Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #35

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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...

"Small World"
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #35
May 2011 : SM Title
Summary: May-26-2011 (NZ)
Publisher:  Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer:  Glenn Dakin
Artist:  Richard Elson
Colorist:  Alan Craddock
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Review

If I was the laziest comic book writer in the world, do you know what I would do? I would have my super-hero live in an apartment in the same building as a mystical cosmic portal. That way, I wouldn't have to bother with any back-story or characterizations. I could just have Doctor Doom turn up at the portal, and Spider-Man would be right next door.

Hey, look at this. Our story opens with Spider-Man encountering Doctor Doom at the entrance to the Green Goblin's mystic portal. Now, you will recall that the portal goes to the Spider-Dimension (hence it is emblazoned with the Green Goblin's image). You may also recall that S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't let anybody near it because it was too dangerous. Well, one day S.H.I.E.L.D. just walked away, abandoning the still-active mystic inter-dimensional portal, just upstairs from the apartment occupied by a couple of college kids.

Spider-Man confronts Doom. Doom claims that he was there to visit the mystic portal, but it was too primitive to be interesting to him. Doom and Spider-Man fight briefly, but Doom is too powerful. Doom then shakes Spider-Man by the hand as a "worthy opponent". But secretly, Doom says to himself "Spider-Man must not know the real reason I am here. But I can still make this trip pay in another way."

So... there are three reasons here. One for the portal. Two for "the real reason". Three for the bonus way to make the "trip pay in another way". More on that later.

Spider-Man leaps out of the Oscorp tower, and falls to the ground - his web-shooter is not working. Jonah Jameson see Spider-Man falling. So... ummm... the Daily Bugle building is opposite the Oscorp Tower? Or is Jameson's apartment opposite the Oscorp Tower? In any case, Manhattan must be a pretty small place! Everybody who appears in this story lives next door to each other! Note also that Jameson's skyscraper window opens wide, which I believe is quite unusual in skyscraper windows.

Spider-Man needs to investigate his web-shooters. Hey, how convenient. He can just use the Sinister Six lab at the top of the building! Fortunately, the Sinister Six are still paying the power bill. Spidey begins to investigate the web-shooters when... Ant Man appears!

You might be wondering what Ant-Man was doing in the Sinister Six's lab? Investigating nano-bots of course. The two insectoid heroes shrink down to teeny-tiny size where they see that Nano-Bots are stealing Spider-Man's web-shooter piece by piece, and are teleporting it away to Doom's Laboratory! Yes. Doom is so envious of Spider-Man's web-shooters that he has created an army of teleporting miniaturized robots to steal them.

And that's the punchline! A villain who can cross space, create independent miniature robots, master teleportation, control beams of pure energy, and who snorts derisively at primitive cross-dimensional portals is so impressed by some high-pressure sticky-glue shooters that he just has to have them?

Well, I can't stomach any more of this, so let's just get it all finished. Ant-Man shrinks down so small that he gets inside the nanobots. He reprograms them to teleport back to Doom's hidden base and attack Doom's armor instead. The heroes teleport there too, to witness Doom's defeat. Can I stop reading now, please?

In General...

Back in Stan Lee's day, there was an excuse for this stuff. Wanted to know more about the effects of Radiation? Well, you can't. Nuclear physics wasn't taught at schools, and some guy named Lieber running around town trying to sniff out the details of atomic weapons was going to meet with stern disapproval from the anti-American activities commission.

These days, there is no excuse. Spend 30 seconds googling "nano-technology" and you will immediately realize that it has nothing to do with little robots running around with blinking lights and on-board computers. I know this is supposed to be "fiction". But I get so frustrated. Comics are a wonderful way to sneakily educate kids about little bits of fun science. So why do they only ever seem to get used to mislead young readers?

Combine that with the absurdity of Doom's plot. Why not just take the web-shooters from the overwhelmed Spider-Man? Why not just run a scan on them and find out what the chemical composition was. Surely Doom could create a pressurized chamber... it's only the particular chemical formula that could conceivably be of interest to him.

I can just see how the chain of thought went for our erstwhile script writer: "Ant-Man is the chosen guest-star. So I need something small. Nanobots are small! But what are they doing. Stealing something from Spider-Man. His web-shooters! But who could create nanobots? Doctor Doom!"

All very well. But there's one final step to be considered in the thought process: "Right, there's my plot. Now, quick check. Does it make any sense at all?"

Answer to self: "No."

Overall Rating...

One Web.

You may accuse me of a lack of originality in my ratings for this title. But... what's a reviewer to do?

Footnote...

Remember how there were three reasons for Doom's visit. One, the Portal. Two, the "real" reason. Three, the "other way to make the trip pay" involving web-shooters?

Well... you'll be surprised to discover that the real reason was... umm... never explained. No. I'm not surprised either.