Comics : Spider-Man & Friends: Strong Friendships

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

This review was first published on: May 2010.

Background...

Bendon Publishing produced this series of four books, each extolling various "virtues". The books themselves are thick card cover and pages, suitable for pre-schoolers. They are 9.5" tall, about 6" across, but cut with a wavy outline to make them more "interesting".

Each book in the series competes with the others to promote the most insipid of candyfloss qualities. This one is entitled "Strong Friendships". Each contains five double pages and all follow the same pattern, as follows:

The first four double pages in each book feature Spider-Man on the first double spread, and then another one or two stars on the second and third double-spread. The fourth spread features one minor star on each page. All of these characters are accompanied by one or two paragraphs describing the character and their ideal qualities.

The fifth and final spread features a more detailed scene with several characters. The text on this page relates to the specific virtues and describes how perfectly our heroes epitomize this virtue.

In Detail...

Spider-Man & Friends: Strong Friendships
Year 2008 : SM Title
Publisher:  Bendon Publishing International, Inc.
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Stars: Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, Thing, Lizard & Cyclops.

Text of final beach scene: "Whether it's riding the waves and playing at the beach, or building a snowman, Spider-Man and Friends make the most of every day of the year. They also remember that family, loyalty, strong friendships and caring for others always comes first!"

In General...

I don't know about you, but I just prefer my kids stories just a little bit more subversive. This sickly goody-good stuff tends to make me gag, and this is no exception.

Most amusing profile paragraph: "[Talking about how the team always calls for Cyclops]. If something is too big [to] tackle alone, an optic blast from Cyclop's eyes will always do the trick!" Yeah. Go Cyclops. There's no problem that can't be fixed with a decent blast! Umm... and a strong friendship.

Overall Rating...

This is probably the least offensive of the quadrology. I'm going to give it a rating of "Amphibian" on the "trite" scale, and allocate it a harmless two webs.

Footnote...

If I'm being picky, there's a couple of grammatical errors on the Cyclops page. First there's a mixed plural earlier in the paragraph "The team calls Cyclops if it's too big for him [the team] to handle alone." Also [Cyclop's] should actually be [Cyclops'], plural possessive of a word ending with "s". But hey, I'm not going to cast the first stone on that front!