For much of its middle years, this Panini UK Magazine "Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man" produced short, original Spider-Man story material from UK creators. That came to an end when Disney bought out Marvel in 2011, and The Mouse made the decision to curtail the independence overseas of Marvel UK. So for four years this title was a reprint-only magazine.
However, starting with #282 we have started to see apparently new stories written by Canadian Jim Zub appear sporadically among the reprints.
At least one of these was simul-published in the US and the UK. And where I can find both US and UK publication, I have treated the US as the "original" and the UK as the "reprint". But as far as I know, this 11-page story "Football Fury!" has only appeared in this UK magazine, and so I am reviewing it here.
We spend one of our 11 pages in a flash-forward splash page. You know the formula, I assume:
You're probably wondering why the web-spinner is wearing a howboy hat while riding the Rhino on a football field.
This is a long-established attention-grabbing technique. But it's entirely unnecessary. I admit that my curiosity is only moderate. But I already paid for the comic, have taken it home, sat down, and opened it up. So really, there was very little doubt about my willingness to turn the page. I'm here until the end.
Luke Cage and Peter Parker are watching Midtown High's football from the stands. Overhead in the S.H.I.E.L.D. tri-carrier is another (former) Midtown High student named Alex O'Hirn, who formerly (according to the editor notes) had (on a previous occasion) injected himself with an untested Oscorp rhino-power super-serum in order to get revenge on Flash Thompson.
Alex O'Hirn is in a cell, but his anger at seeing Flash Thompson as the field captain drives him into a trans-formative rage. Becoming an over-sized man-Rhino, Alex busts out of the cell, then jumps out of the carrier, lands onto the park and chases Flash down the length of the field.
Spider-Man hops on the back of the Rhino and rides him around in circles until (as suggested by Nick Fury over his holographic communications wrist-watch) the serum in Alex's system finally wears out, and he de-transforms back to a small young school-kid.
Conclusion: The field is full of giant hoof-marks, thus causing the game to be cancelled. Also, Flash Thompson is a jerk.
And that's it.
A super-villain turns up and fights Spider-Man. There's your story, folks.
There was a sort of half-arsed attempt to have a moral to the tale. Something like:
"If you're a jerk to people, you can't be surprised when they sample untested super-serums."
Not much of a moral really. Not much of a fight either. So it doesn't get much of a rating from me.