Comics : Super Hero Squad: Team Spirit!

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

This review was first published on: Aug 2014.

Background...

"Super Hero Squad: Team Spirit!" is one of a series of "Passport to Reading" books featuring the Squaddies published by Little, Brown & Co. In the Australia/NZ market, these books are re-branded as "Ready-to-Read" and are published by Scholastic Australia.

These books are 6" x 9", 32 full-color pages with a square-bound spine. Each page features a full-colour illustration with a couple of sentences of text.

In Detail...

Super Hero Squad: Team Spirit!
Sep 2011 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9780316176293
Summary: Passport to Reading Level 2 (Spider-Man Appears)
Publisher:  Little, Brown & Co.
Writer:  Lucy Rosen
Illustrator:  Dario Brizuela
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 Reprinted In: Super Hero Squad Adventure Collection

In "Team Spirit!" Spider-Man, Storm and Wolverine return from a mission where they have defeated yet another giant Sentinel robot. They boast about their success as usual, much to the objection of Invisible Woman, Thing and Falcon who seem to feel a bit left out for some reason.

So when the next mission arrives (a convenient three seconds later) General Ross re-assigns the roles in order to force the two groups to co-operate. The heroes must stop three more of Doctor Doom's Sentinels before they "Destroy Super Hero City". Spider-Man and Falcon are paired up, while Wolverine works with the Invisible Woman and The Thing is matched with Storm.

Did I mention that Doctor Doom specifically calls the heroes on the video-phone to warn them of the attack and the limited time-frame? It's also quite impressive just how pathetic these Sentinels are. For example:

  1. Falcon's birds help locate the first Sentinel, and Spider-Man squirts webbing at it.
  2. Wolverine and Invisible Woman find their Sentinel with no assistance. The Invisible Woman blinks in and out of visibility, confusing the giant robot so that it falls down and Wolverine can chop its power line.
  3. Storm creates a rainstorm which makes a puddle, and the last Sentinel falls in. The Thing knocks over a statue and the robot is trapped beneath a tiny piece of rubble.

Returning victorious to the Hero Headquarters, all the Squaddies are best of friends once more.

In General...

It's hard to identify why this book disappoints me so. Is it the facile, repetitive character illustrations? Or perhaps the utterly unsophisticated "heroes are good, villains are bad" separation of roles. Maybe it's the laughably contrived scenarios that force the mom-and-apple-pie moral message down the hapless reader's metaphorical throat?

Of course, it's all of the above.

These are Licensed Properties in search of a story – and failing to find one.

Overall Rating...

To its credit, this is attractively-packaged original content. And the story lacks the energy required to actively offend the reader. Its faults lie purely in blandness and banality. I cannot be overly unkind.

Two webs.