Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #187
This review was first published on: Jun 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. 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... hmm... well I'm not entirely sure.
Let's see. There's Spider-Man on the cover, and The Wizard is there as well. Oh, that other guy must be Hydroman, so presumably this is some sort of "Frightful Four". That guy at the back might be Mr. Hyde, and the burning guy must be Human Torch. Not sure who the burning girl might be. I guess we'll find out.
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #187
Jul 2009 : SM Title
Flash, Liz and Peter have been at a rock concert. Peter stayed near the back, so he didn't get hurt in the mosh pit. And now he needs to go home and study. Naturally, Flash thinks that kind of attitude is pretty lame. But we all feel sorry for Peter, and... wait. No. Actually, we think Peter is pretty lame too. I mean, seriously, can we at least have a character we can feel at least some small degree of sympathy towards? Is that too much to ask?
Anyhow, ol' Peter "L" Parker is heading home, except... hey, that's Johnny Storm over there with his new sports car. And... that girl on fire is... Volcana? Sorry, not a name I recognize. But he's burning hot and looking for action. And not in a good way. So Johnny yells Flame On! and it's molten balls of fire over New York once again. Peter naturally swaps to Spidey-mode and follows as Volcana leads Torch to Washington Square Park (makes a change from Central Park). There we learn that, of course, it's a trap.
Yeah, it's the Frightful Four. Volcana, Hydroman, Wizard and Mister Hyde. Fed up with being defeated by the Fantastic Four, the Wizard plans to take them on one by one. Seriously, has he never tried that before? Not ever? Well, doesn't matter. Hydroman has put out Johnny's flame, so it's up to Spider-Man to step in and save the day.
Wizard flings an antigravity disk on Spidey and hangs him up in midair, leaving him somewhat disadvantaged. But don't worry, it's tag-team-time again. Though soaked and out of flame, Johnny grabs Volcana's ankle and uses his flame-absorbing powers to turn the tables. In moments, it's Volcana who is out of action, and Johnny's back in the game. One well-aimed firebolt melts the antigrav disk worrying Spidey, and all of a sudden it's 2 heroes vs. 3 villains and the odds are looking much better.
Four more pages of fighting and it's all over. Good guys win. Spidey goes home.
They say the secret to a successful marriage is avoiding the unforgivable. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing stories, you can't play the same trick. You can't just refuse to do anything interesting and say "see, I didn't make any mistakes".
This story attempts to succeed by taking no risks. It's just a series of fight scenes, tag-teaming through eleven brightly colored pages. To very little effect.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Two webs.