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 erratic quality at best, this title is finally producing some half-decent material. Too bad that Disney (the new owner of Marvel) has announced its intention to pull the plug on all non-U.S. original stories. Still, we have a few more issues left to go before the end. Let's hope they're good ones...
Peter Parker is up to date on his college work, and with nothing needing doing for the Daily Bugle, that means it's time for some well-earned rest and recreation. So how about a shoe-shopping trip with part-time girlfriend Mary Jane Watson?
Hmm... that wasn't really what he had in mind. Fortunately, when you are the alter ego of Spider-Man, you can always count on something cropping up that drags you away from any sort of date - pleasant or dutiful. In this case the "something cropping up" is the Vulture robbing a jewelry store just down the street. Thanks Mr. Toomes. Great timing!
Spidey never has much trouble tackling the Vulture, right? This is going to be an easy one, surely? Or is it? Strangely, the Vulture seemed to be expecting Spider-Man's appearance. In fact, Vulchy even has a little something prepared for the web-head... a strange-looking bulky kind of high-tech bracelet which, when snapped around Spider-Man's wrist, robs him of all his powers. That allows the Vulture to turn the tables and hand down a beating to our heroic protagonist, until Spider-Man manages to take a dive into a dumpster and hide until the Vulture leaves the scene.
Unable to remove the bracelet (it gives him a nasty zap every time he tries), the next few days pass rather quietly for Peter. Without his powers, he is slow to heal from the marks of his defeat. He does receive a welcome visit from Mary Jane, who gushes concern over Peter's cuts and bruises. Then he reads a bit, and watches some TV... where the latest news is that the Vulture is robbing jewelry stores all over town.
Hardly the type to sit around relaxing for too long while there's evil-doers to confound, Spider-Man eventually seeks the assistance of Tony Stark. Although this S.H.I.E.L.D. issue bracelet wasn't produced by Stark Industries, Tony is smart enough (with Peter's assistance) to deactivate the device. Still wearing the now-defunct bracelet, Spidey seeks a rematch with the Vulture, and naturally catches the villain by surprise.
Round Two goes to the good guys, and that's the end of the tale.
This is good solid stuff. Eleven pages, well-used, can tell a nice little self-contained story. The plot is consistent and well-constructed. Sure, there's no real message, and nothing particularly enlightening. But it is well-paced and it is complete and without major flaws.
My initial reaction to the artwork was a bit mixed - Peter and MJ's faces are rather quirky. However, once Spider-Man and Vulture get on the scene, it shifts slightly to stay within a more conventional look. The inking and coloring provides good support, and the background scenes are well-expanded.
Solid effort all round. Three and a half webs.