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", soon began printing original stories in a kid-friendly generic Spider-Man world very similar to that of the "1990's Spider-Man TV Cartoon". It later rebooted itself to be more similar to the "Ultimate Spider-Man" universe. The series was finally cancelled when Disney took over Marvel, but I have recently been acquiring back issues and filling in the long-neglected review gaps for the middle issues of the series.
In issues prior to this story, Norman Osborn is dead... at least for now. Nobody (except Spider-Man) knows that he died as the Green Goblin. Peter's friend Harry Osborn has become increasingly unstable, believing Spider-Man responsible for the death of his father. Harry's attempt to fake Spider-Man's guilt was recently exposed, and Harry has now disappeared under strange circumstances. Could Harry be the mysterious figure behind the Sinister Six's attack on Spider-Man, and the kidnapping of Flash Thompson?
The answer is yes.
Spider-Man follows the note left behind by the Green Goblin. This leads him to Coney Island, which appears to be conveniently closed and utterly abandoned, making it available to take its place as the scene for yet another super-hero/super-villain fight.
In fact, if you're looking to stage a super-fight, and don't feel like being too creative, here are the standard options.
...and that's pretty much that. There's a few more special-case options, but that basically covers it.
Of course, if you're part of a super-hero team, then of course you get "your hero headquarters" as a bonus alternative. But Spider-Man doesn't qualify in that case.
Anyhow, of the 11 pages in the story, Spider-Man and the "new" Green Goblin fight their way around Coney Island for 9 of them. There's a 1-page interlude where Liz and Mary Jane are drifting around at Flash's birthday party, wondering where the birthday boy has gone to.
Answer: He's been stuck at the top of a roller coaster, waiting for Spidey to rescue him.
...which Spidey duly does. And then Spidey also defeats the Green Goblin, and unmasks him to indeed be revealed as Harry, who has figured out that Peter is Spider-Man, and is seeking revenge for the supposed murder of his father Norman at the hands of the wall-crawler.
A defeated and anger-crazed Harry launches into a cascade of threats against Aunt May and Mary Jane, before Spider-Man finally KO's him with a gentle cross to the jaw, and strips Harry out of his Goblin Suit.
But now what to do? Well, before he gets to do anything more, Spider-Man must first face the timely goblin-clad return of Norman Osborn, who clearly is not dead after all.
I hated the preceding issue Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #147, and didn't particularly care for the conclusion in Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #149. But this issue doesn't really give me much to dislike - because nothing really happens.
There's just an endless series of fight panels and explosion, which allows artist Andie Tong to display his professional talents with the pencil.
As a visual spectacle, there's not a lot of variety, but at least it's capably-done.
As a story, it's not quite so impressive. The "surprises" aren't particularly surprising. Harry's appearance as the Green Goblin was easy to anticipate, and given that Norman's body was never found in the fire from a few issues back, then it was pretty inevitable that he would also return.
Still, I can't find anything exceptionally annoying to mark down. So I'm going to let the art work lift this one up to a competent but uninspiring three webs.