This magazine for young kids was released every two months by Panini Magazines in the UK. This title started in 2013 and is the natural successor of the previous Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) which ended in 2011.
Each issue features an 8-page super-simplified re-telling of a classic Spider-Man story. The rest of the 34-page format is made up of activity, puzzle, poster, and reader-content pages. One or two full-page advertisements are for other Panini products.
Our story this month is "The Menace of Mysterio".
It's a trimmed-down summary of Amazing Spider-Man #13, similar in many ways to the truncated retelling which appears in The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Mysterio (Origin Storybook).
Let's just rattle through the details.
Five pages, 14 panels.
Frankly, this is not a particularly impressive effort. Let's pick at the details a little.
Sure, the first page shows initial promise. Spidey has apparently "gone bad", and Mysterio promises to defeat him. I'm a little disappointed that Jonah for falling for this trick again and again, but JJJ's character is well-established as possessing somewhat poor judgement when it comes to All Matters Spider-Man, so we'll let that slide.
The problems with the plot begin when Spider-Man "battles" Mysterio atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
I am Mysterio, and I will defeat you!
The editor's scalpel has cut so deeply here that nothing makes sense. There is no explanation of why Spider-Man is at the Brooklyn Bridge. There isn't even any real "battle". We simply see Mysterio dissolve Spider-Man's webbing, and then "Just as Spider-Man is about to attack, Mysterio vanished!"
(a) Even the caption is broken. Spidey already attacked with his webbing, so saying that Mysterio disappears "Just as [Spidey] is about to attack" makes no sense. Spider-Man had already attacked! And (b) I was told there would be a defeat! Where the heck is my defeat?!
Mysterio then returns to the Daily Bugle where Jameson congratulates the villain, saying "I always knew Spider-Man was a criminal!"
(c) Nothing we saw in the intermediate scene demonstrated that Spider-Man was a criminal. Also (d) Yet again, nothing in that scene shows Spider-Man being "defeated" as promised by Mysterio in his first meeting.
Story-wise, things don't improve at all from there onward. I can accept that Mysterio has re-activated an "old TV studio" and set up a Live TV broadcast of the fight (which occurs after Spider-Man follows him there, courtesy of the Spider-Tracer). That's classic Super-Villain stuff all over. Good Job, Mysterio! But then Mysterio undoes all his hard work to date by breaking an absolutely fundamental rule of the Super-Villain Introductory Handbook.
RULE #22: If you have set up a complex scheme to ruin the hero's public reputation, Do NOT confess to it on live TV! Not even if you start off by whispering... because you'll just find yourself yelling out loud with exclamation marks at the end of every sentence!
Having broken Rule #22 and completely fluffed everything, Mysterio tries to escape from the fight he is now losing. His improvised exit route breaks into the adjacent studio – where a sci-fi TV show is being recorded.... woah, hang on! We were clearly told that this is an "Old TV Studio". That is a terribly misleading description for a location which is still actively being used to shoot TV shows.
I mean, did nobody ask why Mysterio was assembling a hidden Super-Villain lair in Studio F? Did the hammering and banging of death-trap construction not upset the other users of this partly abandoned but clearly still active "old" TV studio?
Fine. Whatev-UH. Let's just jump ahead to the final scene.
And so, after the battle, Spidey was delighted to see the Daily Bugle headline. Jameson had to admit that Spider-Man was innocent!
And how did Spider-Man show his delight? Let me tell you. He celebrated his vindication by breaking-and-entering Jameson's office, and webbing the Editor's hands to his own desk.
You know what? I think Jameson was right after all. Spider-Man IS a menace. And a jerk. All the Daily Bugle did was accurately report that Spider-Man was seen by many witnesses allegedly committing a robbery. That was 100% true. It's what newspapers do. A free press underlies every healthy democracy. And when Spider-Man was shown to be innocent, the Bugle prints a headline retraction. Not a little page 12 small print retraction. No, it was a headline retraction.
And in return, the editor is intimidated? Effectively tied up, physically restrained? That's literally assault.
This version of Spider-Man is an asshole. A vindictive bully.
A very-badly scripted vindictive bully. One Web.