Comics : The Amazing Spider-Man (Running Press Miniature)

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

This review was first published on: Dec 2013.

Background...

This miniature book from Running Press is actually just one of three components included in a miniature boxed set. The box is 3" x 3.25" x 1.75" and it contains:

  • A metal pin-on badge (circular 1.5" in diameter).
  • A plastic Spider-Man action figure (2.25" in height).
  • A square-bound book (2.5" x 3", 56 pages).

This format is something that Running Press specialises in, they have produced many different "Mega Mini Kits", featuring all sorts of different comic book, movie and TV characters,

In Detail...

The Amazing Spider-Man (Running Press Miniature)
May 2012 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9780762445479
Summary: Boxed "Mega Mini Kit" (2.5" x 3" book, figurine and die-cast logo pin)
Publisher:  Running Press Book Publishers
Editor:  Jennifer Leczkowski
Writer:  Danielle Selber
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Review

The plastic figure is uninspiring. It's the kind of thing you might expect in a McDonalds happy meal.

The badge is actually pretty nice. It's solid metal and has a good feel to it.

Finally, the book is obviously what qualifies this product for our Spider-Fan books and comics database. The format is appealing enough, it's small at roughly three inches square, but with 56 pages and a glossy square-bound cover it's nice and chunky. Perfect for a nine year old's pocket.

It's only once you open the cover that the disappointment sets in. Although I should have suspected, as soon as I read the blurb on the back of the box:

"Driven by his personal mission to protect the innocent, Spider-Man is always there to save the day!"

That's about as generic a super-hero mission statement as you could imagine. Protect the innocent, save the day. That could be Batman, Venom, Aquaman or the Powerpuff Girls.

Inside the book is some of the laziest layout work I've ever seen. Most pages are a block of text, on a purple or red background. Every half-dozen pages an full-page image breaks the monotony.

In General...

The text is well-structured and surprisingly detailed.

So it's even more depressing that it is so utterly boring. There's no pizazz, no sparkle, no impact at all. Yes, it's true that Morlun was a villain with an uncanny knack for finding Spider-Man. But in the ill-structured mess that is this book, it's entirely uninteresting.

The writer of the text was clearly up to speed with recent comics as late as 2010. Unfortunately, the events of Brand New Day have already rendered much of this book inaccurate. Aunt May is no longer Peter's number one supporter. Peter and Mary Jane are no longer married/separated. Venom is no longer Mac Gargan.

This book came out in 2012, and it's already laughably out-of-date one year later.

Overall Rating...

Nice badge. But even at US$9, I can't say that this "box of tricks" feels like particularly good value. The plastic figure is cheap, and the book is boring.

One-and-a-half webs. Nice try, but no cigar.