Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #194
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.
Last issue saw Norman re-introduced as the Green Goblin. This issue, well, Carnage is splashed all over the cover, so we would be naive to remove symbiotes from the equation at this point.
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #194
Nov 2009 : SM Title
Two page intro in one sentence: It's MJ's birthday and Peter plans to give her the expensive watch he just purchased, but instead must become Spider-Man to tackle the recently escaped Carnage (who has kidnapped a judge and threatens to kill him unless Spider-Man appears) while being unable to contact MJ and inform her that he will be late or absent from her party.
Cue a 7 page running battle as Carnage threatens innocent bystanders, while also stopping Spider-Man from phoning MJ (and eventually in fact smashing Peter's cellphone).
Well, Spidey eventually leads Carnage into a recording studio and defeats him with some sonic waves. But Oh Noes! it's too late to make it to the birthday bash!
Ring! Ring! It's MJ calling Peter at home. She got the flu' and the party was cancelled. So Peter heads on over to her house and sneaks in the window to give her the gift he got for her. Much hugging and transfer of infection all around.
Well, it's an over-simplistic linear story with a formulaic happy ending. Or is it?
Actually, a standard Peter Parker formula would have MJ angry at Peter's failure to turn up, and Peter home alone with his guilt and regret. A happy ending in this case is actually a bit of a switcheroo.
It's not a particularly complex story, but I'm a sucker for a happy ending so I'm going to give this one three webs. But let's see something a bit more involved next time around please.