Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #15

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This review was first published on: Jan 2011.

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...

"The Cult of the Spider!"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #15
Jan 2011 : SM Title
Summary: Jan-6-2010 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  Ant Williams
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Review

This week... Spider-Man is popular! Like, mega-popular! Spider-Man fan clubs are popping up all over, New York has gone Spider-Mad. So mad in fact that Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle is receiving death threats for his anti-Spidey editorials. The crowd of Spidey fans throw a smallish rock (with a hate note attached) through Jonah's office window. That's impressive, since skyscraper windows are plate glass! Note also that Jonah's office seems to have moved. A few issues back it was ten stories high, now it's only a few feet about street level.

Doctor Strange mystically appears and explains to Spider-Man that his popularity is a side-effect of the "residual Spider-Demon Energy from the Green Goblin's mystic portal" back in issue #10. Actually, I don't recall seeing any Spider-Demon. There was a Green Goblin shadow demon. Is that close enough? Also, no explanation is given as to why the effect has only just begun, and why it didn't happen over the previous four issues.

Strange is worried about the Spider-Demon, so Spidey gives him a Spider-Tracer to activate if he comes up with anything that needs his help, and that doesn't take very long to happen at all. In the very next panel we see a bunch of Spider-Cultists chanting mystical incantations around an effigy of Spider-Man. They're looking to summon the Spider-Demon, but what the get instead is the Dread Dormammu, sworn foe of Doctor Strange. Dormammu arrives via a sparkly portal which just popped into existence.

For no good reason, Doctor Strange is suddenly present on the scene as well. Dormammu traps Strange with a spell of binding. Seconds later, Spider-Man suddenly appears too, again there's not the slightest hint of how or why Spider-Man happened to be passing that particular deserted warehouse. Dormammu zaps Spidey too. But Strange tells him to "use the mystic link between them". He's talking about the Spider-Tracer. Spidey frees himself from the spell by... umm... by just trying really hard.

That frees Doctor Strange as well, yet again for no good reason. And suddenly Strange has the Spider-Tracer that Spidey had only a couple of panels ago. Or perhaps there were two tracers and they had one each? Doctor Strange claims that the Spider-Tracer contains all the Spider Demon Energy, and tosses it to Spider-Man. Spider-Man then tosses the tracer into the portal that Dormammu just came out of, and Dormammu follows it back into the portal (he believed Strange's fake claim about the tracer having Spider-Demon Energy). The portal closes neatly behind Dormammu and the day is saved.

Note: The tracer that Spidey previously had a few panels back seems to have vanished. I'm not sure what role it played in the whole scenario. There's a great deal that doesn't make much sense.

Somehow the "spell is broken". Which I guess means that the simple appearance of Dormammu was enough to soak up the energy. Or maybe the energy was all used up in the creation of the portal? I guess you won't be too shocked to hear that things aren't made clear on that front either.

We'll need a funny wrap-up of course, and here it is. Some skinhead throws another rock through the Daily Bugle's window. Spider-Man is right there to catch him, but Jonah naturally assumes that Spidey threw the rock. Spidey reckons he prefer's Jonah's hatred to the "Cult of Spider-Man's" freaky attention. But wait... why did the skinhead throw the rock? The earlier attack was the Cult of Spidey retaliating against Jonah's editorial. But just prior to that... "the spell was broken" and the Cult disbanded. So the rock throwing should have stopped. This must have just been a random rock-throwing incident, I guess.

In General...

I could almost enjoy this story, except that I spend all my time getting cross about the fact that every three or four panels there's another piece of stupid unexplained random confusion. Would it kill writer Glenn Dakin to have somebody proof read his scripts to see if they actually make sense before they go to print?

Overall Rating...

Yet another failed story with a broken plot and childish artwork. One web.

Footnote...

As this is issue #15 of 60... that means I'm a quarter of the way through this money-sink! Oh, how the time has flown. What fun this has been.