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.
"The fair is in town. Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl and their pal Cyclops are enjoying all the bright lights and funny smells."
Enjoying the funny smells? Well, if you say so. Artist Nigel Dobbyn has more to answer for when it comes to the funny drawings. The heroes are drawn in some bizarre muscle-manga style, but with huge bloated feet and hands. They look like the poster kids for pre-pubescent steroid abuse, with the addition of a nasty case of elephantiasis in all four limbs. *Shudder*.
The three laugh at themselves in the house of Funny Mirrors. They bump at the bumper cars. Spidey plays the ring toss while Cyclops tells him to "STAY ON TARGET!" I presume that's intended as a reference to Star Wars...
Gold Leader: It's no good, I can't maneuver!
Gold Five: Stay on target.
Gold Leader: *We're too close!*
Gold Five: Stay on target!
Cyclops wins a soft toy and gives it to Spider-Girl. He's staying on target!
"Let's go on the Big Wheel," says Spider-Girl. "It goes very high," says Mr. Obvious the Spider-Man.
But Oh Noes! The big wheel is broken down and all the passengers are stuck. That always happens when a super hero turns up. If I ran a big wheel business I would have a strict "no Super Heroes in the fairground" policy. Seriously, I challenge you to find a big wheel or a roller coaster in a super-hero comic that doesn't break down, explode, topple, or at the very least act as the site for an assassination attempt.
The fairground operator calls the fire brigade. But the Spider-team have a "better" idea. They make a giant web trampoline and get everybody to jump down! Everybody has a great time! The fire brigade turn up, but they've wasted their time. Everybody is having a great time jumping on the web-tramp.
Well, it's silly enough I guess. Though it does seem to fall rather flat. My expectations for a plot twist are pretty low in a grade school story like this, but even so I feel that there really wasn't anything in here at all in this plot.
Not really much of anything here. Subtract the disturbing distorted artwork and we're left with a hollow two webs.