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New student Artie King is a nice, comics-loving kid who just wants to ease into life at Camelot Middle School without attracting too much attention. But by second period, Artie already has enemies. He tripped Camelot's mean principal by mistake. An older kid isn't happy about the lunch he stole from Artie. (Well, Artie tried to warn him that sandwich was made by his pesky sister . . . out of boogers and soap!) And Artie just can't seem to stay out of the way of big Mo and The Horde, the bunch of brawny bullies who rule the school.
To top it off, Artie has been assigned a funky old locker that no one has ever been able to open. Artie can do it, though, and finds the locker mysteriously full of all kinds useful stuff. He's also made a few pals in the lunchroom, Percy and Wayne, and the science teacher, Mr. Merlyn, who seems weird but nice.
When a humiliated Mo fails to open Artie's locker, he challenges him and his pals to a do-or-die dodgeball game. The Horde vs. The Knights of the Lunch Table. Losers get creamed.
On game night, the Knights' gym clothes disappear. Artie handily finds new ones in the locker (okay, the tee-shirts are pink . . . ). But that doesn't help the Knights in the dodgeball ring, where The Horde is just picking them off. Another visit to the locker and Artie's back with a secret weapon: Percy's missing pet spider. Mo is afraid of spiders, big-time. The score is about to be evened!