Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #7

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This review was first published on: Nov 2010.

Background...

This is a 60-part weekly series being pumped into the market by Eaglemoss publications. They don't know much about Spidey, but they know that 60 * $8.99 = quite a lot. And I'm the kind of idiot who will spend that sort of money without doing the math.

There's an original 7-page story in every issue, and collectible trading cards too. Sure, the stories are terrible, the art is ghastly, and the price is far, far too high. But there's glossy paper, trading cards, and an original Spider-Man comic strip series that 99% of the U.S. collectors will never own!

In Detail...

"Sinister Strike-Back!"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #7
Nov 2010 : SM Title
Summary: Nov-4-2010 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  Ant Williams
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Splash Page: There's explosions at Oscorp Tower (home to Peter Parker) and Spider-Man is on the way. Jameson is standing by an open window in the high-rise Daily Bugle tower and yells abuse at Spidey.

Now, I'm a country boy at heart, but I've spent a little time in a few high-rise city office blocks. In all my years, I don't believe I have ever seen an office block window that allows you to open the whole 4' x 6' window and lean out. Have you? Does such a window exist? Note that in the scene, the window is not merely opened out, it is entirely absent - as if it has been wound down like a car window somehow. That's weird stuff. I guess Jameson's such a fan of fresh air he insisted on glass-free windows.

In real terms, the entire splash page is actually quite irrelevant. The main story cuts in immediately as the Lizard, Mysterio and Doctor Octopus approach on their mission at Oscorp Tower, following the orders of... well, it's not really clear who's orders they are being directed by. Norman Osborn supposedly has amnesia, which kind of leaves everything rather vague. And why is the Lizard following anybody's orders? He claims to have joined up with the other villains in order to achieve his goal "finish Spider-Man". But later on it appears that the team is trying to capture Spider-Man. And why is Doctor Octopus working as somebody's flunky. What's that about?

The villains are also accompanied by a bunch of guys with green skin and green hair, wearing bandages and long overcoats. No attempt at all is made to explain who those guys might be. Are they Lizard-Men? They don't act like it. They seem like extras from the set of "Green Zombie-Goths in Space 2: The Unexplainable". In any case, their major task seems to be to lie around unconscious just to add verisimilitude to the scenario.

Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. are trying to re-activate the "supernatural portal" which appears to have been the heart of the Green Goblin's master plan, and which sucked Venom through into another dimension last issue. The Sinister Five (the three villains mentioned earlier are subsequently joined by Electro and Sandman) are also trying to do something which ties into this mysterious portal. Once more, don't expect any explanation on that or any other front.

But with or without explanation, the baddies are doing quite well to that end, having now taken out all of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (presumably including Nick Fury). They also have Spider-Man on the back foot, and seem to be just about to reach their goal when... Wolverine turns up. He was called in by Nick Fury to deal with Venom just in case he should reappear when the portal is re-enabled. But those claws are just as useful when it comes to helping Spidey turn the tables on the Sinister Five.

In General...

This portal (in fact the whole Oscorp Tower) is a classic "MacGuffin". With only seven pages of story per issue, writer Glenn Dakin clearly has no idea how to actually drive individual character motivations. So he seems to have simply decided to have a cast of colorful characters fight over the tower for a few issues just while he figures out what to do next.

Overall Rating...

There's nothing in here to cause me to break the perfectly terrible 1-web rating run that I have given out for the first half a dozen stories. Oscorp Tower is on fire and under attack for the third or fourth time in seven short issues. I have no idea why Peter would be allowed to carry on living in a structure which was repeatedly being set alight. Do they not have any building inspection codes in New York?

Jameson's windowless office block is absurd. The collection of villains is entirely mismatched, and I have almost zero hope that any of their motivations will ever be explained. Really, none of this is going anywhere of interest at all, and there's still 53 issues remaining.

One web.