Comics : Spider-Man 3: Spider-Man's New Suit
This review was first published on: 2008.
This is the third in a set of simplified point-of-view tellings of the third Spidey film. Firstly, Spider-Man 3: The New Goblin (a chapter book) told the story of the movie from Harry's point of view. Then the picture book Spider-Man 3: I Am Venom told the tale from Eddie Brock's angle.
Finally, this book relates a version of the events of the movie with the focus entirely on Spidey's Black Suit (but without really mentioning Venom in any detail).
The New Goblin was a chapter book. But this one is a 24-page full-color picture book, 8" x 8" soft cover format, just like Spider-Man 3: I Am Venom.
Spider-Man 3: Spider-Man's New Suit
Jun 2007 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0060837187
"Things were going well for Peter Parker. He was at the top of his class. Mary Jane adored him. And the whole city loved Spider-Man."
So reads the caption on the first page of this book. Two lines of medium print text, then the remainder is a single picture of Peter and MJ looking at a photo of Spider-Man on the front of the Daily Bugle. The tone is set of the rest of the story.
Peter and MJ go out to the park at night to watch a meteor shower. Black goo jumps onto Spidey's shoe. Back home Peter notices the goo. Spidey receives the key to the city (Gwen appears, but not mentioned by name). Sandman turns up, but defeats Spidey and escapes.
Peter's upset and angry. But Aunt May tells him not to live with revenge in his heart - it's like a poison that can take us over, she says. She doesn't use the word "venom".
Peter tosses and turns on his bed, as the black goo creeps onto his leg. He wakes up high above the city, in his black Spidey suit. It makes him stronger. He feels great! He defeats Sandman. But he's worried, so he takes the goo to Doctor Connors. Connors tells him the next day that the goo is a dangerous parasite. The word "symbiote" is not used.
Peter decides not to wear the suit any more. But then he can't resist. Then as Peter, he goes out with Gwen to the club where Mary Jane performs, and makes a scene. MJ is peeved. The suit has to go.
Then Peter is seen struggling with the suit. The caption is: "It was hard for Peter to get rid of the black suit. It clung to him with an evil power. But he knew he could do it." No mention of churches or sonics, no mention of Brock.
Spider-Man feels great to be back in his REAL suit. His Spidey sense tingles. A new villain named Venom had captured Mary Jane, she was in trouble. Spider-Man swoops in and saves her. Spidey is a hero. Spider-Man is back! Yay!
As you can see, this is a VERY simplified version of the events of the movie. Huge chunks of story have been discarded as simply far too complex.
I've always had a great deal of sympathy for writers facing the task of taking a huge film and translating it to a kids book. It's difficult to pull out a single aspect of a multi-layered film like Spidey three. Writer N.T. Raymond does a pretty good job, all things considered.
The problem is that in this case, even a good job isn't quite enough to give a satisfying story. I don't think that even a fantastic job would have resulted in a particularly good story. It's just not feasible.
Kids not familiar with the film may accept this incredibly shallow telling, but I really couldn't enjoy it at all. The book is a series of events, but it rather fails to gel as a story. By contrast, Spider-Man 3: I Am Venom by the same author did manage (though only just) to untangle a single (just) workable plot thread.
The art is adequate in general, though some of the faces are rather unconvincing, so I can't really boost the rating for that. The best I can do is offer two and a half webs for an "almost, but not quite good enough" attempt at performing what was probably an impossible task of translating Peter's role in the film into a 24-page kids story.