Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #31

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This review was first published on: May 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 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!

This week, issue thirty-one, as we make the turn and head back down the home straight.

In Detail...

"Mystery of the Green Goblin"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #31
Apr 2011 : SM Title
Summary: Apr-28-2011 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  John McCrea, Lee Bradley (Additional Material)
Colorist:  Lee Bradley
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Who is the new Green Goblin?

...asks our splash page. Well, there's six pages left for the story, so let's get into it!

Jumping back in time a few hours, we see Spider-Man has lost his Spider-Sense, and is feeling woozy. He recalls that this has happened before, when he caught a particularly nasty virus. This is probably the same sort of thing, so he heads back to the apartment he shares with Harry at Oscorp Tower, looking for a good long rest as Peter Parker, to get himself well again.

Ah, the best laid plans of Spiders and Men. By the very next panel, things gang aglay pretty fast, and the promised joy of nap-time turns to poop as a badly-drawn Harry Osborn is kidnapped by Sandman. Specifically, the Oscorp security guards claim that the Sinister Six are responsible, though it turns out to be only Sandman and Electro.

Spider-Man raises himself from his sick-bed and manages to track (old-school detective style, without his Spider-Sense) the Sandman, Electro and Harry through secret tunnels in the super-secret New York sewage system, all the way to their dockside warehouse hideout. Seriously, whoever designed the NY drainage plan really did plan ahead. I hope the Marvel Super Villains society have put a commemorative plaque up somewhere to recognize his excellent work.

So, what's all this about then? Easy. Electro and Sandman are looking for clues regarding the mysterious disappearance of the Green Goblin. Well let's see. The Green Goblin's headquarters were in Oscorp Tower. The Green Goblin disappeared when Norman went into Hospital. Do you really need clue number three to figure things out?

Apparently yes. Strangely, even though the Sinister Six haven't figured out that Norman is the Goblin, they somehow perceive a strong enough connection to figure that his son Harry is worth kidnapping and pumping for information. An inexplicable dichotomy, really. Still, it's about par for the course in this magazine.

Spider-Man bursts in at this point and engages the deadly duo in combat. Unfortunately in his weakened state, the fight is rather one sided. , and our hero narrowly manages to escape by getting smashed through the side of the building, falling into the harbor. Round one goes to the bad guys!

Electro and Sandman start putting the hurt on Harry, trying to find out what he knows about the Green Goblin. Until... The Green Goblin arrives in person! Electro and Sandman are delighted, thinking that their boss has returned to reward them for their loyalty. But no. Goblin starts lobbing pumpkin bombs, then grabs Harry and makes a glider-powered dash for freedom! Norman Osborn saves the day!

Except it's not Norman. Under the green-and-purple suit, it's our red-and-blue champion, Spider-Man. The web-head has raided on of Norman's back-up equipment caches, looking for high-tech support to help tip the scales back in his favor.

In General...

All-in-all, this is a pretty good plot! Writer Glenn Dakin has come up with a pretty decent story concept here. By itself, it could be the basis for a pretty decent tale!

Unfortunately, the dialog, pencils and computer-coloring are no better than usual, leaving the final result rather disappointing.

Overall Rating...

This issue is better than much of what came before. Sadly, a good plot is necessary but not sufficient. Even the best foundations can still support a terrible house. Two webs for effort.

Footnote...

There's a three-panel "laugh comic" at the back of each issue. This week features a bunch of different super-villains all tripping over each other, looking for secret underground lairs in the New York sewage system. It's the first time I've actually laughed at one of the back-up jokes. Nice work.