Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #123

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History

This review was first published on: Oct 2010.

Background...

Welcome to our "British History" lecture series. Our goal is to shed some light onto the murky history of one of Spidey's lesser known current titles... the alternate universe UK-only series Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine).

Started in 1995 as "reprints plus filler", it transmogrified itself a few years later and swapped that reprint content for 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. It's still running today (in 2010).

Since I don't live in the UK, I've been dependent on the kindness of others to get my hands on a regular feed of this title. My original sources helped me get issues #103-#118, and I reviewed them as they came out. Then I lost my supply for two or three years until the late #140's when I started collecting again in earnest. Most recently I have been picking up a few back issues on eBay UK, and dutifully filling in the gaps in this Looking Back section entitled "British History".

This month's cover is marked "Fright Night" and promises us monsters and beasties and things that go "THUMP CRASH KAPOW!" in the night.

In Detail...

"Riders in the Storm!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #123
Oct 2005 : SM Title
Summary: 12-Oct-2005
Editor:  Ed Hammond
Writer:  Jim Alexander
Pencils:  Jon Haward
Inker:  Simon Ecob
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Splash page. Ghost Rider knows a storm is brewing, and he's heading for the center of it.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker and Mary Jane are eating dinner at "Omelette Heaven!" when a trio of 8-foot tall demons smash through the window. Not wanting to disclose his identity, Peter accidentally trips and knocks out two of them, while MJ grabs a pan and KO's the other one from behind. Strangely, to do this she uses a frying pan which contains a fried egg. Clearly, somebody involved in this story has never actually cooked an omelette. Also, I suspect they have never actually seen three spawn of Satan battle two college kids.

Now, remember that in this continuity, MJ is not aware of Peter's secret identity. So imagine what she must be thinking when Peter asks one of the waiters to take her home, while Peter promises "to find out who's responsible, one way or another". Just, put yourselves in her shoes for a moment. Mmm... sexy high heels! Now, run your hands over her thighs for an instant. See, doesn't that feel odd? My point exactly!

Well, Peter becomes Spider-Man and heads outside to find a swarm of gargoyles, werewolves, and other assorted super-natural gremlins. He fights a few, then Ghost Rider turns up. They fight a few more, then ride off to find Mephisto, who is bored. Yeah, it's been fifteen minutes, he's conquered this realm, and he's bored already.

Mephisto brags for a bit. Victory is his, nobody can stop him, etc. He's going to turn everybody into mindless zombies. Usual demonaic-overlord stuff. Spider-Man surrenders (or at least, pretends to), and Mephisto offers to spare New York if Spider-Man will join him. Seriously? As if our hero would ever consider anything like that. You're talking crazy-talk, devil-dude!

But then Ghost Rider jumps through the our-world/demon-world portal and disappears out of sight in Hell (tm). Mephisto is so freaked about what Ghost Rider might be doing back in his own kingdom that he abandons Earth. It would seem that Ghost Rider has a really bad reputation as a house guest. More to the point, clearly Mephisto is a one-man band, and doesn't trust anybody else to take care of things at home.

So, New York is saved, again. Peter heads back to MJ's house, presumably still smelling of brimstone, fire and sweat. There, they finish their meal, eating something which looks a bit like omelette and a bit like pizza. But Peter can't help but know that... "[he'll] be meeting Mephisto again."

Never a truer word spoken.

In General...

What a daft story, and what bizarre behavior. Your college-kid date takes you to a restaurant. You are attacked by demons, and he sends you home with a waiter? And that's not worth an objection? Note that Peter doesn't even say "I'm going to go take photos for the Bugle". Nope, just that he's gonna go find out who is responsible.

C'mon guys. Yes, it's a comic. You can stretch the conventions of normal society. But you can't twist them into a pretzel and shove them in your ear. At some point, the actions you depict become so removed from every-day acceptable patterns that we can no longer sympathize with your characters. And that's when we no longer care about your story.

Overall Rating...

Laughable. This is facile rubbish through and through. One lame-ass web.