This is the third Spider-Man "Jigsaw" book we've seen out of Funtastic. The first two were Spider-Man 2: Jigsaw Book (Funtastic) and Funtastic Jigsaw Activity Book (2005). This one is similar in size and weight, being 8 1/4" x 11 3/4" in size, and nearly 3/4" thick.
I love the format of these books, the whole concept is pleasing. They're heavy and chunky, with five bright glossy jigsaw puzzles inside them, each with their own tiny tray into which they fit nice and snugly. That's heaps better than five puzzles sitting in crappy cardboard boxes on a shelf.
My complaint with this book is that it features only Spidey. The puzzles are two red-and-blue Spideys, then two black-suit Spideys, then finally one more red-and-blue. There's a couple of paragraphs on each opposing page sort of giving a tale as we go along...
Red-and-Blue: Spidey is popular since defeating Green Goblin and Doc Ock. Everybody loves him. Yay.
Red-and-Blue: But there's a dark side, Spidey became less noble. One night he bonded with the black ooze, a symbiote from another world.
Black: Spidey is more powerful, but gets selfish.
Black: Spidey fights with the suit and gets rid of it.
Red-and-Blue: Spidey is heroic once more. But who will be the suit's next victim? Ooooh! Ooooh! I know the answer to that one! It's Venom! Put him in the book! Put him in!
Note, however, that the descriptions I've given apply to the text only. Those aren't actually echoed in the jigsaw picture at all. For example, when the text says words to the effect that "Spider-Man fights with the black suit and gets rid of it", the jigsaw image merely shows black-suited Spidey in a stock pose. There's no dramatic scene of him wrestling with goop in a church tower.
Fall and Redemption.
At its foundation, this perhaps is the real story of Spider-Man 3 the Movie. Stripped of all the fight scenes and superficiality, that's the moral of the film. But does it make for an interesting kids jigsaw book? Hell no! I would want to see one Red'n'Blue Spidey, one Black Spidey, one New Goblin, one Venom and one Sandman. But instead we just get Spidey in five different poses. How lame is that?
I suspect that the timing is the reason behind that decision. The backgrounds for the poses are rather dull, they're stock cityscapes, colorized to a single hue. Yawn! But it kind of indicates to me that this book was perhaps produced before there were other character shots available, and before there were real movie stills to use as backgrounds.
You know what, I don't care if there was a timing problem with getting art. Releasing a book before you have decent material is just stupid. Going to press with this collection of stock poses and backgrounds is an insult.
The generic nature of the content, and specifically absence of the three other villains and proper background scenes from this book makes for rather a let-down. The form is great, but the substance is lacking. Two sad webs for a book that could have been so much cooler.