Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #32

Background

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 has been 90% 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!

Story 'X-Spider!'

  Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #32
Summary: May-5-2011 (NZ)
Publisher: Eaglemoss Publications, Inc.
Writer: Glenn Dakin
Artist: Ant Williams (Additional Material), Simon Williams
Colorist: Alan Craddock (Additional Material), Maria Keane

Fleeing in the streets of New York, Spider-Man gets zapped by a Sentinel. You know, the 20-foot tall self-repairing, self-training mutant-hunting robots. Our hero then awakes to find himself strapped to a metal table in a secret laboratory. The Sentinel that captured him is planning to run a series of tests to determine if Spidey is a mutant or not.

The Sentinel points some sensors at the web-head. But instead of recording information about the target's genetic makeup, instead it reports an emotional response. I.e. "Annoyance".

Does that make any sense to you? It's like a measuring somebody on a set of scales, and discovering that they weigh "orange" kilograms. Sure, it works in Mary Poppins - her tape measure reports the children are "Extremely stubborn and suspicions", and ""Prone to gigiling and not tidying up". But that's supposed to be magic in a comedy kids movie. Science is... supposed to be, well, more science-y.

The Sentinel then zaps Spider-Man with a laser, which fortunately bounces off his reflective lenses and blows the robot's arm off. Mind you, a moment's logical contemplation would have you understand that the lenses can't be 100% reflective, or else Spider-Man would be blind! And even 20% of "arm blown off" must equal "very sore eyeballs". Whatever. Common-sense ignored, Spider-Man then frees himself, discovering that the whole lab is very poorly constructed, for reasons which never become clear.

The robot then released himself as a "confused" robot, with emotions and doubts, triggered by the fact that Trask (the original Sentinel creator) died in a last-ditch attempt to destroy his own creations. Prompted by Spider-Man, the Sentinel declares itself ready to mend its ways and undo some of the damage its fellows have done to mankind. Has this robot "turned human"?

We'll never know. The X-Men turn up and destroy the Sentinel, before it gets a chance to go any further. The X-Men celebrate the victory, but Spider-Man is regretful. "Surely even a 20-foot killer robot deserves a second chance?"

General Comments

For the second week running, there's the germ of a decent idea in this story. But the implementation is as shoddy as usual, and the worthy concept is soon buried under a messy implementation, with unconvincing dialog. The half-decent pencils are undermined by the overbearing coloring.

Overall Rating

Once again, "Heroes & Villains" has raised itself off the one-web flat-line to which it seemed almost permanently attached. Even so, two webs is nothing to be proud of.