Comics : You Are Spider-Man

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

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Among the swag-bag of Byron Preiss novels from the late 90's/early 00's was one little oddity - a "choose your path to adventure" novel.

This is a "Pocket Book" paperback, which means that it's 4.25" x 6.75", or slightly smaller than regular paperback. Roughly 160 pages of cheap newsprint paper, with a dozen or so line-art illustrations scattered throughout the book, it's also shorter in length than any of the other Byron Preiss novels, being more the length of one of the "Spider-Man Super Thrillers" from the same era.

In Detail...

You Are Spider-Man
Jun 1997 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0671007971
Summary: Paperback, "Choose Your Path" Book
Writer:  Richie Chevat
Illustrator:  Ernie Colon
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Review

I'm sure you're familiar with these "choose your path" books. Basically, the book is made up of a number of small text sections, between one and four pages. You start at page one, but then at the end of each text block you the reader must decide between a couple of different possible actions. For example do you choose to attack Doctor Doom (turn to page 17), or rescue Bruce Banner (turn to page 121)?

Normally you have two choices. In some cases, you don't get a choice, you just get jumped to another section. In once case you have three choices. There are no dice or random elements at all. The choice is entirely up to you.

Depending on your choices at each stage, you will finally end up at one of approximately twelve different possible endings. The problem is that most of the endings finish up with painful death for Spidey. Some merely end with humiliation and abject failure. There is one "successful" ending, so choose wisely!

Actually, wisdom isn't always enough. In many cases a little judgement will easily show you the right choice. You arrive at the Latverian Embassy and see Doom standing in a courtyard, unprotected. Should you attack him from behind, or investigate further. Heh, not too hard to pick correctly on that one. But a couple of the other choices involve basically good luck. Even in hindsight, a couple of the choices offered really don't give you a fair clue as to what you should do - you just have to close your eyes and hope for the best.

But hey, it's all good fun. The story isn't a great work of literature, and doesn't shed any insight on anybody. This tale is all about action and adventure. The text is pretty simple, your average young teen or even pre-teen isn't going to have much trouble with it. I worked my way through most of the options in about fifteen minutes, trying four or five times before I finally found my way to victory against Doctor Doom. It was a perfectly enjoyable way to spend my time.

In General...

Easy to read and something different. If you know a 10-12 year old Spidey fan, they'll probably really enjoy this book. If you're a Spidey collector, then this little one-off will be nice little addition to your collection. Sure, it's not Jane Eyre, but it's good clean fun.

Overall Rating...

Better than many such "choose-your-path" books, I give this book an above-average three and a half webs.