Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #52

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History

This review was first published on: Jul 2011.

Background...

This long-running three-weekly UK Magazine started out by running reprints for 51 issues. But starting with this very issue, it launched a string of original out-of-continuity Spider-Man stories created in the UK which was to last for more than a decade, until Disney pulled the plug in 2011.

The stories changed their tone throughout that time. The early original stories followed in the style of the preceding reprints, which is to say, similar to Spider-Man Adventures, or the Spider-Man TV (1994) television series. Much later, the stories shifted sideways to become more like a watered-down imitation of Ultimate Spider-Man.

In any case, the original Spider-Man stories occupied eleven or twelve pages of this 32 page publication, which was aimed at a pre-teen/early-teen market. The plots for these stories featured classic Marvel characters and villains. While they often echoed plots from the mainstream comics, they did so in their own special style. The remainder of the content was filled with puzzles, coloring, posters (reprinted art), fan letters, and promotions for DVDs and computer games.

Without further ado, let's launch into this very first original story, entitled "Doctor Carnage".

In Detail...

"Doctor Carnage"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #52
Sep 1999 : SM Title
Summary: 29-Sep-1999
Writer:  Alan Cowsill
Writer/Editor:  Jason Quinn
Artist:  John Ross
Lettering:  Ant Gardner
Colorist:  Maria Keane
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Review

Doctor Carnage? Well, perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that the first part of our story shows how Doctor Octopus uses ultrasonic waves to summon Carnage, and then remove the symbiote from Cletus Kasady, the host. Right away, we're clearly not paying too much regard to classic continuity, since it is in fact Venom who is most vulnerable to sound, while Carnage is especially sensitive to fire.

Anyhow, Doc Ock quickly adopts the symbiote for himself and becomes "Doctor Carnage". For no good reason he then heads out into the streets of New York and confronts Spider-Man (who was quietly beating up muggers). Doc Carnage successfully defeats Spidey, and the web-head awakes to find himself strapped to a missile as it sits on the launch pad.

Ock's "plan" is to launch symbiote "spores" into the atmosphere, so that everybody will become like himself. At this stage, I would like to pose two good questions.

One... why did Doc fight Spider-Man at all? How does strapping somebody to the rocket advance his plans at all? Secondly... why steal the Carnage symbiote (which gives him immeasurable power) if his only use for it is to share that power with everybody else?

Those questions are never to be answered. Cletus arrives at the launch pad, and is easily defeated by Doctor Carnage. Spider-Man snaps the chains and fights Doc Carnage some more. The rocket launches, and for some (again inexplicable) reason, Doctor Carnage decides to jump onto the rocket and continue the fight there as it flies through the air.

In a remarkably silly mid-air fight that ignores all the regular laws of physics, Spider-Man manages to grab the spores (which are taped to the outside of the rocket) and leap free, landing safely. Doc Ock/Carnage also leaps free, but doesn't land so well. Spider-Man then finishes the fight with a punch to Otto's jaw. The Symbiote crawls free of it's temporary master, but doesn't have the strength to reach Cletus.

The End.

In General...

Check out the dialog here.

Spider-Man: "The fight's over. I've won!"

Yeah, there's a writer who trusts his artist. Not!

Overall Rating...

Well, the art is pretty. And it's the first ever original story in the Spider-Man magazine that brought you more original UK Spidey stories than any other. That's got to be good, right?

Well, no. This effort is kinda lame. One and a half webs.