This is the first in a 60-issue series of weekly magazines sold in supermarkets and newsagents in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a couple of other obscure places. The first couple of issues (at least) feature an original 7-page Spidey story, which qualifies it as a must-include for SpiderFan. Plus there's a pack of trading cards with each issue. How can I resist?
Spider-Man has found the Green Goblin's secret HQ tower, and now he's battling Osborn outside the super-fortified building. As the super-hero and the super-villain battle, they announce their every move as if they're giving some sort of running commentary in then most childish of styles, each attempting to outdo the other with the most facile and pointless declaration.
The Goblin leads Spidey in through a secret door in the side of the tower, where our hero is surrounded by the rest of The Sinister Six! Ock, Lizard, Sandman, Electro and Mysterio. At least it's a classic line-up! "Thanks for saving me the trouble of tracking you down, you creeps!" yells Spider-Man.
"I'll use this ray cannon!" Says Mysterio. "No! That's untested! It's unstable!" Shouts Green Goblin. KA-THROOOM! The rest of the gang flee, leaving a wounded Spider-Man and Green Goblin behind in the burning building as the police arrive. Spider-Man is the first to recover. But what should he do?
"What a dilemma..." (he muses, wasting precious time) "Do I save myself? Or risk my life to rescue my deadliest foe!"
The fact that he even has to ask the question confirms what has been obvious since panel one. This ain't any Spider-Man I'm familiar with. Really, this is a mile away from any "regular" Spidey comic. The story is as clumsy as a three legged bull in an crystal vase factory.
The rest of this issue features "Madame Web's World of Mystery Spider-Myths" (did you know that there is a vampire spider that lives at the bottom of the ocean?) There's a centerfold poster, a two page "Fact File #1 - Origin of Spider-Man". Then there's two pages of "Learn to Draw Spider-Man", a two page introduction to the "Spider-Man Power Cards" that we will all be collecting, and two pages of puzzles.
Wrap it all up with a page of "Bring on the Bad Guys", this month featuring Green Goblin's Pumpkin Bombs. The end.
Counting front and back inside/outside covers there's 24 pages.
This month's issue also includes (in the special cardboard holder, see the photo) a 2x3 fold-out poster with a checklist of all 226 regular, 33 rare, 10 super rare and 6 ultra rare cards. Then there's two sealed packs of 8 cards, all for NZ $5. The rest of the series is NZ $9 with only one pack, so I grabbed a few copies of #1 just to give a bit of a boost to my rare card collection.
Now, let's recap. On the plus side, the paper is glossy and trading cards are cool. On the minus side, $9 four times a week adds up to quite an outlay of cash. The page count is rather average, and while there are no advertisements, the forecast for the story quality (judging by issue #1) is crappy art with double-crappy script.
All in all, I'm staring down the barrel of 59 more issues of expensive crap, each of which I will feel obliged to scan, read, absorb, and review. Frankly, I'm not expecting this to be a great deal of fun.
Issue #1. One web.