Welcome to our "British History" lecture series. Our goal is to shed some light onto the murky history of one of Spidey's lesser known current titles... the alternate universe UK-only series Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine).
This UK magazine series started in 1995 running "reprints plus filler". Then in 1999 the formula changed to feature 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. The title ran nearly exclusively original stories in that new format until 2011, when it reverted to a reprint series after Disney acquired Marvel and pulled the plug on UK-created content.
At Spider-Fan, we reviewed many of those original stories as they came out, until we lost our UK supply chain. Now, thanks to the joint miracles of eBay UK and international shipping, we're planning to track down and review all those other stories that slipped through the cracks the first time around.
Peter Parker, Flash Thompson and MJ Watson are enjoying an ice cream at New York's Central Park when... suddenly an inter-dimensional portal opens...
OH DEAR LORD NO! Not another frikking inter-dimensional portal story. I am so absolute fed up to the back teeth with inter-frikking-dimesnional-frikking-portals in UK magazines. Honestly! Is it genetically impossible for a British writer to construct a story without falling back on to this sad old cliche?
UK Magazine Spidey Story Editor: "How's that new story going, Bob?"
UK Magazine Spidey Story Writer: "Sorry, I haven't had any ideas yet. I've got the bit with the portal done, like usual, but then I'm totally stumped as to what the story will be about."
UK Magazine Spidey Story Editor: "Well, as long as there's a portal, I'm sure you'll be fine."
Ah, wait. Here we go. Through the portal arrive a Frost Troll, and various other Trolls and Ogres. The Trolls are looking for Thor, but they find Spider-Man instead. They beat up Spider-Man until Thor comes to rescue him. The Trolls then explain that they have come to seek the return of all of their treasures which Thor has just stolen from them.
Thor detects the hand of his half-brother Loki in all of this, so he heads through the portal, back to Asgard to put things rights. Meanwhile, Spider-Man fights the Trolls some more, including attempting to rescue MJ who has stupidly returned (after originally running away) to put herself into "damsel in distress" mode.
Actually, things get a bit odd here, as the Trolls decide first to attack MJ, and then decide that Spider-Man will "share her fate" when he comes to her rescue. Just remind me again, what are the Trolls trying to do? They came to find Thor, and he just ran through the portal. So why are the Trolls attacking red-headed humans in Central Park and not following their target?
Well, regardless of anybody's motivations, Spider-Man is losing the fight with the Trolls (for the second time). But Thor has finished defeating Loki, and returns back to Earth just at the right moment to rescue him (again). Thor then takes Loki off to Odin to get a telling off from their Father.
But before he leaves, Thor tells Spider-Man how incredibly brave he is. Awww... what a patronising feather-headed git.
Ugh. What am I supposed to get out of this story? There's lots of fighting, in which Spider-Man is constantly rescued by Thor. But there's not any sort of mystery, or surprise, or human interest. I just can't see any point in it all. Am I asking too much? Does a story need a "point"?
Maybe I'm applying old-fashioned values which are no longer relevant.
There's some good artwork here, but bugger-all else.
One and a half webs.