Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #182
This review was first published on: Feb 2010.
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 I see Mary Jane Watson on the cover, in the grip of The Lizard (remember we saw Curt two issues ago). Good thing here comes Spidey to save the day!
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #182
Mar 2009 : SM Title
|Reprinted In: Spider-Man Annual (UK) 2013|
We cut straight to the chase with our opening scene in the laboratory of Curt Connors. Curt is once more testing a serum, and once more it turns him into the Lizard, stronger than ever before. Spotting a nearby anti-serum, the Lizard destroys it, vowing never to let Spider-Man return him to human form. Not bad going for one and a half pages - villain introduced, back-story given, and set on rampage.
But before we forget who is the star of this show, cue Peter Parker and MJ. It's evening and they're supposed to meet "the gang" at the bowling alley, but Peter has to drop off some science fair notes at Empire State University for Curt Connors, who has been helping out at the high school science classes. MJ protests, but it has to be done.
Naturally, at ESU there is no Dr. Connors, only the green scaly guy. The cops are there, but that doesn't stop two teenagers from stumbling right into the combat zone. The scaly guy isn't hurt by the cop bullets, but he wants it to stop, so he goes for a hostage. Um... that would be MJ, naturally. Flicking Peter with his tail, The Lizard manages to grab the girl and makes a run for it. Peter just manages to tag him with a tracer.
While Peter explains things to the police, Lizzy has taken MJ to a shack on the waterfront. Why did he keep his hostage, when all he wanted to do was escape the noise? That's not clear, but what is clear is that (a) The Lizard is struggling with loud noises, and (b) MJ's plan to be kind to the Lizard isn't entirely failing. Kindness from a fleshy? How... interesting...
Peter changes to Spidey and checks out the Doc's lab. Remember that Doc helped patch up "The Spider" back in Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #180. Seems the Doc kept a sample of Peter's blood and used it to make a new formula. Of course, that caused some funky new Lizard transform, and there's no anti-serum any more.
Spidey turns up at the dockside shed empty-handed, catching Lizzy off-guard, and battle is joined. Naturally, however, like every good dockside warehouse this one is full of flammable chemicals and the place goes up with a bang. MJ is saved by... The Lizard. Seems ol' greenskin developed a soft spot for his captive. Then the "villain" dives into the water and escapes, leaving Spidey to assure Mary Jane (this version doesn't know Peter's secret) that her boyfriend was unharmed.
Well, this is all perfectly reasonable. It's a tough ask to drag something new out of a Lizard story these days, and I'm not sure if the "sympathy for humans" thing hasn't been done once or twice. But still, it fills the eleven pages perfectly well, and there's nothing too ghastly to complain about.
Three webs. Entirely functional.