Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #154

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


This UK magazine features a new Spidey story each issue, which is to say, each three weeks.

This relatively long-running mag started off by reprinting Spider-Man stories, but then swapped to producing original tales. Originally those new stories were one-off tales set in a "Generic Spider-Man" continuity which had much in common with the Spider-Man of the 1990's Cartoon series. More recently they attempted to construct their own "Ultimate Spider-Man-esque" version of young Peter Parker, though recent issues seem to have drifted back to the generic cartoon continuity.

Story 'Dark of the Moon'

  Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #154
Summary: 01-Aug-2007
Publisher: Panini Magazines
Editor: Ed Hammond
Script: Ferg Handley
Pencils: John Royle
Inker: Simon Ecob

As you'll recall from last issue (Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #153), Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four have been the victims of a case of mistaken identity, leading to their temporary fall from grace in the eyes of the public at large. To complicate matters further, they've just discovered that a Skrull attack fleet is heading for Earth.

Jump forward a little from the end of last issue (when they had just defeated the advance Skrull scout team). Actually, jump forward quite a distance, to the moon. Doctor Strange has teleported Spidey and the FF to the Blue Area of the moon. In case ya didn't know, that's a unique zone on the moon which aliens created to have a human breathable atmosphere.

Spider-Man is real excited about actually being on the moon, but Doctor Strange is a little tired out by the after-effects of the spell he cast. No time to rest though, as the Skrull ground-forces attack our heroes in a gorgeous two-page splash spread. But now it's flashback time.

Captain America has assembled the heavy-weights to plan the defense of the planet. All the usual suspects are there - Iron Man, Storm, Ms. Marvel, Ms. Marvel II, Cyclops, She-Hulk, Wasp, Vision. The Silver Surfer turns up too, rather unexpectedly, and joins the home team.

Mr. Fantastic experiments with the technology he finds at the Skrull base they just recently discovered. Gosh, it sure was lucky that the Skrull decided to discredit the Fantastic Four by shape-shifting as the FF and faking an attack on the Skrull base. They could have picked any other military base, but it was fortunate they decided to draw attention to their own base.

Using the transmitters they found, they manage to expose many of the Skrull double-agents by broadcasting a disruptive high-pitched sound to the ear microphones the agents all wear, temporarily disabling their ability to shapeshift and hence exposing them. Nice trick.

Mr. Fantastic also figures out a plan that might win the war. Apparantly, he discovers that the Skrull plan to use force fields as part of their attack on planet earth. The power for that will be broadcast from their home planet, and that will require a receiver station, which they will erect on the moon. If the humans can attack the Skrull while they're all staged on the moon, then they will have a chance.

But, won't the Skrull change their plan once they know their secret base has been captured? Can't a ship generate enough power for force fields? Can't a ship act as the receiver station? Won't the transmission loss over countless light years be impossible? What about the fact that the power will take too long to transmit?

Ignore the plot holes. Here's the plan. While the Silver Surfer battles the 99% of the ships that stay in space, the human heroes tackle the ground force. If they destroy the receiver array, then they win. Because, I guess the Skrull have only brought one array. And they won't bother coming back. And because even though they have vastly superior technology, they can't attack without force fields. And the humans have to do it, because even though the Silver Surfer is a match for 99% of the fleet, he isn't a match for 100% of it.

Well, Silver Surfer sets to battling the main force. Spider-Man locates the "array". It's about forty feet tall. Small enough for the Skrulls to have been able to bring a dozen spares on their armada of humungous ships. Spidey attacks it, and... is stopped by a force field. A super-skrull says that he produced the force field to save Spider-Man, because the force-field on the array itself would have killed Spidey, but the super-skrull saved Spidey in order to have the pleasure of killing him personally. How convenient.

Spidey creates a webbing blanket, then pulls it out from under the super-skrull, pushing him into the deadly force field from which Spidey was saved. So, honorable Spider-Man murders the guy who saved his life. Nice.

As soon as their array is destroyed, the Skrull fleet runs away. They have no spirit for a fight now.

General Comments

Geez! Give me a break here! This is a pathetic excuse for a flimsy tale. Is this truly the best idea that we could think of? Because it stinks five ways from Christmas.

The rest of the comic contains the usual bunch of filler. A one-page recap of last issue's story. A page of ads for Spidey toys from Big Red Warehouse UK. A two page profile on Silver Surfer, Two pages of mazes and puzzles, two pages of Spidey's top 5 secret bases (Goblin's Lair, X-Mansion, Asteroid M, Baxter Building, and Avengers Mansion).

There's a centerfold post of Spidey and the FF, a quiz about the story, sketching, a competition, a two page profile on the super-skrull, Hasbro's competition to find "The Ultimate Spider-Fan", a glimpse at the upcoming Iron Man film, another competition to win FF action figures, two pages of fan letters and art, and a fun "spot the differences" puzzle.

Overall Rating

The artwork is gloriously rich and colored, but the plot is so stupid it shouldn't be allowed out of the house without somebody to look after it. One web!

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)