Comics : Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Spider-Man and the Movie Mystery

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

This review was first published on: Aug 2013.

Background...

Here's another of those 8" x 8" 24-page staple-bound kids storybooks from HarperCollins.

In Detail...

Spider-Sense Spider-Man: Spider-Man and the Movie Mystery
Feb 2011 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9780061626159
Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers
Writer:  Heather Alexander
Artist:  Sanford Greene
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Review

Peter takes his girlfriend Mary-Jane Watson to a film studio in Queens New York. She is starring in a new Action Movie!

And... quick fact check. Yep, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios are both in Queens. Looks legit. However, according to the illustration, the title of the movie is "And Their Hands Touched". Is that really an action movie title? More likely the illustrator and scripter didn't coordinate very well!

Page 2: Mysterio presses a secret button on his belt, and Mary-Jane vanishes.

Now, why would the buttons on Mysterio be "secret" buttons? He designed his own costume. He made the buttons. So why was the button a secret? Yeah, it's a triviality. But the the whole text is littered with these silly, ill-considered adjectives.

Anyhow, Mysterio's plan is to kidnap Mary Jane and hide her in the props storeroom. He ties her up with tight ropes. What a meanie! Mysterio is angry at the world for ignoring his special effects. Now he will make the world pay! With tight ropes! I can't sympathise with that at all! I've never wanted to tie up Mary-Jane with... tight ropes!

Peter Parker is watching TV with Aunt May. He sees the news report "Movie actress kidnapped!" He races to the set and his Spider-Sense tells him where MJ is hidden. Well, that Spider-Sense sure did kill any suspense now, didn't it.

Spider-Man fights Mysterio, who uses Mysterio Trick 1B (multiple illusions of himself) and Trick 6C (illusionary fire). Unfortunately, Mysterio gets his shoes wet when Spider-Man sets off the sprinkler, and then he slips off a plank and falls down.

Hero saves the day. Movie-making resumes. The End.

In General...

First up, the artwork is utterly uninspiring. Mary-Jane looks like some sort of blow-up sex doll, except that she has sticks for arms. Her contribution to the plot is to yell "You'll never get away with this!" followed two pages later by "Help!"

Mysterio's motivation is entirely non-existent. Yeah, I get it. He was a special effects designer, but he wanted to be star. Now... what has that got to do with kidnapping Mary Jane and then hiding? How does that do anything at all?

The dialogue also descends into the "Spider-Man did this. Mysterio did that. Spider-Man did the other thing" sort of blow-by-blow description which has its place in a technical manual, or in soap-opera episode summaries. But personally, I need something more in my stories if I'm going to read them to my kids every night for two years. I'm flexible on exactly what that "something more" might be... excitement, rhythm, humour, a lesson, insight, or anything really!

Overall Rating...

Just plain disappointing.