Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #284

Background

Panini's UK Magazine "Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man" has been printing nothing but reprints for some time now, since shortly after the Disney buyout of Marvel.

So this story in theory is a reprint. But for the life of me, I can't see where these current 11-page tales were first published. So for now I'm going to treat this as the first appearance of "Animal Instinct!" and review it accordingly.

Note: This run of tales written by Jim Zub all take place in the universe of the Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) cartoon series.

Story 'Animal Instinct!'

  Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #284
Summary: 11-Feb-2015
Publisher: Panini Magazines
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Assistant Editor: Mark Basso
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Mario Del Pennino
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Sotocolor

Peter (Spider-Man) and Ava (White Tiger) are spending the day at the zoo for their "Animal Research Project" from school. They start getting a little competitive over their academic abilities as they visit the alligators. Peter gets a little squeamish as the keeper comes with a bucket of raw meat to feed the gators, and suddenly his Spider-Sense goes crazy.

...and that's three pages already from the eleven page story. I don't want to suggest that the pacing is slow here, but if this was Stan & Steve we'd have introduced three new characters, wrapped up a villain origin story, and Peter would have a new girlfriend now!

Without Warning (other than his picture on the front cover)... the LIZARD!

"The Lizard!" exclaims Spider-Man.

Mini-Spider-Man appears for one panel to explain the Dr. Curtis Connors, serum, Jekyll/Hyde thing.

Everybody is Kung-Fu fighting. In fact it gets a little bit frightening when White Tiger herself goes kind of feral, taking a swipe at Spider-Man in her savagery before she calms down.

The police arrive. Aunt May calls Peter and asks him to grab dinner on the way home.

General Comments

I'm a fan of short stories. I have a decent collection of Sci-Fi short story anthologies – mostly from the 60's and 70's. I prefer them over those giant trilogy novels, because I like my SF to be full of ideas.

A short story exists to encapsulate and present one idea, and how it succeeds at that solitary goal really defines how "good" it is. And I feel that a 5-11 page comic book story is very much the "short story" of sequential art.

So what is the "one idea" here? It seems to be "Ava is an Dangerous Animal?"

Now, if this was "Wolverine is a Dangerous Animal" then that's fine. He lives on the fringes. You team up with him, you take your chances, isn't that right Charlie?

But Ava is a teenage girl who is part of a super-team in-training with a government organization. If the appearance of some half-rate super-villain (and former colleague – remember, Connors was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist) is all it takes to trigger her into becoming a psychotic killer who turns on her own friend and team-mate, then that's not something you can overlook.

Sure, Spidey dodged the blow this time. But really, this needs to be discussed with HR and the psychology department. There should be consequences here. This ain't the 60's. Occupational Health and Safety is a thing, you know!

Overall Rating

One lame idea. One lame web.

Footnote

P.S. The Lizard escapes. Seems he was just looking for food and some (preferably scaly) company.