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).
Started in 1995 as "reprints plus filler", it transmogrified itself a few years later and swapped that reprint content for 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. It's still running today (in 2010).
Since I don't live in the UK, I've been dependent on the kindness of others to get my hands on a regular feed of this title. In the past four years, I've been able to review every issue starting with #152. Now thanks to the miracle of eBay, I've acquired most of the issues from #132 up to #151... so let's get on with the job of filling in the gaps in our Looking Back section... "British History".
Last issue we jumped in to part 2 of this three-part X-Men crossover story arc. This month it's time for the conclusion of "Mutant Menace" in a tale entitled "Friend of Foe!".
Last issue, a squadron of Sentinels attacked the X-Mansion, and were moments away from tearing Jubilee in half when...
Magneto turns up and incapacitates all of the Sentinels with a single EMP pulse. I'd kind of been wondering what Magneto had gotten up to since dropping Juggernaut through the X-Men's plane last issue.
We now kick into major plot mode. Magneto tells Xavier that the Humans have begun their attack, and that Xavier and his X-Men must fight alongside Magneto if they wish to survive. Right. So now we know what the whole thing was about. It's a set-up by Magneto to try and trick the X-Men into joining him.
However, Xavier isn't fooled. He already knew that Magneto had been stealing Sentinels. And even if that hadn't been the case, earlier in the story Juggernaut accidentally let Magneto's name slip. So that's two fatal flaws in the whole dastardly scheme. Basically, if you're planning to out-smart Professor X, well, you're against the odds from day one.
When the treachery is exposed, Wolverine launches an attack at Magneto. Not a particularly good idea of course, when your bones are made of metal. Mind you, Wolverine is pretty cranky. The Sentinel attack last issue interrupted his breakfast, a sore point that has been mentioned on and off through the last few pages. I probably neglected to mention, but Wolverine has been wearing his pajama trousers for the whole of the last two issues. Hmm... maybe that was better off un-mentioned.
After disposing of Wolverine, Magneto makes to leave, all in a big huff when... Here Comes Spidey! YEAH! It's about time we saw some action from the guy who's name is on the front of the magazine. The web-head basically sat on the sidelines all of last issue, and again for all of this issue up until this point. He has a bit of making-up ground to do, as he launches his unexpected attack on Magneto, blinding him with webbing before knocking him out with a flurry of furious punches.
Needless to say, the rest of the X-Men are rather impressed. Magneto is major league villainy incarnate. Mind you, Spider-Man did have surprise on his side. But even so, it's a pretty good show. Mind you, that probably saves him when Wolverine figures out that Spider-Man just finished off the last bowl of cereal in the house.
A nice finish. I'm not entirely convinced that Juggernaut helped Magneto's plans at all. Yes, it took a few X-Men out of the Sentinel fight. But surely it was always a major risk that Juggernaut would screw things up by letting something slip (as he did).
Ah, whatever. All-in-all it was a tidy finish to the three-issue arc. I'm going to give it four webs.