Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #186

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This review was first published on: Jun 2010.

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. This is Spidey's primary UK non-reprint magazine. He also appears in the pre-school Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine), along with occasional guest appearances in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine).

The Spider-Man story occupies eleven or twelve pages of this 32 page publication, and is aimed at a pre-teen/early-teen market. The plots for these stories feature classic Marvel characters and villains. While they often echo plots from the mainstream comics, they do so 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 features Wolverine and Sentinels. I sense robot fragments in our near future, don't you?

In Detail...

"Night of the Hunter"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #186
Jun 2009 : SM Title
Summary: 10-Jun-2009
Editor:  Patrick Bishop
Script:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  Andie Tong
Inker:  Kris Justice
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Review

Wolverine is planning a night at the movies, catching up with some classic Samurai films. He knows they're going to be good good, because he saw them decades back when they first came out. But what's this? A Sentinel flying past?

Evidently Wolverine isn't the target, but clearly there's mutant hunting going on somewhere in town, and Wolverine isn't the kind of guy to stay uninvolved. He ditches the movie before he even gets to the popcorn, and heads out on the path of the Sentinel, which we soon learn is hunting... Spider-Man?

But, Spidey ain't no mutant, is he? And since when did Sentinels have tentacles like Doc Ock? And how come... well, while the good guys are pondering questions such as these, the Sentinel uses his tentacles to KO first Spider-Man and then Wolverine, before tramping off on foot with both of them hanging unconscious.

Now, if the next scene cuts to some secret base, I'm gonna scream. Because I really struggle with the idea that an 80-foot robot can just quietly walk through the streets of New York and turn up at some secret base. That's just ludicrous.

Cut to Doc Ock's secret base.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

OK, breathe deeply Jonathan. Remember, just like the therapist showed you.

And... were at Ock's base. His... secret... base. Spidey and Wolverine are hanging from electrified manacles, giving Ock the perfect opportunity to explain his master plan in true monologuing style. Summarized, it is: Ock recently escaped from prison. Norman Osbourne (mis-spelled in this comic - I mean for goodness' sake he's probably Spidey's #1 villain, how the heck can you mis-spell Norman's surname) has recently died, meaning security at Oscorp is poor. Ock snuck into Oscorp and discovered some Sentinels which Oscorp had presumably stolen from somebody else.

We learn that Ock reprogrammed the Sentinel, added the tentacles, and sent it off to capture Spider-Man. Wolverine arrived as a bonus, and the Sentinel's base programming grabbed him as well. Old robot habits die hard I guess. Anyhow, I think that brings us up to date.

So Ock is now going to have his Sentinel kill Spider-Man. Because of course he couldn't have done it while he was unconscious. Oh no, far too high a chance of success. Much more risky to wait until the heroes have gotten themselves settled again... until Wolverine has the chance to simply slice his constraints (ignoring the electro-blasts) and then free Spider-Man too.

Now, that's not quite the end of things. Seems that Ock has recently upgraded his tentacles to adamantium, leaving Wolverine somewhat disadvantaged in the battle that immediately follows. But fear not. While Wolverine distracts Ock, Spider-Man does the classic "reprogram the Sentinel in 20 seconds to attack the villain instead" trick. The Sentinel turns a plasma blast on Ock and with a massive burst of superheated ionized particles engulfs him in raw energy and... umm... stuns him unconscious?

Well, Wolverine then shreds the Sentinel, presumably before it gets any bright ideas about running a repeat on the "incapacitate Wolverine" program. Then with furrowed brows he heads off to Oscorp to finish any remaining robots. Why? Because as an old samurai once said... "Strike before the dawn, and the day that follows will shine all the brighter."

Hey, that must be a classic movie quote. Hmm... OK, Google doesn't recognize it. Shame.

In General...

I've read worse. Much worse. It won't win any Pulitzers, but it ticks all the boxes for a teenage magazine story. The typo on Norman's name is a bit of an embarrassing blunder, but I'm going to assume that this was somebody in the typesetting department and not attributed to writer Ferg Handley. Benefit of the doubt. See, that's what kind of decent person I am.

Overall Rating...

Perfectly competent.

Of course, it's just going to raise my expectations for next issue, and doubtless I'll be brought back crashing to earth. Frankly, this magazine does not have a good track record.

But hey, let's just enjoy the moment. Three and a half webs.