Ever wondered what happened to the Spider-Man of the 90's TV cartoon series? Well, he's alive and kicking in Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine, currently being released every three weeks in the United Kingdom. Each issue features a swag of puzzles, posters, letters, and general all-out Spidey fun - all aimed at the young at heart. Plus, there's an 11-page original story featuring more of Spider-Man's Adventures.
As the Silver Surfer patrols the planet Earth, he is attacked by Kang the Conqueror, Warlord of the 31st Century! Kang's Hyper-Cannon(tm) KO's the Surfer.
Shortly after, Peter Parker is awakened in the middle of the night (from his single bed, where he sleeps alone, in case you wondered about him and MJ in this universe) and is drawn to a site in the forest where he finds the Silver Surfer, bound to a machine that Kang has constructed to suck out the Surfer's power, and redirect it into a space/time warp that will allow him to transport his armed forces from the future and invade our time-line!
The Surfer is trapped, but he lends Spidey his surfboard and a little of the "power cosmic", and sends him on a fantastic journey through space to seek the aid of his former master, Galactus. Good thing the board knows where it's going! Through some miracle of time and space, the trip is slow enough to dodge asteroids, but fast enough to take only a few minutes to cross light-years.
After finding Galactus' ship (Taa II) and braving the automated defenses, Spidey is disappointed when the BIG guy declines to aid the planet Earth. However, Galactus is annoyed at Kang stealing the power that he gave to Silver Surfer, and gives Spidey a device to restore the power cosmic to the shiny spaceman. Spidey uses the device, and the surfer is back in action, while his invading armies are blocked from entering our world.
However, the final battle between Kang and the Surfer is abandoned when Kang's time portal starts to fade, and Kang decides to hop through the diminishing gap instead of remaining, trapped, to battle the Surfer. With Kang gone, and the excitement over, Spidey's mind starts to realise the stress of his fantastic trip. To ease his mind, the Surfer removes Spidey's memory of the events of the night. Later, in a postscript, we see Peter and MJ taking some time to enjoy the stars together, from a distance.
Like many "cosmic" stories, this one is a bit of a stretch. As mentioned, we saw spidey dodging meteorites. Yet since he would have to travel at many times the speed of light, that seems very unlikely. It's also hard to believe that Kang's own machines didn't have the power to transport his army, without enlisting the aid of the Silver Surfer.
Furthermore, we're told that "there isn't enough time to enlist aid from the other heroes of Earth". But we're expected to believe that there IS enough time to cross the galaxy for aid? Hmm...
However, as mentioned before, this series isn't really expected to follow all the usual rules of cause and effect, and the rules of logic or even common-sense that other comics do. This is light-hearted stuff, almost "What If" in style at times. Let's judge it as such.
On the art front, Jon Haward does a great job on pencils, as usual - though editor Tom O'Malley mis-spells Jon's name as a parting gift (it's Tom's last issue as Ed.) The colorist is David Roach, who's style is instantly recognisable. Roach really loves to put a hue-bias on a whole page, tinting the page with orange, or with purple. It makes for a very recognisable style, but frankly, I think it's over-done and it really starts to grate after a while. These funky "kid-tale" stories need a far more simple and straight-forward coloring style, not this funky new-age in-yer-face coloring thing.
This is a fun cosmic yarn Sure, it's very linear, but at least there is no shortage of action. The art is superb, but the over-bearing coloring is (for me) rather distracting. But let's give it a "better-than-average" three-and-a-half webs.