“And I would have gotten away with it, if not for you meddling kids and your dumb Smilodon!”
You can pretty much predict the whole plot to this comic. Somebody’s been nabbing dinosaurs from the Savage Land. Purpose? Profit. However, Tobin throws in enough twists and merriment to make this issue of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man memorable.
Before Spidey encounters Ka-Zar — extremely well-characterized as an erudite jungle man — he meets up with Zabu in a hilarious chase scene. Before he runs from Zabu, he throws in with a group of extremely familiar Forteans. HINT: Read the opening sentence.
Tobin furthermore plays with the characterization of the pastiches. Valerie would indeed dig the brainy Peter Parker as well as Spider-Man. Alas, this star-crossed love is not to be, for Spidey’s heart belongs to Sofia Sandoval, alias Chat, whom he calls to say hi and see if she can’t use her mutant power to communicate with animals over the phone.
The villain of the piece comes as a letdown. Why Tobin didn’t make him Black Tom Cassidy I’ll never know. Superb artist Rob DiSalvo certainly illustrates the very model of Black Tom, and this revelation would be in keeping with the friendly-neighborhood steeping of Marvel continuity. However, the real treat is the surprise flunky.
You don’t expect to see this character, but when he appears, you’ll grin from ear to ear. No complications, either. He’s a mercenary. He’s out for cash. He thinks he’s the best at what he does, but Spidey humiliates him in a laugh-out-loud brilliant moment paying tribute to Looney Tunes.
This terrific little issue of Spider-Man packs a wallop of entertainment. Tobin makes good use of Ka-Zar and Zabu, and he has a little fun with a certain cowardly dog and his interfering human friends.