Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #203

 Posted: Oct 2010
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


This long-running UK Magazine started out by running reprints, but these days it offers a brand new "out of continuity" Spider-Man story every three weekly issue. This is Spidey's primary UK non-reprint magazine. He also appears in the pre-school Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine), along with occasional guest appearances in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine).

The Spider-Man story occupies eleven or twelve pages of this 32 page publication, and is aimed at a pre-teen/early-teen market. The plots for these stories feature classic Marvel characters and villains. While they often echo plots from the mainstream comics, they do so in their own special style.

After a few years of disappointing plots and scripts, the preceding twelve months of this title has seen a real upswing in story quality. The current story arc "Amour Wars" is a notable exception. It seems to have been created purely as an "Iron Man 2 Movie tie-in" extravaganza, but so far is lacking in any other merit.

Story 'Armour-Geddon'

  Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #203
Summary: 2-Jun-2010
Arc: Part 2 of 'Armour Wars' (1-2)
Publisher: Panini Magazines
Editor: Patrick Bishop
Writer: Ferg Handley
Pencils: Andie Tong
Inker: Kris Justice

If you paid attention last issue, you'll know that Iron Man is under the remote control of the Iron Monger and his equally armored sidekick The Melter. Iron Man's metal mate War Machine is out of action, meaning he's no longer able to stop Iron Monger from carrying out the rest of his dastardly plan, namely to force an unwilling Iron Man to destroy his own Stark facilities. Ouchies!

But wait, they still have one red-and-blue ace up their sleeve... the amazing techno-Spider! Yep. War Machine fits our favorite web-slinging hero out with some spare Iron Man boots and communications gear then sends him hurtling through the skies, off to save the day while he (War Machine that is) monitors and helps from a computer console back at base.

There's method in his madness though. Spider-Man is also equipped with a very convenient override "hacking" device. All he has to do is get close enough to Iron Man to apply it. Well, that he does. Iron Spider arrives at the other Stark factory, Iron Monger forces Iron Man to battle his former ally, Spider-Man attaches the device, War Machine does his magic by broadband, and pretty soon the red and gold metal Avenger is back on the side of niceness, and mad as heck.

Mind you, there's a bit more kicking and struggling before it's all over. Iron Monger tries a bit of treachery, and it's up to Spidey (aided by War Machine) to use the funky armor-control device once more to save the day. But eventually it's all sorted out and the good guys are victorious as you would expect in such tales.

There's a final wrap up scene where Peter Parker encounters Tony Stark once more among the wreckage of the factory. Of course, Stark doesn't know that Peter is Spider-Man, but he still gives him a nice payout to apologize for Peter having been caught in the attack. Smart move. Probably cheaper than sorting it out in court! Still, Peter's happy. He can always use the money.

General Comments

This is the second time in a short while that Ferg has used the "hero taken over and forced to ruin his own business/reputation" storyline. The previous example was the Spidey/Doc Ock story in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #17 a couple of months earlier in January. See... I'm paying attention!

Overall Rating

Given such a formulaic start last month, this is an admirable enough effort to try and salvage something out of the wreckage of this undemanding slug-fest. Still, it doesn't get beyond "competent" and I can't offer more than a slightly flat two and a half webs.

 Posted: Oct 2010
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)