Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #137

Background

These UK magazines produced original stories for ten or more years from 1999 until they were shut down following the Disney buyout of Marvel in 2012. Apart from the occasional reprint, each issue features an 11 page story produced by a UK-based creative team. The stories were out-of-continuity, but were loosely based on mainstream Marvel characters.

These issues are pretty hard to find, but I've managed to acquire nearly a complete set, and I'm catching up with reviews as I acquire them under our lookback section "British History".

Story 'Bitter Victory!'

Our story opens with a fire in a chemical company... specifically, one that is a competitor to Oscorp. This is just the latest of a recent string of nearly identical accidents in such factories.

Change scene. Peter Parker is visiting Harry Osborn in Harry's enormous new apartment. Harry invites Peter to move in with him, but Peter is reluctant to leave Aunt May alone, and is also worried about how he would pay his share of the rent.

Leaving the apartment, Peter bumps in to Norman Osborn, who informs him that Harry has been seeing a psychiatrist recently. Peter also notices a bandage on Norman's hand. Previous stories have established that Norman is the Green Goblin, and that he suffers from the traditional on-again-off-again amnesia.

Later, Spider-Man visits the Oscorp headquarters. After a long wait, Spidey sees the Green Goblin leave. Spidey then enters the building, where he is attacked by the returning Goblin. They fight. Chemicals explode. Spider-Man flees the fire. The Green Goblin is believed killed, although his body is not found.

The Police, of course, believe that Norman died in the fire, and they urgently wish to speak to Spider-Man, who was captured on video footage entering the building before the incident.

General Comments

This is probably the most serious attempt to date by this magazine to assemble a story which is based on mainstream continuity. Generally they have been happy to pick out a few characters, and mimic the occasional scenario. This one tries to go a bit further. The artwork is suitably dark and moody, and there's a sense that for once, Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) would like to be taken seriously.

It's not a bad effort, all things considered. But there are two problems which undermine the story.

Firstly, everything is just so truncated. When the "Amazing Spider-Man" title first published the various story lines which form the foundation of this issue, they took several 22-page issues to do so. By contrast, this magazine is trying to cram the whole scenario into 11 pages. It's just too tight a fit! Everything is rushed and squeezed.

Secondly. Well, frankly, all these stories are second hand. Yeah, they're twisted slightly. But essentially, it's a cover band, not the original band.

Overall Rating

I really can see that these guys are trying to make an effort, and I do appreciate that. But it's always going to live in the shadow of the original version, and for that I can't give any more than a mediocre three web rating.

Sorry.