Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #181

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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 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. Last issue featured a Spider-Woman team-up. This time around... well, Galactus and Silver Surfer feature on the cover...

In Detail...

"Space Race!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #181
Feb 2009 : SM Title
Summary: 25-Feb-09
Editor:  Patrick Bishop, Simon Frith
Script:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  JimHaward
Inker:  David Roach
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Review

The Silver Surfer, former herald of Galactus, now dedicates himself to protecting humanity from those who would threaten it. But nobody comes to protect the Surfer when Kang the Conqueror pops up from nowhere and zaps Silvey with a hyper-cannon. Ouch! Planet Earth is in big trouble.

Of course, trouble is what fires up Spidey's spider-sense, and that's why our hero wakes up with a buzzing in his head, and tracks cross-country until he finds the Silver Surfer strapped to a giant high-tech device. It seems that the Surfer is playing unwilling "Power Battery" for the Kang's portal, through which the Konquery Kang intends to transport his armies from the future back to current day.

Let's not argue the pros and cons of placing your power-portal near New York, and hence near the biggest concentration of super-heroes on the planet. Instead, let's check out Silver Surfer's predicament and his solution to the problem. Unable to free himself (the machine is locked to his genetic structure), and with "not enough time to seek help from" the heavyweight super-heroes of our planet (The Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc.) Silver can instead only come up with a plan to spare a little of his power to send Spider-Man surfing through space in a desperate attempt to seek aid from Galactus.

That's right. There's no time to send Spider-Man across town to find people who are guaranteed to want to help. But there IS sufficient time to send Spider-Man across the entire damn galaxy to ask help from a big pink guy who is probably still mad at Silver Surfer for betraying him. Does this make any sense? Or even better... why not send Spider-Man to notify the FF/Avengers, and then have them fight a stalling action while Spider-Man goes on the main trip to see if Galactus will help? Seems that Silver Surfer got all the power, but none of the damn brains!

Well, Galactus isn't interested in helping Earth. But the big pink planet-eater is pretty mad at Kang for stealing the power cosmic granted to the former herald. So Galactus gives Spider-Man a device which will reverse the power-drain. In the best comic tradition, Spider-Man gets back just in time to attach the device as Kang returns and prepares to open the portal for his army. Spider-Man stalls Kang as much as he can while Silver Surfer recovers, just in time (again) to defeat Kang, and just in time (once more) to stop the army.

Kang then is forced to flee just in time (one last time) to get back through his portal before the power drains away for ever. The planet is saved. But at what price to our hero? Spider-Man's mind is finally starting to crack under the amazing overwhelming burden of all he has seen in Galactus and in his cosmic travels. Silver Surfer has no choice but to wipe Spider-Man's brain of all the night's memories, in order to save the web-head's sanity.

In General...

Well, we're back once more to a regular diet of highly improbable happenstance and not-particularly-logical decisions. I also can't see why Silver Surfer felt it necessary to wipe all Spider-Man's memories of the evening. Couldn't he just have softened them? Or could he just wiped the memories of the space trip, but left the battle with Kang? Peter Parker has a pretty exceptional brain. If Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four can handle a few cosmic adventures with no ill-effect, then why on earth is a brain-wipe required on Spidey?

Overall Rating...

Silliness reigns once more. A disappointing two-web rating is the best I can offer.

Footnote...

Twenty-something pages of coloring, posters, puzzles and fact-files bring the 11 page story up to 36 pages (including front and back covers). Kang and Silver Surfer feature heavily in the fill-in material, naturally.