Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #196
This review was first published on: Aug 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.
After a couple of issues tussling with heavyweights Carnage and Juggernaut, Spider-Man is due for a holiday. However, I'm not entirely sure he's going to get the well-earned rest he so richly deserves, in this tale entitled "Winter Blunderland"...
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #196
Jan 2010 : SM Title
OK, this looks like one of the trickier plots to come out of this magazine for a month or two, so let's step through it by the numbers. First, the scene: Your everyday shopping mall. Time: The festive season formerly known as Christmas. Let's count it up.
One: Ben Grimm aka The Thing is all costumed up as Frosty the Snowman raising money for charity.
Two: Rhino has broken Cobra out of jail. Cobra is going to steal the charity money, abandon his partner, and make the dash to Mexico all by himself.
Three: Peter Parker is also at the mall, taking photos of Thing/Frosty for the Bugle, and also doing a little shopping.
We've got fuel, we've got oxygen, let's light the spark. Cobra duly makes his move on the charity cash and gets caught by The Thing. The Rhino comes charging in from outside (hasn't yet realized that Cobra is planning to short-change him), while Peter rapidly becomes Spidey. That makes four - time for a super-hero live action hand of bridge!
The Thing tackles Rhino, even as Spider-Man fails to lay a hand on the slippery snake. After a couple of rounds of "grab the loot bag", The Thing throws the Rhino through a wall and just manages to tag the Cobra just before he gets away with the cash.
The F.F.'s insurance covers the damage to the mall (what, don't they have their own insurance?). Ben spends Christmas with the Four, while Peter spends it with May and Mary-Jane. The Rhino and Cobra get to spend Christmas together too... they're maximum security cell-mates!
Three page intro, seven pages of fighting, and a one-page wrap-up. Really, this was all just an excuse for a four-way rumble.
Sure, it was fun to see Ben as Frosty. Sure, all the clobbering was nicely drawn. But in the end this was nothing but a simple scrap. There's nothing to really hook the interest here. It's all about as fascinating as a walk around your local mall. A splash of color, much activity, but not a great deal really going on beneath it all. Two webs.