Comics : Amazing Spider-Man 2: Giant Coloring & Activity Book - Swing On

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This review was first published on: Jan 2015.

Background...

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro" was almost an adequate movie. The SFX were fantastic, and the cast was excellent. But the script was clich├ęd flawed - and Peter Parker spent pretty much every on scene moment crying. And then... you do know that Hospitals and Airports have backup generators, right? And in an emergency, trainee nurses are expected to shut up and stay out of the way. And...

Well. Let's just leave that be. The movie was flawed. But that's nothing compared to this pair of awful tie-in coloring books from Modern Publishing - "Swing On!" and "Power On!".

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man 2: Giant Coloring & Activity Book - Swing On
Apr 2014 : SM Title
Publisher:  Modern Publishing, Inc.
Staff Only
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Amazing Spider-Man 2: Giant Coloring & Activity Book - Power On
Apr 2014 : SM Title
Publisher:  Modern Publishing, Inc.
Staff Only
Issue
Review

Both books are essentially identical. They contain nearly the exact same artwork, although some of the art has different captions in the two different books. The contents are the usual mix of "activity" pages:

  • Coloring Pages: Featuring artwork that makes you embarrassed that professional standards have slipped so far.
  • Join-The-Dots: Where it's utterly clear before you even start exactly what you are about to draw. Clearly somebody forget what the point of Join-the-Dots is actually about.
  • Mazes: Hard to screw these up.
  • Letter Puzzles: Ditto.

The artwork also has its own problems. The images are taken from The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Movie Storybook, which means they have access to images which provide pretty much a full retelling of the movie.

Unfortunately, the source artwork isn't fantastic. Most of the layouts are static and clumsy, with unattractive faces and slightly awkward angles. In the movie storybook, at least the images are colored, which distracts from the mediocre illustrations. But once converted to black and white for these two coloring books, the paucity of the drawings (in both detail and composition) are completely laid open.

Some of the captions are equally clunky: "Harry is sick and he needs Spider-Man to get better". If you haven't read the movie, I think you would really struggle to figure out what that is supposed to mean.

In General...

On the positive, the book does make a real effort to follow the sequence of the movie on which it is based. On the negative, I can't really see what the point of that is. The book by itself tells you that Max Dillon becomes a super-villain named Electro, but any details beyond that are entirely unclear – unless you've seen the movie. And if you have seen the movie, then this flat and lifeless offering is a hollow echo. It has none of the energy of the original source material, and adds nothing of its own.

Overall Rating...

Maybe I'm just too cynical, and I can see this book for what it is... a leech which forms part of the ecosystem of the modern mass media product. It exists because enough people will buy it to cover the costs.

One and a Half Webs.