Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Becoming Spider-Man (Reading Level 2)

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This review was first published on: Aug 2012.

Background...

This is a "World of Reading (Level 2)" book from Marvel. It is 6" x 9", glossy square-bound with 32 pages, and it is somewhat confused about what it wants to achieve in life.

On one hand, it is a sister book to Amazing Spider-Man: This Is Spider-Man (Reading Level 2), which was released just a couple of months earlier, and which has a bright and cartoony style set in a generic "kid-friendly Marvel Universe" (just like the Iron Man and Avengers "World of Reading" books that you can find on Amazon.Com).

On the other hand, it desperately wants to cash in on the 2012 "Amazing Spider-Man Movie" hype and make a quick buck, so it wants to use dark and gritty movie images and follow the movie plot as much as it can.

In the end, option [2] seems to be the clear winner.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man: Becoming Spider-Man (Reading Level 2)
Jun 2012 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781423154877
Summary: World of Reading/Ready-to-Read (Level 2)
Publisher:  Marvel Press
Writer:  Tomas Palacios
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Review

Before judging this particular book, I asked myself the question... does the world really need one more half-baked, incomplete and confusing rehash of the 2012 "Amazing Spider-Man" screenplay?

We already have the The Amazing Spider-Man: The Movie Storybook and Amazing Spider-Man: Tangled Webs/Tales of Spider-Man (Junior Novelization), both of which were disappointing failures on pretty much every level. Both those offerings were simplified and mangled to the point of irrelevant infuriation. With an even lower page count and even lower target reading level, how can "Becoming Spider-Man" even dream of success?

Well, the answer is, "It Can't". Predictably, inevitably, this book is just as bad, and in fact somewhat worse.

This version begins with the same "Peter as a young boy playing Hide and Seek scene" which opened the movie and the other two books. However, the description of Peter's father's study is simplified to the point where any references to spiders and secret documents is entirely removed. Even the correlation to the break-in is removed, with it being explicitly stated that the break-in occurred on a later night to the hide and seek.

So what are we left with in that scene? A game of hide and seek which has... no relevance to the story at all.

The rest of the plot is treated with similar disregard. Peter is taken to stay with his Aunt and Uncle, but no mention is made of the fact that his parents then disappear. Flash Thompson is absent. Gwen and her father are both absent. Dr. Curt Connors is introduced, but the Lizard is not. As the final insult, the death of Uncle Ben is also entirely omitted.

In General...

This "origin story" is a write-off on pretty much every level. It doesn't capture the movie in either mood or detail. Nor does it encapsulate any of the key elements of the comic book origin.

Sure, the movie stills which comprise every alternate page look great. But given the reliable quality of the modern printing process, that's hardly a startling achievement. As a "book", this is a complete washout.

Overall Rating...

Superficial to the point of insult, this book's version of the "Formula for Spider-Man" goes no deeper than "Teenager + Spider-Powers + Red/Blue Costume".

It's glossy, and it's cheap. On every other level it fails spectacularly. One web.