Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #13

 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 'The Fantastic Five'

This week's issue welcomes a new creative team! Writer John Thompson takes over from Glenn Dakin, and Neil Edwards picks up from regular artist Ant Williams. The new visual look of the art is immediately apparant, with the main pencils almost good enough to be considered professional quality. Almost. Unfortunately, as with all the preceding issues, the heavy-handed use of bland airbrush shading to fill in the background quickly overwhelms any appeal that the pencil work might have.

The story itself is a throwaway tale featuring the Fantastic Four and the Sub-Mariner. Reed Richards has developed an orbiting satellite system to protect the earth from attack by aliens, and he contacts Spider-Man to request him to contribute the secrets of his Spider-Sense to help with the early warning system.

Spider-Man declines, so Mr. Fantastic proceeds without his input. He assembles the Fantastic Four and they hop into a Fantasticar to observe the launching of a gazillian-watt test blast from the space platform "harmlessly into the ocean". Harmless unless of course you happen to live in the ocean, as does the Sub-Mariner. As chance would have it, Subby is in the region of the blast, and he comes out fighting, smashing the Fantastic are causing it to crash in Manhattan.

It seems almost mandatory that every logical issue of this title contains at least one glaring, fatal logical flaw. And this is the one for this issue. How can the Fantastic be observing the space-beam blast zone "safely out at sea", but still be close enough to Manhattan city that it crashes in Manhattan city among the skyscrapers? The Fantasticar is clearly shown falling rapidly in every panel, yet clearly you would need to be miles away from the shore to avoid affecting shipping lanes and other coastal activity.

Am I nitpicking by pointing out this kind of thing? I don't think so. It's fundamental to the flow of the story, and it just demonstrates the complete lack of care in all of these tales. Clearly there's nobody who actually reads these things before they go to print - there's no editing or proofing. The scripter writes something, the artist illustrates without thinking too much, and the letterer just does what he's told. Now print it and ship it!

Meh. Let's wrap up this story. Spider-Man steps in to save first the Fantastic Four, then (after a quick tussle) also saves the Sub-Mariner. In gratitude, the Sub-Mariner calls off the fight, and Mr. Fantastic apologises for not having been more thoughtful. Spider-Man once again declines to offer the secret of his Spider-Sense, and everybody goes their separate ways.

General Comments

The story itself is fairly harmless. The art is improved on earlier issues, being far more skillful in the foreground. Unfortunately the backgrounds are still underdeveloped.

Overall Rating

A bland story, mediocre art, plus a gaping logical flaw that sits right in the middle of the plot. Can't give more than two webs here.

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