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).
Started in 1995 as "reprints plus filler", it transmogrified itself a few years later and swapped that reprint content for 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. It's still running today (in 2010).
Since I don't live in the UK, I've been dependent on the kindness of others to get my hands on a regular feed of this title. In the past four years, I've been able to review every issue starting with #152. Now thanks to the miracle of eBay, I've acquired most of the issues from #132 up to #151... so let's get on with the job of filling in the gaps in our Looking Back section... "British History".
In current issues, Norman Osborn is dead... at least for now. Nobody (except Spider-Man) knows that he died as the Green Goblin, and his son Harry believes Spider-Man to be responsible for the murder of an innocent man.
Spider-Man is doing his late night rounds when he stumbles onto an armoured car robbery commited by the Enforcers. Fancy Dan, Ox and Montana are a talented bunch, but they're normally no match for Spidey. So they give the webhead a heck of a fright when they manage to overcome him, thanks to their regular abilities having somehow been enhanced into super-abilities. The police arrive just in time to save Spider-Man from further humiliation, but the message is clear. The Enforcers are no longer in the minor leagues!
Peter decides to take a break by visiting his friend Harry Osborn, but the result is far from comforting. Harry is visiting a psychiatrist who seems to be trying to treat Harry's shock loss of his father Norman by encouraging him to focus on his anger against Spider-Man. Unusual therapy, and one that makes for a disconcerting experience for Peter.
Since the Peter Parker thing didn't go so well, our hero returns to his Arachnid Alter Ego and starts hitting the local bars to find some sort of clue to the Enhanced Enforcers. That pays dividends very quickly when he encounters Wolverine who is also seeking information, specifically in relation to a supposed recent shipment of MGH - Mutant Growth Hormone. In case you've been living in a box for the last ten years, that's a nifty substance that turns humans into mutants temporarily. It's expensive stuff, and dangerous too.
Between them, Spidey and Wolverine manage to get a tip-off about a black market MGH auction happening that same night, with the Hyped-Up Enforcers being offered as proof of the drug's potency. Naturally, our two heroes gate-crash the auction and make their presence felt. The Enforcers attempt to reprise their defeat of Spider-Man, but this time the web-head is well prepared, not to mention having Wolverine on his side. Things get wrapped up in no time at all, and the MGH is taken off the streets.
But who is behind all this? The Enforcers obviously aren't the masterminds in this affair. Nope, this has "Kingpin" written all over it, and so Spider-Man pays Wilson Fisk an visit without the courtesy of making an appointment in advance. He warns Kingpin to lay off the MGH trading. He also leaves him a sticky web-parcel on his chair. It's the little victories that make the difference.
This s a perfectly adequate story from guest writer Mitchel Scanlon. There's nothing particularly inspired, but equally there's no gaping plot holes and the scripting flows well enough. Art by John Royle is superb and is well complemented by inker/colorist Dylan Teague.
Overall, capable enough for three webs.