Comics : Spider-Man: Spidey's New Costume (Reading Level 3)

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This review was first published on: May 2015.

Background...

This book is 6" x 9", square bound soft-cover with 48 pages. The content is full-color with illustrations on nearly every page, and an average of 30 words per page (more or less). It is part of the "World of Reading" series , and is at the top "Level 3" for these books (for school Grade 1) "Paragraphs : Suspenseful story lines : Character development."

The book was released in the U.S. by Marvel, and co-released for the Australasian market by Scholastic with slightly different cover markings.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Spidey's New Costume (Reading Level 3)
Apr 2014 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781423154105
Publisher:  Marvel Press
Writer:  Tomas Macri
Illustrator:  Hi-Fi Design, Ramon Bachs
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Review

The story begins with a brief summary of Spider-Man's origins and the creation of the red-and-blue costume. It then jumps to the events of the original Secret Wars series, with Spider-Man travelling to the Battle Planet, and creating/discovering his Black Costume pretty much as per Secret Wars #8.

Peter returns to earth as described in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #252, and then the story quickly races through Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #258, Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #1 and Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #259 as Spider-Man starts to develop concerns about his new black costume, visits Reed Richards, removes the costume (with the traditional church bells) and then returns happily to his classic outfit.

In General...

The plot moves fast to cover all this ground, and generally does a good job in summarising all these classic scenes from Spidey's history. The only point at which it really stumbles is when Reed Richards tells Peter that his supposed "smart costume" is in fact a dangerous symbiote.

Now, in the original version of events, the costume is promptly removed, Peter returns home believing all is well, then the symbiote breaks free and forcibly returns to overwhelm its beloved host. Spider-Man finally regains enough control to force his way to the church in time for the bells of midnight.

But this re-telling doesn't have time for all that, so it improvises. Reed tells Spider-Man that the costume is a symbiote, and that it is vulnerable to sound. There is a sonic blaster nearby in Reed's lab (very convenient - you never know when you might need one). But just as Reed stretches to reach the blaster, Peter dashes out the window to go to the church tower.

Why? What kind of idiot would run away just as the world's greatest scientist is just about to remove a dangerous symbiote using the exactly appropriate tool? Peter's behaviour in this case is utterly incomprehensible. Clearly the writers wanted to get Spider-Man to the bell tower for the classic denouement, and they didn't have time for a symbiote escape sequence. That's understandable - but it's an utter shame that it adds an entirely illogical twist to a story which otherwise managed to avoid any major mistakes.

Overall Rating...

Generally a solid, well-encapsulated story with attractive original art. There's enough detail to add real reading interest for the target reading level.

Three Webs. I could have given a higher rating, except for the aforementioned glitch in regards to Peter's inexplicable behaviour in the final scene.