This is a 60-part weekly series being pumped into the market by Eaglemoss publications. They don't know much about Spidey, but they know that 60 * $8.99 = quite a lot. And I'm the kind of idiot who will spend that sort of money without doing the math.
There's an original 7-page story in every issue, and collectible trading cards too. Sure, the stories are terrible, the art is ghastly, and the price is far, far too high. But there's glossy paper, trading cards, and an original Spider-Man comic strip series that 99% of the U.S. collectors will never own!
Compared to the contrived idiocy of the preceding issues, this week's story is a relatively straight-forward tale without too many /facepalm moments.
It begins sensibly enough as a two-man team guide a giant "Heat-Hunter" drilling machine as it drills a giant hole down through the streets of New York to seek a thermal vent, hoping to tap a new source of energy.
Oh crap. Double Facepalm.
Seriously, they're drilling for thermal power in the heart of Manhattan? Do you have ANY idea how much space a thermal power plant takes? I do. I've driven past the one between Taupo and Rotorua. They are huge. Give the cost of real-estate in New York, it would be more effective to power the city on AA batteries than purchase the land to build a power plant in downtown.
Not to mention, no matter where you dug, you would be drilling through countless power lines, water mains, and probably at least one subway track.
Bother. I'm depressed now. Two panels into the story and already it's too stupid to live. Let's just wrap this up fast.
The cabin of the tunneling machine is invaded by Lava Men. These Lava Men break through to the surface and invade Manhattan, declaring their ambitions in loud clear voices. Do Lava Men even talk? These ones definitely do.
Spider-Man swings in and starts fighting the Lava Men, until Thor turns up as well. Then some other Lava Men arrive and tell Spider-Man that the first batch of Lava Men are actually criminals. The tunneling machine apparently smashed through into an underground Lava Men Prison. The "good" Lava Men (wielding whips and high-tech weaponry) take the "bad" Lava Men back down beneath the surface.
Thor summons a tornado to suck the Heat-Hunter back out from the tunnel. Really... surely a tornado capable of sucking several tons of metal from a deep hole is going to make a hell of a mess of the city?
Then the mighty Thunder God smashes closed the crack that the drilling machine has made. Really... a drilling machine makes a crack in the pavement... surely a hole is more traditional for drilling, and smashing things is really the best way to fix them up?
Never mind. Spider-Man goes off in a huff, leaving Thor to take all the glory. But to his credit, when Thor is interviewed on TV he makes it clear that he's not a hero because he was born a god, and that Spider-Man is the real hero as he is a mortal who puts his life on the line. Good karma there, Thor.
Dumb, dumb, dumb!
Why couldn't this just be a team drilling a new subway tunnel? Why did the entire story have to begin with an utterly, utterly impossible premise?
This stuff isn't getting any better as we go on. One web.
Once again the cover boasts "three comic stories". That's 7 + 1 + 1 pages. The latter two "stories" are simple three or four panel throwaway gag strips.