Welcome to our "British History" lecture series. Our goal is to shed some light onto the murky history of one of Spidey's lesser known current titles... the alternate universe UK-only series Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine).
Started in 1995 as "reprints plus filler", it transmogrified itself a few years later and swapped that reprint content for 11 pages of original story content written by UK creators. It's still running today (in 2010).
Since I don't live in the UK, I've been dependent on the kindness of others to get my hands on a regular feed of this title. My original sources helped me get issues #103-#118, and I reviewed them as they came out. Then I lost my supply for two or three years until the late #140's when I started collecting again in earnest. Most recently I have been picking up a few back issues on eBay UK, and dutifully filling in the gaps in this Looking Back section entitled "British History".
Recent issues have been a mish-mash of one-shot stories by various writers, with disappointing results. This issue offers yet another re-hash of that foe much beloved of cartoons and out-of-continuity comics and magazines - the Spider-Slayers. Yes. Again.
I don't think it's going to take too long to explain the idea behind this story.
The Kingpin hires Professor Alistaire Smythe to create a Spider-Slayer to kill Spider-Man. Two, in fact, a small one to act as bait, and a large one to finish the job. The Black Widow (special S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) steps in to help, as Smythe has been stealing government equipment to build his robot. She tells Spider-Man to focus on attacking the unstable power plant, which he does. The large robot is destroyed and Spider-Man has to rescue Smythe.
But what of Kingpin? Well, Spidey finds the remote control for the smaller robot and uses it to zap Fisk repeatedly in the buttocks. Ha ha. Very funny. Laugh? I almost did.
Silly, childish foolery, improved only by Jon Haward's deft pencils and some bright coloring work courtesy of John Charles.
Cotton candy. Color and sugar, but no substance. One point five webs.