Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #212

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This review was first published on: Sep 2011.

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.

After a few years of erratic quality at best, this title is finally producing some half-decent material. Too bad that Disney (the new owner of Marvel) has announced its intention to pull the plug on all non-U.S. original stories. Still, we have a few more issues left to go before the end. Let's hope they're good ones...

In Detail...

"Web 'n' Arrows"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #212
Dec 2010 : SM Title
Summary: 8-Dec-2010
Editor:  Patrick Bishop
Writer:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  John McCrea
Inker:  Lee Townsend
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Review

The Daily Bugle has decided to do a feature spread on "Project Pegasus", the high-tech science center that investigates alternative energy sources. Often those energy sources involve tapping the powers of super-villains (and super-heroes for that matter). For that reason, it's common practice for Project Pegasus to employ the services of a high-powered super-hero as their head of security.

Unfortunately, they can't get any high-powered guys right now, so Hawkeye is standing-in for a while.

Thus it is that when Peter Parker is sent to take some photos (and even write some copy), he gets the guided tour from Hawkeye. But it doesn't take long before Peter's spider-sense to trigger, and so he decides to return after hours as Spider-Man, and gains stealthy entry to the facility, despite Hawkeye's earlier assurances that such a thing would be impossible.

Actually, perhaps that entry was facilitated by the fact that the security systems have been shut down. Not only that, Hawkeye is just about to be "shut down" as well, courtesy of "Goliath", the super-villain version. Spidey steps in to save Hawkeye from a beating, and the two of them quickly neutralize Goliath. Hawkeye then gives a quick sit-rep: The "Lethal Legion" (Goliath, Grim Reaper, Klaw, and the Swordsman) are here to capture the "Scalatron"... a device that the Grim Reaper intends to use to power a death ray, and hold the world to ransom.

With the clock ticking down, the heroes employ some solid teamwork to defeat Klaw and the Swordsman. With his team-mates out of action, the Grim Reaper wisely decides to surrender. All that is left is for Spider-Man and Hawkeye to trade verbal shots at each other concerning their various failed attempts to join credible super-hero teams.

In General...

The plot itself doesn't have any twists, or any lessons to learn. But it is sound and workable.

Not only that, it is also well-supported both with fine dialog from writer Ferg Handley, and bold and confident art work from McCrea and Townsend. There are no obvious plot holes... even the unusual fact that Peter (a photographer) is being asked to also write the copy is clearly justified.

Overall Rating...

Sound and solid, well written and well illustrated with slick, flowing dialog. More importantly, there's none of the loose ends that usually take the gloss off these stories.

This is worthy stuff. Three and a half webs.