Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #208
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...
In previous issues: Spider-Man and Daredevil have spent the last two issues messing around with the Enforcers and Doctor Octopus. Along they way the picked up Iron Fist and Tigra, before putting Ock out for the count.
Now our heroes have just stumbled into Ultron, the super-robot! Was Ultron in league with Doc Ock? Actually, no, it's a bit more indirect than that.
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #208
Sep 2010 : SM Title
Ultron zaps all four heroes unconscious, then heads off on his own mission. Spidey and Tigra recover about an hour later, while Daredevil and Iron First are still out of it. So Spider-Man and Tigra head off to try and track down Ultron, leaving the other two good guys lying on the pavement.
And... already we've got a couple of serious glitches here. Remember that Ultron's goal in life is to wipe out every trace of humanity. So what would make him KO the super-heroes and then wander off without actually killing them? And as for heading off into battle and leaving half your team lying on the sidewalk to sleep a little longer? I thought Spider-Man was supposed to be clever?
At least Spidey and Tigra do have enough smarts to call up Henry Pym (aka Ant-Man, Giant-Man, etc.), Avengers stalwart and one-time creator of Ultron. With a little investigation, the three heroes figure out that Ultron's consciousness must have been hiding in Ock's super-computer without the Doctor's knowledge. With the defeat of Ock and the pending-destruction of his lab, Ultron was forced to prematurely construct a body using whatever components he could find at hand.
Pym figures that Ultron will now be looking for some Adamantium, the super-metal preferred for exterior cladding by nine out of ten evil psycho-robots. A quick Google identifies the closest source as a research lab in NYC, so Spidey and Tigra head off. Pym agrees to meet them there.
Arriving at the scene, Spider-Man and Tigra discover Ultron smashing his way towards the Adamantium. Tigra says "we've got to find a way to slow him down", then disappears without further comment for the next six pages, leaving Spider-Man to take a one-sided beating at the hands of Ultron.
Eventually, the web-slinger is overcome, and Ultron reaches the Adamantium. The robot proceeds to absorb the (currently liquid form) metal all over his body. Spider-Man watches in despair, until Pym suddenly appears and drags Spider-Man to safety, just as Ultron goes BIG BOOM, vaporized into his atomic components. It seems that Spider-Man's last desperate battle with Ultron gave Pym just the time he needed to mix some unstable elements into the Adamantium, giving Ultron a nasty surprise.
Speaking of surprises... Tigra returns, asking "Hey, guys ... what's happening?" I wonder where she has been?
No, seriously. I wonder where she has been. She truly just wandered off half-way through the story, as if she suddenly remembered she had to tend her crops in Farmville.
This is the conclusion to a three-part arc. To some extent, it contains some pay-off for the slow and simplistic set-up of the preceding two issues. However, as always seems to be the case, any hint of intrigue in the story is inevitably accompanied by a series of gaping logic holes in the plot.
More interesting than its predecessors, but equally more flawed. Two and a half webs.