There is at least one good thing to come out of the Disney takeover of Marvel. Spider-Man and his heroic pals have joined the "Little Golden Book" format. Attractive and nicely-priced, these classics are hardback, 6.5" x 8", 24 full-color pages and feature an unmistakable golden foil on the square-bound spine.
The story quickly assembles some common clichés to get under way. Spider-Man is "Swinging through New York City" when he spots a swirling portal in the sky over Central Park. An angry Hulk thuds into the scene, having just encountered... Frost Giants! From Asgard (or so the books says). The Frost Giants demand that Thor faces them, and promise to cover the city with ice and snow until he does.
Actually, writer Billy Wrecks didn't do his research properly. The Norse Frost Giants come from Jötunheimr, not Ásgarðr. But I guess that's not the point. This story is about brightly-coloured classic characters yelling things and fighting each other in the ever-increasing unseasonal snow summoned by the Frost Giants' magics.
Iron Man joins the scene and the heroes battle the Frost Giant around New York for a few pages until Thor finally arrives, demanding to know what's going on. Laufey, king of the Frost Giants, says that he has come to seek vengeance for his previous defeat at Thor's hands on a former snowy battlefield.
And with that, the battle transforms somewhat inexplicably into a relatively good-natured snowball fight. Thor and his fellow heroes chase the blue-skinned Jötnar back through the portal, which closes leaving the victorious champions to enjoy a few final snowballs with the bemused citizens of New York.
Snowballs? I'll admit, I didn't see that twist coming. That's mostly because I kind of assumed that the story would make some sort of sense. But crazy as it is, at least it's something original for a change.
The text is well enough constructed. It tells the story effectively in an informal, free-flowing style which is well-suited for reading aloud. The illustrations are solid too, with plenty of variety both in layout and colour palette as the story progresses.
"The Big Freeze" is a solid and relatively original effort, despite its silliness.
The bar is set pretty low for Spider-Man kids books – most of them are pretty terrible. This one is half-decent, and I think I can safely give it three-and-a-half webs.