Comics : Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #45
This review was first published on: Sep 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!
Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #45
Aug 2011 : SM Title
Summary: Aug-4-2011 (NZ)
This week's masterpiece is cryptically entitled "Hyde and Seek".
Well, on second thoughts, perhaps it's not that cryptic. Our splash page features big bad super-thug "Mr. Hyde" on a rampaging search for his former accomplice, the slippery snake-sneak, "Cobra". A passing Spider-Man gets involved, moments before Cobra reveals himself. Must our hero now tackle the dangerous duo once more?
Not exactly. You see, Cobra doesn't want to have anything to do with Mr. Hyde. He ain't interested in teaming up for another round of crime. Oh no, the Cobra has his own plans... and this is a job he has to do alone. Of course, that's the kind of thing that can't help but pique Spider-Man's interest. So when Cobra exits stage left, he does so with a surreptitious Spider-Tracer snagged to his costume. Mr. Hyde attempts to follow Cobra as he sneaks away down the streets of New York, but Cobra is far too slippery a customer for that sort of thing.
But the misery of Mr. Hyde is not yet complete. The following day, Hyde heads over to the not-so-secret headquarters of Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin of Crime and asks for a job. Fisk innocently inquires if Hyde would be bringing his partner Cobra with him. And that's when the fight started. Spider-Man turns up and assists Fisk in subduing the rampaging Mr. Hyde. Spidey and Fisk on the same side... an unusual sight.
It seems that there's only one way that Spider-Man is going to be able to soothe the savage beast that Mr. Hyde has become. He will have to let him know what Cobra is actually doing these days. And so he does, taking Hyde to see Cobra at work in his new occupation. Yes indeed, Cobra has become an entertainer at children's parties. Apparently there's good money to be made as a juggling acrobat/clown, and there's not so much prison time involved.
Hyde bursts into laughter and is soothed. Cobra keeps his job, and all's well that ends well.
This is a pretty damn good example of what a short out-of-continuity can achieve with a bit of thought. Creating a quirky, fresh (and sufficiently compact) idea is a much better approach than attempting to squish some much loved classic Spidey multi-issue arc into a six page pastiche of the original.
Unfortunately, the artwork is as terrible as ever. The short-cuts on the pencils have to be seen to be believed. There's no background detail in any panel. When Spidey and Hyde see Cobra juggling balls in a kid's party room... that's all you get. Cobra. Spidey. Hyde. Some balls. Some kids. Nothing extra... no balloons, no windows, no party streamers, no table, no cake, no adults, no music, no nothing. Just the absolute bare minimum. The background art is simply a block of computer-shaded color.
It's the same utter, utter laziness that has pervaded damn near every issue of this title.
Three webs. I might have gone higher except for the dismal, lazy artwork.