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 "Date-Crasher!" has only appeared in this UK magazine, and so I am reviewing it here.
Like Zub's other Ultimate stories for this magazine, this one begins with a full-page "How did we end up here?" splash.
In this one, Spider-Man is flying through the air amid the streets of Manhattan, courtesy of the web-line which attaches him to The Beetle (a flying super-villain, 'natch). Going along for the ride is Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. whom Spider-Man has also grabbed by web-line, making a chain. Coulson ↔ Spider-Man ↔ Beetle.
And then (as per the well-established Zub formula) we go back one hour, at the Parker Household.
Agent Coulson arrives with a bunch of flowers. He's taking Aunt May out on a date. But just as the two love-birds depart in Coulson's convertible, Nick Fury patches through on the holographic wristwatch to inform Peter that the romantics are in danger from a recently (prison-escaped, revenge-seeking, and well-intelligenced) Beetle.
Spider-Man heads to the theater district and turns up just in the nick of time, as the Beetle attacks Coulson.
There's a mid-air fight. But when the Beetle threatens to drag Aunt May into the battle, Coulson shows what his S.H.I.E.L.D. agent training is capable of doing, and the Beetle is defeated and dragged off to captivity once more.
I'm instantly reminded of the preceding story I reviewed from this title, "Football Fury!" Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #285. Walk with me here:
The cold-open and jump-back is a vague attempt to add some non-linearity to what is, essentially, the most threadbare of plots.
"Villain attacks hero's colleague/friend/schoolmate. Spider-Man fights villain and wins."
It's not really rocket surgery now, is it.
It's the same story as last time.
It wasn't a great story when they did it before, and it isn't improved in the retelling here.