Comics : Marvel Spider-Man: Read and Listen

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This review was first published on: Jul 2015.

Background...

The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story from back in 2011 has turned out to be a surprisingly influential re-telling of Spider-Man's origins. It (and the follow-on tales featuring Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Mysterio and others) feature "water-color" styled illustrations which have now been re-used and adapted countless times.

In Detail...

Marvel Spider-Man: Read and Listen
Apr 2014 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781484704325
Summary: 128pp, Hardback
Adaptation Of: The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Mysterio (Origin Storybook)
Adaptation Of: The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 8)
Adaptation Of: The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus (Origin Storybook)
Adaptation Of: 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 3)
Adaptation Of: 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 4)
Adaptation Of: 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 6)
Adaptation Of: The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 20)
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Review

The book is 6.2" x 8.3", hardback, 128 pages.

This "Marvel Spider-Man: Read and Listen" book is yet another collection of re-formatted adaptations of various previous stories from the "Marvel Origin Story" products. This book contains six stories, although one of those stories is a strange amalgam of two stories blended together. There's also a code for downloading an eBook containing a seventh story, but I couldn't be bothered subscribing to the Marvel/Disney website.

The six stories actually contained within the book are:

  1. A near-direct re-telling of The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Mysterio (Origin Storybook). There has been some minor adjustment to the text — words modified here and there, but essentially unchanged.
  2. A retelling of "The Rhino's Rampage" from The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 8). The text has been freely modified, although the plot of the story is retained.
  3. An almost exact reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus (Origin Storybook) with some purely cosmetic changes to the formatting. The text is essentially 100% unchanged.
  4. A bizarre melding of two short tales "The Sleepless Spider" and "It's Electric" from 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 3) and 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 4) respectively. The bulk of the story is from "It's Electric", but a few pages from "The Sleepless Spider" were also included, presumably to make up the desired final page count. The text of both has been significantly modified.
  5. A retelling of "Spider-Man at the Beach", again from 5-Minute Spider-Man Stories (Story 6). Again, the sense of the story is retained, although many of the paragraphs have been rewritten.
  6. A retelling of "What Makes a Hero?" from The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 20). The text in this story appears to be identical to the original, with only cosmetic changes.

In General...

I'm not a big fan of this constant re-bundling, tinkering and re-releasing of the same old material. In particular, I really cannot see why chunks of the text need to be re-written every time these stories are released. Many of these stories have been published now with two, three, or even four slightly different scripts wrapped around the same old illustrations and plot.

I guess I can sympathise a little, as the original text (and even plot) of these stories had little to recommend it. But I can't see any particular improvement in quality in the newer versions — each re-telling is just as flawed, insipid, and uninspiring as what came before. It seems to be change purely for the sake of change.

Maybe there's some sort of tax benefit in republishing these stories?

Overall Rating...

The book itself is an attractive, solid little product at a fair price.

But the stories are generally inane, and none of them are original, so let's nudge it down to a slightly sub-par Two-and-a-Half Webs.

Footnote...

I did visit the web-site for downloading the eBook. It told me that:

"The storybook being redeemed may be downloaded to the iPad, iPhone, and may be viewed on certain Mac and PC computers, portable media devices, and e-reader devices. Internet connection required; access fees may apply. Terms and conditions apply."

Honestly, I have no interest in electronic books at all, so I let it go at that point. But if anybody out there has actually downloaded the eContent and wants to share their thoughts, feel fee to mail us at the site and we'll add your thoughts and comments to the review.