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 (up until now) has been 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!
There's good news and bad news this week. The good news is that the boys over at Eaglemoss have just learned that the publisher's nephew can no longer spare the time from kindergarten, and has thus been forced to give up the job of scribbling Spider-Man for this magazine. His place this month has been taken by Herb Trimpe... who is actually a professional artist!
The bad news is that the writing duties still seem to be strictly amateur hour, as evinced by this well-meaning but ultimately rather confused tale by stand-in scripter John Thompson (who also scripted the earlier Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #13). Unfortunately the regular colorist is also hanging around, doing his best to turn Trimpe's competent pencil-work into the kind of garish mess that only a hardened crime scene investigator should ever be asked to confront.
When Wakes the Hulk! Exclamation mark. Non interrogative. Intro: Spider-Man swings into the scene, saying
"The newspapers are reporting some kind of parade."
But no parade and no people are to be seen. Instead, it's a convoy of Hulk-Buster military vehicles wending its way through New York. And... already, we're in bang-yer-head-against-the-wall-stupid mode. Let's do it by the numbers.
There you go. Six senseless contradictions from the first two panels alone. I'm only on page one and I'm already seriously considering self-harm. What is double tragic is that all of this could have been avoided. Why have Spider-Man mention newspapers and parades at all? Why couldn't he just say...
"Now that's something you don't see every day... the streets are closed, and that army convoy is heading for the Manhattan Psychological Institute."
But no. There's a brain-damage quota to be filled, and we're the victims.
The rest of the story doesn't get any better. The Hulk Busters are transporting The Hulk in a padded cell, trying to get him to calm down enough to become Bruce Banner, so that he can foil the development of the Gamma Bomb being developed by Hulk's foe "The Leader".
The Leader turns up with a couple of giant robots, but still gets his ass handed to him by Spider-Man. Meanwhile, the Hulk falls asleep, so he can save the day... oh wait. Spider-Man already defeated the Leader in two pages flat.
I think I know what makes me so mad. It's the callous waste of a wonderful opportunity.
Look, I don't know about you, but if I was given the chance to script a published Spider-Man story (even if it was only seven pages in some crappy UK magazine) I would still pour my soul into the tale. I would give up work for a week, muse day and night until I came up with something a little original (but not too weird or overlaid with inappropriate sexual tension). Then I would work the script, cross-check every line, and fine tune the dialog until it was flawless.
Honestly, I know at least half a dozen guys who in return for the chance to co-write four panels of the Spider-Man newspaper strip would... well, perhaps not kill their own grandmother in cold blood... but who would probably seriously contemplate hiding granny's heart medication and then sneaking around popping paper bags behind the sofa.
But these guys who have been doing the scripting on this magazine have clearly put something together by cutting letters out of the headlines of the Sunday Sport, before linking them together with the bits that got left out of the "1995 Teletubbies Christmas Special" because they were just too silly for the target audience.
Oh, the Humanity!
One and a half webs. Sure, Herb Trimpe's pencil work is a huge step up from the norm, but even JR SR couldn't rescue this one.
It IS OK to contact the poster with offers of scripting work for Spider-Man magazines.