"Super Hero Squad: Team Spirit!" is one of a series of "Passport to Reading" books featuring the Squaddies published by Little, Brown & Co. In the Australia/NZ market, these books are re-branded as "Ready-to-Read" and are published by Scholastic Australia.
These books are 6" x 9", 32 full-color pages with a square-bound spine. Each page features a full-colour illustration with a couple of sentences of text.
In "Team Spirit!" Spider-Man, Storm and Wolverine return from a mission where they have defeated yet another giant Sentinel robot. They boast about their success as usual, much to the objection of Invisible Woman, Thing and Falcon who seem to feel a bit left out for some reason.
So when the next mission arrives (a convenient three seconds later) General Ross re-assigns the roles in order to force the two groups to co-operate. The heroes must stop three more of Doctor Doom's Sentinels before they "Destroy Super Hero City". Spider-Man and Falcon are paired up, while Wolverine works with the Invisible Woman and The Thing is matched with Storm.
Did I mention that Doctor Doom specifically calls the heroes on the video-phone to warn them of the attack and the limited time-frame? It's also quite impressive just how pathetic these Sentinels are. For example:
Returning victorious to the Hero Headquarters, all the Squaddies are best of friends once more.
It's hard to identify why this book disappoints me so. Is it the facile, repetitive character illustrations? Or perhaps the utterly unsophisticated "heroes are good, villains are bad" separation of roles. Maybe it's the laughably contrived scenarios that force the mom-and-apple-pie moral message down the hapless reader's metaphorical throat?
Of course, it's all of the above.
These are Licensed Properties in search of a story – and failing to find one.
To its credit, this is attractively-packaged original content. And the story lacks the energy required to actively offend the reader. Its faults lie purely in blandness and banality. I cannot be overly unkind.