Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #67
This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History
This review was first published on: Sep 2011.
This long-running three-weekly UK Magazine started out by running reprints for 51 issues. But starting with issue #52, 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.
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #67
Nov 2000 : SM Title
Our story begins as Spider-Man intervenes in a simple bank robbery. Simple? Wait, this is nothing but simple. Except, perhaps simple in the "not very clever" sense.
This story is about as full of holes as a swiss cheese that has been used for mini-gun target practice. If I pointed out the fundamental problems on the way, we'd be here forever. So I'll simply relate the story first, then we'll get to what makes it so dumb.
The robbery is being committed by Ghengis Khan, and Billy the Kid. They are assisted by an old granny.
The villains are not stealing money from this local bank. They are stealing a trolley of gold. The gold is about a meter cubed (about three foot on each side, for you non-metric types). That's about 20 metric tons, by the way. The gold belongs to Doctor Doom. The bad guys take the gold stand on a platform and then disappear.
Spider-Man asks himself "How do I capture someone who's escaped into time itself?!"
Doom suddenly appears. Spider-Man attacks, but is easily stopped by Doom. Doom explains that his time platform was stolen from Castle Doom by "one of Spider-Man's many enemies".
Doom then sends Spider-Man back in time to capture the thieves. Back to the Titanic, four hours before it sinks. Ghengis Khan, Billy the Kid and Granny are in the bar.
One of the passengers says "I didn't know there was a fancy dress party".
Spider-Man sneaks into the bar. The Granny reveals him/herself to be the Chameleon. Spider-Man mentions that the Titanic is going to sink soon. That is overheard by the waiter, who then rushes off to warn the Captain.
Suddenly, Spider-Man and the Chameleon are dragged forward in time Doom's Castle. Doom's costume malfunctions, and he is nearly sucked into the time vortex. Spidey saves Doom's life.
Doom tells Spidey to "...be grateful the Chameleon's travels didn't change the course of history". Meanwhile, a television on the wall of Doom's castle announces that the Titanic is to set sail on it's 200th voyage.
So what's wrong with this story?
1. How come Genghis Khan speaks perfect English?
2. Banks don't actually keep gold in their safes, especially not a billion dollars worth of gold.
3. Since Doom knows who the ringleader was, why didn't he assist Spider-Man by giving him that info?
4. Why does Doom even have a Time Platform if he has the power to manipulate time without it?
5. There was actually no costume party on the last night of the Titanic, so why are the other bar patrons dressed in costume?
6. Specifically, why are two of the bar patrons dressed in WWII German uniforms, years before World War II?
7. If Doom can remotely pull Spider-Man and Chameleon back through time, why send Spider-Man at all?
8. If Doom is so keen to avoid problems in the timestream, why did he leave Genghis Khan and Billy the Kid on the Titanic. The absence of Genghis in particular from his real place in time will cause immense disruptions.
9. If you're looking for a good place to stash gold, why on earth would you go to a just-about-to-sink cruise liner?
10. Doom has a 14-inch TV on his castle wall for... what purpose?
This comic manages to pack more illogical, inconsistent ideas into its meager length than any other eleven page story in the history of comic-dom.
Add that to the fact that it leaves Spider-Man in a seriously messed-up timestream, and this story is rapidly heading towards the zone of "tales that are safest forgotten".
In fact, this one is so impossibly daft that it manages to cross that line into "Tales that are so stupid they become almost endearing".
Note I said "almost". One Web.
In the background of one scene on the deck of the Titanic, a quickly fading "Police Box" is visible. Clearly a tip-o-the-hat to Doctor Who, this is a nice little gag. I didn't notice it the first time through. It is by far and away the most subtle and the cleverest joke in the whole comic.