Comics : Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) #24

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

This UK kids magazine is one of two regular Spidey magazine offerings from Panini. Spider-Man & Friends targets the 4-10 year old market, while sister publication Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) aims at the pre-teen and teen crowd.

Spider-Man & Friends features a distinctively drawn semi-Manga style kiddie Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus early school versions of Hulk, Wolverine, Beast, Storm and Captain America along with guest appearances from many other big name Marvel heroes and villains. Toy tie-ins are also available.

Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. Essentially, it's the same format as the older kids magazine, just reworked for a much younger target audience.

In Detail...

"I can't choose!"
Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) #24
Jul 2008 : SM Title
Summary: 23-Jul-2008
Editor:  Simon Frith
Writer:  Rik Hoskin
Artist:  Nigel Dobbyn
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Review

The kid-heroes are playing in the park. Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, plus Thor, Cap and Iron Man. Cap and Spider-Girl are playing catch, Iron Man and Thor are racing around the park, and Spider-Man doesn't know which game to join! Ah... life is tough when you're a kid. All these decisions...

Spider-Man tries to join the catching game, and nearly gets decapitated by Cap's shield. Ouchies! He tries to join in the chasing game, but it's too far away. Then the chasing game crashes into the catching game. Hmm... I thought it was a long way away.

Because of the crash, Captain America gets shitty with Iron Man, and vice versa. Spider-Man wants to play both games. But Cap and Iron Man tell Spider-Man that he must choose just one of the games! That is to say... he must choose between Iron Man's game and Captain America's game.

Spider-Man plays peace-maker. He invents a running-catching-throwing game, and they all play together. Games are more fun that way, all the friends agree.

In General...

If this is supposed to be the kindergarten version of Civil War, I think there's a few inaccuracies here. Firstly, Spider-Man is supposed to start off on Iron Man's side and then swap to Captain America's side. They messed up the story here, by having that actually occur the other way around.

Also, Thor is supposed to get resurrected as a psychotic zombie, Captain America is supposed to die, and Spider-Man makes a deal with kindergarten-Mephisto.

Other than that, it's a pretty faithful retelling.

Overall Rating...

While it's fun to pick out the Civil War tie-in, that doesn't actually improve the story at all. At it's most fundamental level, this is some friends fighting, and then one friend finding a compromise. No more, no less. Hence I can only offer three webs - no more, no less.

Footnote...

Other content is a 1-page ad for "Lazy Town" stickers, a story-quiz, a coloring page, a color-matching game, a maze, a 2-page coloring spread, more coloring, a join the dots, letter tracing, a spot-the-difference, a two-page "count things in the scene" spread, then an "Adult read, you say the word that matches the little icon" 2-page feature. Finally the fan letters and fan art. Back cover is a poster.