Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #28

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This review was first published on: May 2011.


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 has been 90% 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 Curse of the Scorpion"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #28
Apr 2011 : SM Title
Summary: Apr-7-2011 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  Ant Williams
Staff Only

It's very strange, but I often find that the more that happens in a story, the easier it is to review. This seven-page offering is chock-full of action, but I can wrap it up easily. Other times, the slowest of tales leave me typing with mad, commenting on every detail. That's literature for ya. Hard to pin down.

Back to our tale. The Scorpion (former private investigator, given super-powers at Jonah Jameson's request, got a costume, now mad, bad and hates Spider-Man and JJJ) has invaded the Daily Bugle, taking various hostages including Robbie Robertson and Jonah.

Scorpion kills the power in the building, and also tells the cops to stay away. However, he's hoping and expecting Spider-Man to turn up. He's not disappointed. Spider-Man arrives just as the Scorpion mutates into a true, giant-scorpion. Spider-Man battles the tormented Scorpion for a bit, until he figures out why Scorpy killed the power. Ya see, now that he's a real scorpion he hates the bright lights. So the web-head uses his belt-mounted spider-signal light to stun the Scorpion.

This gives Spider-Man a chance to talk to his would-be foe, and hence learn that the Jackal is behind the plot. The Jackal promised to give Scorpion great power, but didn't mention that it involved becoming a mutated freak. The Scorpion is clearly angry at the Jackal, but can he muster enough of his fast-vanishing humanity to find a way to save himself?

Cut to the Jackal's secret lair. Scorpion has returned, carrying Spider-Man's mask as proof of victory, and expecting to receive the antidote for his current transformation. The Jackal reneges on the deal, but that's OK, as the Scorpion has also double-crossed his former ally. Spider-Man and the Scorpion have teamed up, and together they defeat the Jackal. The Scorpion gets his antidote, and reverts to fully human form. With Spider-Man's approval, he walks away to see what he can do with his second chance.

In General...

For the second week in a row, writer Glenn Dakin has actually assembled something approaching a half-decent plot. Even the scripting is adequate. Unfortunately, once again the overall effect is ruined by mediocre pencils and truly dreadful computer coloring. I really don't know how the production team can turn such high quality paper stock into such an unappealing, garish, travesty of color.

The compressed seven-page format doesn't really help either. There's enough substance in the tale to happily fill a dozen pages, or perhaps (with a couple of sub-plots and a splash page) even bulk out to a full 20-odd page regular comic format. But compressed into seven pages, there's a rushed, clipped sort of feeling that doesn't do the story justice.

Overall Rating...

It's nearly impossible to look past the epic fail of the computer coloring work in this story. Despite the surprising adequacy of the plot, the final product simply looks so unappealing to anybody who possesses even a hint of artistic sensitivity.

Despite that, I am determined to recognize the step up in the underlying writing. I'm giving this two and a half webs.


Obligatory Nonsense Moment? Robbie Robertson warning Spider-Man to "look out... there's real poison in that tail." I'm not sure when Robbie became an expert in rapid human-insectoid DNA transformations!