In Richmond, Virginia, high school student Jackie Bradley, Jr. is a baseball-whiz living with his uncle and aunt. He is bitten by a flying squirrel (which had previously been bitten by a radioactive spider) while attending a minor league game and acquires the agility and proportionate strength of an arachnid and a rodent. Along with super strength, he gains the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings, and to crack even the hardest nuts with his incisors. He also becomes very cute. Through his knack for sport, he develops a beautiful swing that lets him rope doubles to all fields with the flick of his quick, strong wrists.
Initially seeking to capitalize on his new abilities, he dons the uniform of a Royal for some reason, and, as “Jackie-Bradley-Man”, becomes a high school baseball star. However, he blithely ignores the chance to swing at a hanging curveball, and his indifference ironically catches up with him when the same curveball lands, roughly one millisecond later, in the catcher’s glove for a called strike three, ending an insignificant college game in a loss for his team, but also, somehow, leading to the death of his uncle. Ever since, Jackie-Bradley-Man has tracked and subdued curveballs, learning that “With great athleticism there must also come great pitch recognition!”
Despite his powers, Bradley struggles to help his family pay rent, is taunted by his peers — particularly football star Flash Thompson — and, as Jackie-Bradley-Man, engenders the editorial wrath of the local newspaper publisher. In time, he graduates from high school, and enrolls at the University of South Carolina, where he meets roommate and best friend Adam Matthews. As he battles college pitchers for the first time, Jackie finds it difficult to juggle his personal life and uniformed adventures. . . .