Welcome to our "British History" lecture series. Our goal is to shed some light onto the murky history of one of Spidey's lesser known current titles... the alternate universe UK-only series Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine).
This UK magazine series started in 1995 running "reprints plus filler". Then in 1999 the formula changed to feature 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. The title ran nearly exclusively original stories in that new format until 2011, when it reverted to a reprint series after Disney acquired Marvel and pulled the plug on UK-created content.
At Spider-Fan, we reviewed many of those original stories as they came out, until we lost our UK supply chain. Now, thanks to the joint miracles of eBay UK and international shipping, we're planning to track down and review all those other stories that slipped through the cracks the first time around.
Welcome to this full-blast issue of Spectacular Spider-Man (UK). This month features romance, excitement, and action, action, action!
Hey. That's not bad. Maybe I should apply for a job writing intro blurb for super-hero comics?
Anyhow, it's "hunting season". Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime has declared war on our beloved web-slinger, with a $12,000,000 bounty. That means that every crook, thug and killer in New York who owns a rifle is going to be out gunning for Spidey. Foremost among them is Bullseye, the deadly psycho with the super-natural throwing and shooting powers.
Mind you, it's not as if Spidey needed any new challenges. Having spent the past few issues overseas in Pagadora, plus a brief stint in hospital, he is well behind on (a) his school work, and (b) his duties as boyfriend to the lovely Mary Jane. In fact, MJ is so angry that she turns up in person at the library just to dump Peter (who is studying), then storm out again. It's pretty formulaic stuff, but hey, at least we're getting to see the supporting cast in action for a change.
Speaking of supporting cast, Peter also has a dinner date downtown with his lovely Aunt May, and her new boyfriend, Michael Angel (aka the former Golden Age super-hero, The Angel). Naturally, Peter is running late, and so he swaps into his Spider-Man mode in order to do some rapid web-swinging. But as soon as he appears in public in the red-and-blue underwear, he finds himself becoming a moving target for rifle practice on every street corner. Still, thanks to his Spider-Sense, he manages to make it safely to the restaurant and change back into his civilian identity.
Unfortunately, Bullseye has spotted him enter the building. So as soon as Peter sits down at the table, another horde of bad guys starts converging on the restaurant. Peter is forced to make an excuse, run to the bathroom, and change back into Spider-Man once more, just as a mob of gun-toting psycho-killers smash through the front door, Bullseye among them.
Suddenly it's all out war. On one side, the usual mix of "bad guys". On the other, it's Spider-Man, The Angel and Daredevil. Woah, hang on a sec! Daredevil? Yeah, Daredevil. By complete coincidence, Matt Murdoch was having dinner at the adjacent table, and he quickly joins the fray.
Everything hits the fan about then. The heroes take down a number of minor thugs. Bullseye throws a knife at the Angel, who is miraculously saved when the projectile his blocked by the new cellphone sitting in his jacket pocket. Outnumbered, Bullseye decides to retreat, covering his exit by pulling down a pillar and collapsing the entire building in his wake.
The heroes are forced to protect the innocent bystanders, allowing Bullseye to make his retreat back to the Kingpin, where he admits defeat, but announces "[Spidey would] be finished if it wasn't for Daredevil. I'll get him next time."
Action, action, action. Also cliché, cliché, cliché!
While there's nothing fundamentally wrong with this issue, there's not much really right with it either. It's just a generic Spider-Man story in the animated universe genre.
Could have been worse. Could have been better. Let's give it a "meh" rating of two-point-five webs.