Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #225

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Osborn Identity"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: British History

This review was first published on: Jan 2014.

Background...

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.

Very soon, this will become a reprint-only title. This is the second instalment in the three-issue arc which concludes the original material. That makes it the penultimate UK Spider-Man story!

Last issue: Kingpin has taken over Oscorp. Norman Osborn is having a Green Goblin relapse.

In Detail...

"The Kingpin Strikes"
Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #225
Sep 2011 : SM Title
Summary: 7-Sep-2011
Arc: Part 2 of "The Osborn Identity"
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In another Green Goblin hideout, Norman Osborn consumes a NEW Green Goblin Formula which will make him... "Invincible". As the potion takes its terrible toll, we leave him writhing in transformative agony, and follow the fortunes of Spider-Man, who stalks the night streets searching for Norman...

...only to be shot at by a high-tech-enhanced Tombstone. Spider-Man fights Tombstone, but is knocked unconscious by an electric rooftop trap...

...only to wake to find Kingpin, Tombstone, Scorpion and Sabretooth standing over him.

For some bizarre reason, Kingpin decided not to kill (or even unmask) his captured super-hero foe. Instead he has waited for him to recover, in order to allow Scorpion, Tombstone and Sabretooth to fight the wall-crawler in the basement of the Oscorp building.

The villains lay into our hero, until... here comes Wolverine!

The what? Wolverine? Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!

The explanation we are given is thus. Sabretooth has been working as Kingpin's assistant, setting up illicit arms deals of high-tech weaponry. Wolverine was following Sabretooth.

Oh? Really? Have a high-tech business transaction to conduct? Of course you'd hire a psychopathic half-wit for the job. That makes perfect sense. NOT!

Well, now we get the customary five pages of fight scene. Wolverine KO's Tombstone. Sabretooth fights Wolverine. Spider-Man fights Scorpion, then Kingpin. In the process, a fire is started which five minutes later has wiped out ALL of Oscorp, leaving Kingpin with nothing to show for his investment. Massive irony! Victory for the heroes!

Seriously? One fire wiped out the ENTIRE facility in a few minutes? What about sprinkler systems? And what about all the other facilities? We've seen Oscorp before. It has dozens of sites scattered around the USA and the world, each with many different buildings. And anyhow, even if all of the buildings in all of the sites were wiped out, who cares? Insurance will replace buildings, and a Research & Development company like Oscorp has its real value in its intellectual property, and its staff, none of which would be touched this accident.

In General...

Frankly, this is utter rubbish. Firstly, the Sabretooth/Wolverine tie-in is laughable. The two unkillable scrappers have no reason at all to be part of this plot. Sabretooth as businessman? Ludicrous?

Secondly, the primary plot advancement in the entire story (other than Norman Osborn slam-dunking his new formula) is the destruction of Kingpin's Oscorp interests — an idea which is equally daft, as per my preceding rant on the subject.

So all in all, the whole story is a dud. Take out the stupid stuff, and nothing is left but pointless fighting, fighting, fighting.

Overall Rating...

Not looking good here. One more issue left to go in this title, and things have headed downhill fast.

One web. Fingers crossed for a last-minute recovery next issue!

Footnote...

The artwork on the first page of this story is highly pixellated. It looks as if somebody lost the original high-definition artwork and the graphics team had to zoom in a low-resolution copy. But the second and following pages are back to their normal quality.