Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #170

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

This long-running UK Magazine started out by running reprints, but these days it offers a brand new "out of continuity" Spider-Man story every three weekly issue.

The Spider-Man story occupies eleven or twelve pages of the 32 page magazine, and is aimed at a pre-teen/early-teen market. But what is it they say in Hollywood - "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of their audience." Clearly that's a maxim the publishers and writers of this particular offering have taken to heart.

The remaining pages of each issue are filled with puzzles, posters and factoids centered around the issues guest star(s), be they heroes or villains. The last couple of issues have featured Iron Man, clearly to tie in with the May 2008 movie release. Given that the following month (June 2008, naturally) saw the release of the Incredible Hulk movie, it's no big surprise to see the Jade Giant on the cover of this issue.

In Detail...

"Green Day"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #170
Jul 2008 : SM Title
Summary: 09-Jul-2008
Editor:  Ed Hammond
Script:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  Andie Tong
Inker:  Kris Justice
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Review
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Annual (UK) 2013

An exhausted Bruce Banner is sitting in a disused Brooklyn warehouse. Naturally, he's just finished a rampage as the Incredible Hulk, and is trying to get his life together and find a little peace and quiet. But that's not likely to happen any time soon, as General "Thunderbolt" Ross assembles his "Hulk-Busters", an elite force of soldiers in high-powered combat suits. Think Mech-Warriors, or pretty much any Japanese battle-suit TV series.

General Ross proves the old adage that "Military Intelligence is a contradiction in terms." Knowing that the Hulk is in Bruce Banner form, and knowing that ten seconds of stress is sufficient to trigger the transformation into the Hulk, General Ross gives Banner a 30-second warning before launching his attack. What a maroon!

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is at his Aunt's house. He, MJ and Aunt May are watching "Wedding Day Blues 2". I mention it because it's the topic of several panels of conversation among the three of them. Me, I've never heard of the film, so it all goes over my head somewhat. Any how, the point becomes moot when an emergency news bulletin interrupts the movie. Yeah, you guessed. Hulk on Rampage in downtown New York. Again.

Spidey swings into town. It ain't hard to find the Hulk, he's in all-out war with the Hulk-Busters. Spider-Man tricks the Hulk into bringing down a building on himself. Of course, that just makes him mad, so it's time for Plan B.

Plan B is Peter unmasking himself and talking in a calm voice to the Hulk. Yeah, really. Peter unmasked himself in front of a couple-dozen soldiers staring at him through the sights of sniper rifles and vision-enhancing video-recording high-tech robot headsets. Well, if there's any sense in the world, there goes his secret identity, eh?

But there is no sense in this world. As also evinced by the fact that the sight of a young kid in a Spidey suit without a mask is sufficient to de-enrage the Hulk. So, every time the Hulk sees an innocent bystander, he de-Hulks? I mean, really, that's a pretty lame solution here. Oh well, it's what happens, so let's accept it and move on.

The army zaps Banner with a tranq dart. So, why didn't they just sneak into the warehouse at the start and do that before he transformed in the Hulk, thus saving several billion dollars worth of damage and disruption to Manhattan? Why? Well, 'cos these stories are all about the fight scenes.

As the army takes Banner away, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense goes tingly, but he shrugs it off. More fool he, since clearly that's our lead-in to part 2 of this double-barreled story. Be back in three weeks for the conclusion!

In General...

Dumb, dumb, dumb as usual. This really is lowest-common-denominator stuff here. You really can't turn your brain on while reading these stories - it just leads to cognitive dissonance.

Overall Rating...

This is a gawd-awful tale, unappealing on pretty much every level. One web.

Footnote...

The rest of the issue is filled with Hulk, Hulk-Busters & General Ross. Hulk Profiles, Spot-the-Difference, General Ross Profile, Competitions to win Hulk Stuff, Puzzle Pages, Coloring Pages, Poster Pages, Hulk Movie Stills & Blurb, and the regular Letters Page. That's a wrap. Thanks for coming.