Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #9

 Posted: Dec 2010
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


This is a 60-part weekly series being pumped into the market by Eaglemoss publications. They don't know much about Spidey, but they know that 60 * $8.99 = quite a lot. And I'm the kind of idiot who will spend that sort of money without doing the math.

There's an original 7-page story in every issue, and collectible trading cards too. Sure, the stories are terrible, the art is ghastly, and the price is far, far too high. But there's glossy paper, trading cards, and an original Spider-Man comic strip series that 99% of the U.S. collectors will never own!

Story 'Door into the Dark'

The Green Goblin has finally achieved his goal - to use his newly-created mystical cross-dimensional portal to amplify his power. It's not at all clear how the portal is actually working at all. Somehow, the unfinished gateway was activated despite a combination of fire-damage, along with the uneducated tinkering of a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who didn't even know what they were dealing with.

Such questions are not high on Spidey's priority list as he finds himself on the other side of the afore-mentioned portal, floating in limbo among the shattered fragments of strange worlds in a Ditko-esque space. At first glance, this doesn't seem like such a big deal since the portal is still open, but his immediate efforts to return home are hampered firstly by a Shadow-Goblin (the guardian of the portal, a shadow of his master's hatred) and secondly by a corporeal Venom, who was himself stranded in the far dimension a couple of issues back.

Venom claims to have been trapped for days, though I'm wise enough not to imagine what he has been eating or drinking for that time. I don't see any bathrooms floating among the inter-spatial wreckage. So it's not surprising that Venom is kind of cranky, and launches an attack at Spider-Man - all much to the amusement of the Shadow Goblin, who laughingly claims that the Venon/Spidey conflict is just "serving to make the Green Goblin stronger." In hindsight, that's a pretty stupid thing for a shadow goblin to say. "Hey guys, we Goblins have the upper hand now, so I'll just blurt out the secret of our power, in order to make things a bit more fair!"

And indeed, back on Earth, the Goblin is stronger than ever before. In fact, he's so strong that even his allies Sandman, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Electro and the Lizard are frightened. Doc Ock turns against his former team leader, destroying some of the Goblin's machinery. The Green Goblin is not pleased, and turns his deadly intentions on Otto. Can anything save Octavius from destruction at the hands of a power-mad Norman Osborn?

The answer naturally lies with Spider-Man. Our arachnid hero has been doing some rapid thinking, and he reckons he has the answer to the power puzzle. Specifically, Spider-Man has noticed various fragments of stone drifting around, many of which bear spider-symbols. Now, Spider-Man recalls that "years ago a guy named Ezekiel explained that the spider is a mystic force." Years ago? Well, Peter Parker is portrayed in this title as being quite a young man, so clearly the Ezekiel encounter must have been something that happened pretty early on in his career.

In any case, Spidey's thinking is that he, Peter, is himself the power source for the Goblin, and that must be why the Goblin put Spidey in the portal. Peter also reckons that the Goblin's downfall will be that Venom is also in the portal, thus making "Double Spider-Power" which will be enough to overcome the portal's guardian Shadow Goblin. We'll see if that's true in next week's installment.

Unfortunately, that's where the whole thing really comes apart. Since a moment's thought quickly unravels the notion that Venom is part of the "Mystical Spider Force"? Why on earth does that make sense? Which is the "Spider" part of Venom? Is it the bitter journalist half, or the alien symbiote half? Oh... right, it's the picture of the spider on his costume! So... all you need for mystical spider power is a few squiggly lines. Man, Spider-Power really ain't what it used to be. They set the bar pretty low these days, I have to say.

General Comments

There's a lot happening in the mere seven pages of this week's magazine. But none of it is good. This ghastly storyline lurches from week to week like a rusted car with a ruined gearbox.

Overall Rating

The clunky dialog competes with the amateur artwork to see which can be the worst element in the whole. I wouldn't care to say which was truly the most dreadful aspect, it's all terrible. One web.

 Posted: Dec 2010
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)