HarperCollins Publishers have produced a fair few Spider-Man books. They began with some movie tie-ins, both coloring/activity and story books. Now in the last year or two they've spit out a few small story books featuring a generic young Spider-Man.
This book is one of a matched pair, the other being Spider-Man: Clash with the Rhino. Both are 8" x 8", glossy card cover with 14 full color pages inside.
In this tale, Doctor Octopus is in his laboratory copying his notes for his weather control machine onto disk. We then slide into recap mode, as we see Ock gain his powers and then defeat Spider-Man in their first battle.
Unfortunately for Ock, Spider-Man swings past the lab at that very moment by complete coincidence. Man, ain't that bad luck. But let's just accept the one-in-a-million chance that represents and see what this leads to. Spider-Man in passing senses that something "is not right", and that's all he needs to start kicking butt and taking names.
So Spidey smashes through the window, then is surprised to see Doc Ock. Seriously. WTF? Spidey thinks something is wrong, so he doesn't look through the window and see Ock. He quite definitely smashes through first, and then he sees the bad guy. What kind of psycho is this Spider guy anyhow?
Well, Ock hits Spidey. So Spidey grabs the pile of disks, yelling "Come and get me Squid Limbs". Oh, how droll. Spider-Man knows he can't win in a fight, so he leads Ock outside and then tosses the disks at Ock, filling his arms. Ock grabs them. But why? They were just copies of the original data. What's so precious that he had to loose the fight to save them? And furthermore why did that plan require Spidey to actually go outside... or was that just the chance to smash through more windows?
Spidey wins, then ransacks Ock's lab to find about Ock's scheme. Then he leaves Ock hanging upside-down over a dumpster calls the cops. The cops laugh... "It looks like someone took out the trash."
This book is twenty four pages long. Full color pages. And yet, it contains absolutely nothing of interest or value.
What? You say that 24 pages isn't actually that much? Really? Well, the Gettysburg Address would fit in well under two lines per page. Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" would only require a little more than that. Genesis 1 only requires 31 lines to create the whole damn world! So let's not underestimate the power of two dozen pages here.
Writer Jennifer Frantz has written words which do a disservice to the term "story". This collection of text is an insult to Spider-Man, and an insult to children.
Artist Andie Tong (one of the regular artists on Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine)) does his valiant best, but nothing could save this disaster. Rock bottom half-a-web here.