Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #178

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This story is part of an Arc: "Time Quest"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

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 are aimed at a pre-teen/early-teen market. The plots for these stories feature classic Marvel characters and villains, and often echo plots from the mainstream comics, but in their own special style.

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. This issue's story is "Time Quest (Part 6 and hopefully Part Final): Future Shocks".

Five super-villains intended to travel back in time to defeat Spider-Man, but instead have become isolated and stranded in random periods throughout time. As the Fantastic Four works to complete their return from the Negative Zone, Spider-Man and FF robot H.E.R.B.I.E. are taking the time-platform trip to New York 2099. No prizes for guessing what kind of world and what kind of heroes they may very likely encounter...

In Detail...

"Future Shocks"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #178
Dec 2008 : SM Title
Summary: 23-Dec-2008
Arc: Part 6 of "Time Quest"
Editor:  Ed Hammond
Script:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  Andie Tong
Inker:  Kris Justice
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Doc Ock is loose in 2099. Spidey heads in to track him down, armed with a high-tech power-draining device given to him by H.E.R.B.I.E. which might just allow him to deactivate the Doctor's mechanical arms - assuming he can find Otto before it's... too late!

In contrast to last episode where Spidey walked right in on the villain before being joined by the issue's team-up Spidey-Hero, this time Spider-Man 2099 swings in at the offset, attacking Spider-Man while accusing Peter Parker of being a Crim, and of being tied in with Doctor Octopus.

There's a bit of a contrast here in terms of "mainstream alternate universe" tie-in, if you know what I mean. While "Spectacular UK" portrayed Spider-Girl pretty closely to her original MC2 persona, this UK take on Spider-Man 2099 would have us believe that the 2099 version was a gung-ho super-hero through and through. My recollection doesn't really agree. As I recall, Miguel O'Hara was rather reluctant in his super-heroics.

Does it really matter if this 2099 version isn't quite so close to the "original"? Not really, I just thought I'd mention it. But let's get back to the story. Spidey 2009 and 2099 scrap for two and a half pages, before suddenly making the obligatory single-panel, instant, and shallow switch from psychotic assailant to willing colleague. That's just how these things work. Trust me.

Miguel introduces himself and invites Peter back to his apartment. He explains that Ock has been making smash-and-grab raids on several genetic institutes. Clearly Ock has a plot up one of his metal sleeves. Miguel also explains that the cops are not trustworthy in 2099, and then explains that he's hacked into the police systems - which conveniently tell them that Ock is heading to rob another facility right now.

All three super-types duly encounter Ock at the facility. Apparently Ock has been there for twenty minutes. The cops haven't turned up yet. Strange, given that their computer system knew about Ock's attack and given that the cops basically consider protecting the mega-corps to be their number-one over-zealous job. Meh, whatever.

Spidey and Spidey and Ock fight, of course. Ock explains he plans to steal a bunch of high-tech genetic stuff then take it back to our time and create a legion of super-powered allies. But Spidey and Spidey tag-team him, and slap the power-drainer on his back. Then they drag him back to the time platform where H.E.R.B.I.E. has been waiting. Spidey 1 says thanks to Spidey 2, then teleports back to his home place and time... well nearly.

Actually, there's been a minor miscalculation. Spider-Man lands back in the heart of the FF's Baxter Building headquarters, smack in the middle of the Sinister Six. Ooops!

To be concluded...

In General...

Sadly after a couple of not-too-shabby Ferg Handley stories, we're back to the usual dross. Once more, the logic has fallen out the bottom of the stories. Massively convenient coincidences abound on every page. Spider-Man 2099's character is completely lost, and we also fail to get any sense of the strangeness of the 2099 world. Meanwhile, Doc Ock is disappointingly dim for a so-called super-genius.

Overall Rating...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The last couple of stories were obviously accidentally entertaining aberrations. Back to the grind now, folks. Two webs.

Footnote...

Usual filler. Puzzles, Doctor Octopus fact-file, Spider-Man 2099 fact-file, posters, drawing page, competition, fan letters and art, spot-the-differences, and two pages of in-house advertisements. No third-party ads this issue.