Audio : Amazing Spider-Man: Follow That Spider (Play-a-Sound)

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

This is one of those lovable hard-bound books which come complete with an attached audio panel, consisting of illustrated buttons that each cause a sound to be played through a tiny built-in speaker. What seems like a great idea at the shop is eventually transformed into a torment, as the sound of Spidey's web soon loses its charm after a straight hour of being pressed by a tireless three-year old.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man: Follow That Spider (Play-a-Sound)
Year 2002 : SM Title
Find at Amazon.Com
Publisher:  Publications International Ltd.
Writer:  Charles Hofer
Artist:  Rod Vass
Cover Art:  Jeff Albrecht Studios
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Review

This more recent push-button audio book is physically larger than the first Spider-Man audio book, Spider-Man: Night of the Lizard (Touch 'N' Listen). This one sizes at 12.5" x 12", hard-back of course. The story is twenty pages long, one page longer than "Night of the Lizard" because this one doesn't squander the last page on diagrams for replacing the battery!

Reflecting the huge advances in computer technology in the seven years since the earlier book, this offering features sixteen distinct audio sounds. In terms of story quality, however, we have come no distance at all.

This facile tale starts with Spidey catching some unrelated crooks, just to set the scene. Then we cut to the Green Goblin organising his gang, which consists of Sandman, Scorpion, Vulture, Ock, Rhino, and Electro. The Goblin plans to trap Spider-Man by kidnapping Jonah Jameson. Naturally, Peter is there at the time this deed is committed.

Spidey goes to rescue Jonah, who is held at the Goblin's lair, an amusement park. The gang attacks, Spidey faces the super-powered goons in pairs, and manages to trick/cajole/maneuver one member of each pair into attacking the other. Spidey then tracks the Green Goblin in the house of mirrors. Of course, when Gobby sees hundreds of Spider-Men in all the mirrors, he has a breakdown and surrenders.

Back at the Bugle, Jameson naturally holds Spider-Man responsible. End.

This story is extra-ordinarily contrived. Yeah, there's a lot of buttons. But is that enough to make up for such a terrible tale?

In General...

This book is a little hard to find these days, especially if you're looking for near mint condition. I managed to buy mine second-hand through Amazon, and that's where you probably want to start if you're looking for them.

We're a long way from literature here, folks. This is just money-spinning merchandising, crossed with proven kid-appeal. I sat with my two kids and we pressed our way through the story. I must admit that the novelty wore off very quickly for me, but the kids were still wanting more by the end! I guess these guys know their target audience pretty well.

Overall Rating...

Even sixteen buttons doesn't manage to redeem a laughably bad text.

Two and a half webs.