Ever wondered what happened to the Spider-Man of the 90's TV cartoon series? Well, he's alive and kicking in Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine, currently being released every three weeks in the United Kingdom. Each issue features a swag of puzzles, posters, letters, and general all-out Spidey fun - all aimed at the young at heart. Plus, there's an 11-page original story featuring more of Spider-Man's Adventures.
Spidey is swinging home late one night after a long session pounding the bad guys, when he spots Felica Hardy, aka the Black Cat. Spidey and Felicia have met before in these pages, with the Cat hovering between good and, well... not-so-good. So Spidey decides to tag her with a tracer just for good measures, before heading off home to bed.
The next day sees Spidey out and about trying to track down his tracer. When he picks up the trail, it leads most suprisingly to The Vulture. Now very curious, Spidey follows the Vulture to the museum where Vulchy goes about stealing a priceless gold and diamond artifact. Spidey and The Vulture tussle, as the Black Cat also appears, clearly intent on acquiring the same priceless prize.
With the Vulture temporarily entangled, Spidey and Black Cat babble as they battle, and the Cat explains that both she and the Vulture are in debt to the Kingpin, who has sent them both out to steal the artifact. The one who succeeds will pay their debt when they return the item, and the loser shall be punished. Of course, Spider-Man has a better idea.
The Black Cat turns up at Fisk Tower, where Kingpin is surrounded by his favorite goons, The Shocker and Tombstone. Felicia has the artifact, and gives it to Fisk in return from his agreement that the debt is paid. The Vulture arrives seconds later, and realises that he has failed, but too late to stop from being ZAPPPED by Kingpin. Ooops.
Finally, Spider-Man arrives, and nabs the prize out of Fisk's hands as he stands admiring it. Fisk has been tricked! The Black Cat's debt is paid, the sceptre is returned to the museum, but Fisk is now furious at... well, pretty much everybody really.
Writer Ferg Handley writes a nice little twisty tale. There's a good balance of action and exposition too. The dialog is natural and flows nicely throughout. Sure, it's still a very simple telling, but it has good composition and is well constructed.
As ever, Jon Haward does a great job on pencils. John Stokes inks well, but once again Dylan Teague's colors are washed out with a sickly-looking green. The intent is clearly to give a night-time feel to the whole story, but unfortunately the highly restrictive color-band that Teague applies becomes irritating very quickly.
I have a friend who is red-green color-blind between certain quite specific shades of salmon-red and a khaki-green. He would absolutely loathe the illustrating on this story. Teague is clearly a talented colorist, but he really has to open up the saturation just a little bit more.
Funky little tale. Felicia is a babe, and that's a fact. I'm not going to let my coloring complaints drop the rating, I'm going to give it a highly creditable four webs.