Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #34

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This review was first published on: Jun 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!

In Detail...

"Lair of the Lizard"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #34
May 2011 : SM Title
Summary: May-19-2011 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  Kev Hopgood
Colorist:  Marie Keane
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Spider-Man has received a phone call from Doctor Curt Connors, aka the Lizard. The Doc sounded "strained". Arriving at the Connors' laboratory, a window is smashed. Any guesses as to what has happened?

Oh my giddy aunt! You wouldn't believe it, but Doctor Connors has transformed into the Lizard! What a shocking twist in our tale!

Later, we're suddenly down in the Manhattan sewers. Spider-Man has discovered a second laboratory. How did he get there? What happened in-between the first scene and this scene? The story doesn't say, and we will never find out. With only seven pages in the story, one page was wasted on changing scene from... one Connors laboratory to another.

For this is, indeed, another Connors laboratory. Why did Curt set up a high-tech lab next right next to a two-foot deep pond of fetid sewage? What was wrong with his other lab? Again... there's no damn explanation on offer.

The only difference between this lab and the other is that this one contains a giant glass chamber/machine that contains an as-yet-unidentified humanoid figure. How did Curt get this massive piece of equipment in the sewers? He sure didn't do it as the Lizard. He didn't do it by himself. So how on earth did he persuade a moving company to ship twenty tonnes of technology into a stinking chamber in the depths of the New York septic system? Why not just put the glass chamber in his regular lab?

The fight then resumes, presumably to try and disguise the complete lack of logic in the plot. It doesn't work. The Lizard is stronger than Spider-Man, and forces him to retreat. Then suddenly without explanation, he changes back to Curt Connors and emerges from a puddle of fat-laced drainage overflow. Apparently the Doctor's transformations are unstable. So Spider-Man makes a Lizard antidote. Not sure why the Doc can't do it himself.

And... suddenly Connors runs away, leaving Spider-Man to give the antidote to the humanoid in the chamber, who turns out to be Billy Connors. Connors doesn't say that. He just leaves Spider-Man to guess it for himself. Billy explains that he came into his Dad's lab and got splashed with some chemical, this becoming part-lizard.

And the moral of the tale is... even as "The Lizard", Connors just wants to help his son. Aww... isn't that sweet.

In General...

There's a new artistic team this issue, and they do a pretty decent job. But there's not a single redeeming feature in this entire story. The plot manages to lurch from clich├ęd to incongruous in the course of a single panel, passing back through incomprehensible as it does so. Meanwhile the dialog totters between forgettable and ludicrous.

Overall Rating...

There's more than one pond of disgusting liquid filth in this particular sewer. One web.

Footnote...

Again, the cover proclaims "3 brilliant comic strips". Nothing could be further than the truth. There's the main short-length 7-page story, which is more like "half a crappy comic strip". Then there's a couple of one-page (three panel) backup pages.

I know the marketing guys tell us to "sell the sizzle, not the sausage", but this is one of those puffed-up sausages that when you pop it turns out to contain nothing but fat, sawdust, and air.