Comics : The Amazing Spider-Man: Beware the Lizard

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This review was first published on: Dec 2012.

Background...

Of all the various tie-in books for the Amazing Spider-Man (2012 Film), this is the first one I have seen which acknowledges the Lizard as a major element of the plot. The other half-dozen or more than I have read and reviewed so far all focus on Spider-Man and give at most a minor mention to the scaly green antagonist.

I'm not entirely sure why that might be. Without a villain to battle, a super-hero is only half a character. And a Spider-Man kids book without any action loses the biggest part of its impact. So why on earth would the marketing team have made the decision to release a bunch of movie tie-in books, which generally make little or no reference at all to the Lizard?

One theory is that they didn't want to spoil the plot of the film - a possible explanation, although it is not entirely convincing to my mind. More likely, I reckon that the schedule for the books meant that the content had to be sent to the printers before the final video editing was finished, and more importantly, before all of the Lizard CGI work was completed. With no finished stills featuring the Lizard, creating a Lizard picture book becomes much more difficult.

Still, if you were desperate enough, you could have a go at making one with whatever scraps you could get your hands on. And that's where this book comes in...

In Detail...

The Amazing Spider-Man: Beware the Lizard
Jun 2012 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781423154792
Publisher:  Marvel Books (U.S.), Scholastic Australia, Inc. (Australia - ISBN 9781742834320)
Writer:  Nachie Castro
Screenplay:  James Vanderbilt
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Review

So here we go - a story book, theoretically based on the movie.

The Book: The story introduces scientist Dr. Connors, who lost his right arm in an accident. Connors worked with Peter's father in the past. Connors has been working on an experimental formula. One day while talking to Peter Parker, Dr. Connors has a new idea!

...vs. The Movie: According to the film, the "new idea" is actually an old idea, created by Peter's father, and actually told to the Doctor by Peter (who pretended that he himself thought it up). But the "secret formula" sub-plot is gone.

The Book: Dr. Connors finishes his formula, and hides in his lab to use it, knowing that he would get into trouble for doing so.

...vs. The Movie: My memory of the film is the opposite, that in fact Connors was in trouble for NOT being aggressive enough in finishing his formula, and not being prepared to trial it.

The Book: Connors becomes the Lizard, and (we are told, though not shown) rampages through the city. Police chief Captain Stacy is (again, we are told) unable to stop him. Spider-Man swings into action (not actually shown) and "holds the Lizard at bay long enough for him to change back to Doctor Connors" (no pictures or details provided).

...vs. The Movie: Well, the book is missing about 99% of the plot here. There's no mention of the antidote. No mention of Gwen's role, nor of Captain Stacy's death. The fight is not shown or described, we are told only that "it was tough!". In fact not only is the fight completely absent, but there is no image of the Lizard other than the half-transformed version that you see on the cover. Of the fully-transformed Lizard we see not hide nor hair (nor claw nor scale).

In General...

Disappointing doesn't begin to describe it. This story really has been eviscerated. It contains about 5% of the details of the movie, 2% of the visual imagery, and 0% of the action! What's left is watered down like some sort of homoeopathic remedy!

While technically the book does "tie-in" to the film, the links are so tenuous as to be almost meaningless.

Overall Rating...

With little plot, little correlation, and no visual impact, this story serves neither as an advertisement for the film, nor a meaningful souvenir of it. The glossy production values add nothing to what is an insubstantial piece of gratuitous "collateral commercial material".

One web.