This UK kids magazine is one of two regular Spidey magazine offerings from Panini. Spider-Man & Friends targets the 4-10 year old market, while sister publication Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) aims at the pre-teen and teen crowd.
Spider-Man & Friends features a distinctively drawn semi-Manga style kiddie Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus early school versions of Hulk, Wolverine, Beast, Storm and Captain America along with guest appearances from many other big name Marvel heroes and villains. Toy tie-ins are also available.
Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. Essentially, it's the same format as the older kids magazine, just reworked for a much younger target audience.
"It's Saturday morning. Spider-Man, Storm and the Lizard have decided to visit the library." Wow, do libraries still exist? I guess the homeless people need somewhere to go when it rains. It's hard to take shelter under the Internet.
The Lizard appears to be on his best behavior, despite being in his scaly green form, he manages to resist taking over the world, or even the neighborhood with an invasion of his reptilian horde. With Spidey and Storm, he's gone to his local library to take part in a multi-player Super-Mario-Kart competition organized by the library to encourage kids to come in to the library and... um... play more video games.
Just kidding. Incredibly, the three kiddi-supers have come to read books! "The library is full of wonderful books which you can either read there or can borrow for a few weeks if you're a member." Spider-Man picks up a book on Spiders, while the Lizard grabs a book on dinosaurs. That's his favorite thing.
Lizard tells us a little about dinosaurs, then Spidey asks the librarian if there's anywhere they can go to see dinosaurs today. He suggests the special exhibit at the museum. Oh dear. In the regular comics, Spidey can't enter a museum without some funky ray activating the Dinosaur exhibit, or the Ancient Egyptian exhibit, or something similar. But normally dinosaurs and Egyptians.
"The city museum is only a short walk from the library." The "heroes" (seems Lizard is counted as a hero for the moment) head inside. The museum guy is still assembling the exhibit. Yeah, right, those lousy incompetent museum staff can never stick to a schedule... not like those helpful library guys!
The museum curator is attempting to single-handedly place the skull of the giant dinosaur skeleton. He's standing up the top of a rickety step-ladder while doing so. Not surprisingly, he falls down. Disaster is imminent!
Storm flies up and grabs the man, while Spidey's webbing saves the priceless skull. Lizard uprights the ladder and puts the skull in place. "Well, (Spidey Laughs) you did say you wanted to get close to a dinosaur today!"
Heh, kids choosing to go to a library voluntarily on a Saturday morning. What crazy, off-the-planet ideas they have in this alternate universe.
Anyhow, the moral of the story if this. Libraries and librarians are totally cool! Museum staff are incompetent in pretty much every aspect of their job.
There's nothing particularly clever or amusing in this story, though I must begrudgingly admit that it is told in a competent and capable manner.
I could imagine a teacher reading this tale aloud in a pre-school to a bunch of four year olds, pointing at the pictures as they relate the events of each panel. I could also imagine that same teacher gritting their teeth with every page, since there's nothing in here to amuse anybody with a mental age in double digits.
A mediocre 2-and-a-half webs from me for this barely passable effort.
This story brought to you by the International Librarian's Association.