Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #48

 Posted: Oct 2011
 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 has been 90% 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 Sting!'

Hold onto your hats, dear readers, this story is... action-overpacked!

Spider-Man is at Ant-Man's laboratory, having been summoned by Ant-Man's wife, The Wasp (aka Janet Pym). The Wasp is acting rather kooky, alternating between randomly attacking Spidey and demanding his help. Specifically, she demands that he enter the "Microtron" machine to shrink to super-super-tiny size and go find her husband.

Now, I have no idea how somebody the size of an atom is supposed to cover a great deal of ground on the searching front. But that's the plan. And to help track Spidey as he presumably swings from atom to atom crossing tens of microns in a single day, Wasp attaches a high-tech wrist gizmo to Spidey's wrist.

Except that it causes Spidey a lot of pain. Something is wrong. So Spidey grabs some "shrinking pills" from a nearby jar, and shrinks. His costume shrinks. His web-shooters shrink. The bracelet (very strangely) does NOT shrink, and so it falls to the ground. Go figure.

At this point, The Wasp goes completely psycho and tries to squash mini-Spidey for good, as she expounds the plot, saying... "It is I -- The most ancient enemy of the Spider -- SHATHRA!" She then goes on to explain how she was just hanging around the Astral plane, when Janet Pym's mind called out to her in sleep. She possessed the Wasp's spirit, and there you go.

But we only have two pages left, so now it's time to wrap things up. Spider-Man (despite being tiny he still has his regular strength) shoves the Wasp (still possessed by Shathra) back into the aforementioned Microtron, and then threatens to use it to destroy Janet. It's a bluff, of course, but he claims that he'll do it, since spiders hate wasps.

Shathra believes the bluff, and her spirit abandons the Wasp's semi-physical body to float free. At this very moment, Ant-Man turns up (having arrived from Avengers HQ where he noticed things going on via the remote cameras mounted around his lab). Ant-Man bombards Shathra's insubstantial shadow with Pym Particles, shrinking her down to sub-atomic size. Problem solved.

Until the Pym Particles wear off, of course. Frankly, this has to fall into the "sweeping under the carpet" category of very temporary solutions to nasty recurring problems.

General Comments

It's really quite impressive how this magazine manages to take all our beloved regular characters and make them so much less of what they were. Spider-Man is less ethical and less interesting. The Wasp is less attractive, Shathra is less scary and mystical, while Ant-Man is... OK, he's still a stuck-up git, that much hasn't changed.

What was Shathra's plan after shrinking Spidey down to nothing. She consumes Spider-souls, right? So what on earth did she have to gain from obliterating him? None of this makes any sense.

Overall Rating

Unappealing characters, in a fatally flawed story. One web.


Anyhow, aren't Pym Particles in a gaseous form these days?

 Posted: Oct 2011
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)