Marvel Play Time (UK Magazine) #5

 Posted: Dec 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


In the UK, back in the 1970's, the official U.S. Spider-Man comics were essentially unavailable. Instead, fans had to settle for magazine-format reprints, often in black and white. Only the major titles like Spider-Man and Hulk were reliably reprinted, so the British view of the Marvel Universe was very, very limited indeed.

Nowadays, in the modern age of airmail, the official U.S. Spidey comics books are readily available in the UK via specialist comic book stores (although the US comics do get a bit of a price-hike in crossing the Atlantic).

But many budget-conscious and less-discerning Spidey fans still get their Spider-Man "fix" from a newsagent, magazine-format offering. These are cheap and readily available, and typically include a garish "free toy" sellotaped to the cover with non-removable tape.

This "Marvel Play Time" is the "young kids" Marvel magazine offering for the UK market. It is the successor to Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (UK Magazine) (2013-2015) which itself replaced Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) (2006-2011). It features puzzles and games, and some very, very, truncated stories adapted from the Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) cartoon series.

This is the very last issue of this series that I will be reviewing, since I stopped collecting at the end of 2015.

Story 'Spider-Man's New Suit!'

The main story of Marvel Play Time #5 is the corresponding fifth issue of the Spidey TV cartoon, Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) - Season 1, Episode 5. The original cartoon title was "Iron Spider", but this simplified version simply calls it "Spider-Man's New Suit!"

I believe I might have already mentioned how clumsy and inadequate these adaptations are.

There are 16 snap-shots from the original TV series, each one annotated.

I've been impressed by your skills so I've made you an Iron Spider suit," says Iron Man.

Right then.

General Comments

Kids have incredible imaginations. They can put four Lego blocks together and zoom... it's a flying Unicorn Helicopter Baby!

As an adult, our imaginations are old and atrophied. To me, reading these stories, all I can see is four random mismatched Lego blocks. I perceive no story at all. All of the essential elements are lacking.

Even a kids' story needs tension and release. Rise and fall. A chain of interconnected events. But the editing and scripting in these adapted versions is so clunky that even the simplest of morals or messages is unintelligible.

The second story is an adaptation of the Avengers Assemble! (2013) cartoon show, specifically Season 1, Episode 7 "Hyperion". And I have to say, the butchering of that tale is even worse. It ends up with Hyperion being depicted as a child-beater in a stomach-turning piece of unpleasantness.

Overall Rating

The Ultimate Spider-Man Cartoon series was modern, snappy, and irreverent.

It wasn't classic Spidey, but it was generally watchable and entertaining.

This amputated pastiche is nothing at all. It's Spider-Man reducto ad nihilum, while the Avenger story is just plain nasty.

I give this issue a rock-bottom half a web. Plus one great sigh of relief that I no longer need to review this title.

 Posted: Dec 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)