She has no powers. She possesses no skills lending to costumed crime-fighter ability.
While it’s highly unlikely that Spider-Man would jeopardize the life of an unpowered, unskilled citizen, you can at least imagine a set of circumstances where he’s forced to take Chili on as a partner. In the case of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, the Blond Phantom acts the willing conduit, and that just doesn’t make any sense.
The Blonde Phantom is a licensed private investigator. Recklessly endangering an untrained citizen would be grounds for the revocation of that license. Gumshoes who walk the mean streets in fiction and real world operatives will attest; a private investigator always protects the name of his client and his license. So, the basic premise of the story is flawed.
Through the sheer force of characterization, Paul Tobin persuades you set aside bothersome legalities. Yes, the story is half-assed, but Chili has a lot of heart. That heart even overcomes her ulterior motives for becoming a superhero. Namely, publicity.
As the story progresses, Spider-Man’s experience and sense of responsibility, while warped in the first place to suit the needs of this story, convince Chili to change her philosophy. You can easily imagine Chili thinking that superheroing would be a kick, but by the end of the book, you realize that if Chili had been bitten by a radioactive lynx, or something, she would choose to do the right thing. Such a decision makes all the difference. Furthermore, she respects Spider-Man for his resolve.
It would be easy to recommend this book solely for Colleen Coover’s charming artwork. She stops by Marvel all too rarely, but when she visits, it’s always a treat. The story within a story reinterpreting Spidey’s tutelege of Chili Storm is no exception.
In the more realistic setting of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, Matthew Lolli and Terry Pallot bring their illustrative sensibilities to Chili and help forge an incredibly appealing character. You instinctively know she should not be in this book, but you cannot help liking her. She doesn’t come off as a stereotype of a model, all haughty and aloof. Wisely, the artists give Chili an unassuming, natural attitude.
I can’t fully recommend Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, but despite its wonky foundation, the story somehow still works. Tobin, Lolli, Pallot, Sotocolor and guest artist Colleen Coover combine forces to endear Chili Storm to the readers.