Comics : Spider-Man 2: Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock
This review was first published on: 2004.
As per the last movie, Spider-Man 2 has also spun off a series of pocket-sized books for the pre-teen market. However, whereas the first series of books seemed to stick pretty close to the film plot, this second film has acquired a collection of books that are just one step further removed.
A number of the Spider-Man 2 movie books used movie stills for the artwork, however these two slimmer books for younger kids actually feature freshly-drawn artwork instead. The other book in this matching pair is Spider-Man 2: Everyday Hero.
Note: There are probably U.K. and U.S. versions of this book, probably with separate ISBNs. We'll catch up with that info all in good time. But for now, let's just open up and have a look inside.
Spider-Man 2: Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock
Jun 2004 : SM Title
These books are the same size as most of the other HarperCollins movie tie-ins, namely 5" x 7.5". However, they feature a foldover binding, since they're only 32 pages each. Glossy cover, and high-quality paper stock. High resolution print process and good color. Art features strong coloring, and a fair bit of computer "enhancement", giving perhaps a "near-photo" look at times.
Each page features between one and five lines (normally between one and three lines per page). The rest of the page is taken with art. Here's an example of a longish page... "I am going to interview a scientist named Otto Octavius. He is performing an experiment today." You get the gist.
The story is VERY simple. Peter is a high school student, but he is always in a hurry. He is also Spider-Man. His "after-school job" is being Spider-Man. He rescues people. His Uncle Ben would be proud of him. Peter also works at the Bugle. He reads about a new menace named Doc Ock. That sounds like Otto Octavius. Peter hopes nothing went wrong with the experiment (that presumably Peter didn't see, even after interviewing Otto).
Peter goes to the bank to cash his pay. Ock turns up and tries to rob the place. Spidey defeats him, but doesn't capture Ock. Spidey will be ready next time. He's a hero, that's what he does!
Independently, this book and the matching Spider-Man 2: Everyday Hero form a pair of average and mostly competent Spidey storybooks. They're a bit facile, but then again the overall production quality is pretty good. Sure, the books are TOTALLY unrelated to the movie in any way, except for the approximate look and feel of Ock's arms.
The real point against these two books is the complete disconnect between the two! I can really imagine some parent grabbing both of them, taking them home, and then being unable to explain how Spidey doesn't recognise Ock, even though he just read about him in the newspaper in the other book. It's just dumb. Just some basic consistency is all I'm asking for!
This one is pretty ho-hum, but it doesn't screw up in too many ways. Let's be generous and give it a middle-of-the-road three webs.