This 24-page 8" x 8" staple-bound soft-covered storybook format was popular with HarperCollins (and a few other publishers too) in the years 2007-2011.
All over town, the NYPD are being told to look out for a criminal dressed as Spider-Man. And... here he comes, crashing through the window of the donut shop. Get it. Donut shop. That's where the police hang out. Because police eat donuts. It's a cliché, ya know.
The police draw their weapons and... here comes Spider-Man #2.
Now, quick check here. One of the Spider-Man is running and carrying a large duffel bag full of cash. The other is hanging upside-down from a web-line. So... which do YOU think is the criminal and which the super-hero?
Too late, you missed your chance, and so did the cops. There's a scuffle, donuts fall everywhere, and one Spider-Man runs away. Then Captain Stacy turns up and instructs the police to arrest the remaining web-head. OOoooh! Sneaky! It's the Chameleon, isn't it! Spider-Man snaps his handcuffs and races after the fake Captain Stacy. The face-changing bad guy tries to escape, but Spider-Man gains some height and manages to spot the fleeing baddie.
Apply fist to jaw, and the case is closed.
The artwork is by the hard-working Andie Tong, who has abandoned his traditional bright-coloured clean lines in favor of a slightly more mature look with dark-shaded air-brush. It's certainly a fresh and innovative look, but part of me feels that perhaps it might look a bit too adult for a kids story book.
Similarly, the lexile setting is a bit confusing. There's a relatively low word count averaging around 30 words per page. But the vocabulary is surprisingly mature. Words like "mayhem" and "diversion" manage to sneak in. The villain is not a baddie but a "slippery scoundrel" and a "running rascal".
So what exactly is the age group for this book? The word-count is low, the humour is infantile, and the 8" x 8" format is typically for younger readers. But the color-palette is edgy, the violence of the conclusion is not hidden, and the vocabulary covers a wide range.
The art is gritty and effective. The plot is reasonable, and the script isn't terrible. For a kid's story book these days "not terrible" is tantamount to high praise. But I have to down-grade the rating slightly because I can't reconcile the target audience in my mind.
The Chameleon is an idiot. He had a chance to get away, but he ruined it by coming back as Captain Stacy. Then he had another chance to sneak away in the crowd, but he panicked and started pushing people out of his way. What a twit.