Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #217
Part 1 / Part 2
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. But there's still a few original UK stories to read before doom is pronounced.
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #217
Mar 2011 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Spidey, Lizard & Kraven in the Savage Land"
Here's the story:
Peter Parker has gotten a job working as a research assistant for Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard.
Connors manages to acquire a place on a research trip to the Savage Land (a secret jungle nestled among volcanoes in Antarctica, home to many strange plants, as well as living dinosaurs). Peter manages to get invited along too.
While hunting DNA samples, Connors is attacked by a dinosaur and becomes The Lizard (naturally). He then does the usual thing, quickly assembling an army of dinosaurs with which to attack the scientist's camp.
Peter becomes Spider-Man and defends the camp, but our web-headed hero is overwhelmed by dinosaurs, defeated by the Lizard, and dropped off a cliff to his doom...
...but he survives, and comes around to find himself captive of Kraven the Hunter.
This one plays out pretty much by the book, there's no surprises here. Nor is there a message, a moral, or enlightenment of any sort.
On the other hand, while unimaginative, the plotting is capable, the dialog is bearable, and there are no obvious errors, incongruities or inexplicable gaps in the logic. The artwork is slick and professional, with good use of color.
So what have we got at the end of it all?
Attractive art with capable story-telling. There's no spark in this story that would set it above a thousand other of its type, but equally there's nothing to mark it below the norm.
It has to be three webs. Let's see how this tale concludes next month, eh?