This story is so disappointing in comparison to our usual lame Electric Company villains that I decided to try something special for this review. I've invited Doctor Octopus to do a guest review with me. Say hi, Doc.
Doc Ock: *Hmph* That's DOCTOR Octopus to you and all the cretins out there.
Yeah, sure Doc. Anyway, here we have the semi-immortal villainy of the Book-Worm. He's a big green worm that eats books for a living. He-
Doc Ock: Ha! Spider-Man will crush him like an insect, just like I will someday crush Spider-Man also much like an insect!
You done ranting?
Doc Ock: *sigh* For now... but someday soon, I will have my revenge!
It's nice to have goals. So the Book-Worm is, well... aw, you get the idea. Just read it.
We start off in the library where Easy Reader is reading out loud to Valerie the Librarian, who probably already knows how to read. Aren't there some idiot kids around somewhere who-
Doc Ock: Who are these people? Where's Spider-Man? Where's the crime? Why does that man have a big butterfly and three smiley faces on his leather jacket?
Well, it's not really important who they are-
Doc Ock: I just want to say, I would never permit my thugs to wear butterflies on their leather. I always try and make my thugs wear some kind of orange spandex and gas masks.
Look, they're not thugs, ok? They're the supporting cast. Being a villain, you wouldn't know much about having a supporting cast. Wait, I know. They're like the people that you would kidnap because they have some vague connection to the hero, and then hold over some kind of deadly radioactive sharkpit or something until the hero rescues them.
Doc Ock: Oh, those people. I see now. Hmm, radioactive sharkpit, you say... *starts sketching*
Anyway, Easy Reader's reading aloud from a book. "And they all lived happily ever after. What an out of sight ending!"
Doc Ock: Ha! This man is clearly a mental baboon, far beneath my superior intellect.
You know, I could not agree more, Doc. Meanwhile, Valerie the Librarian is unpacking boxes of books and putting them on the shelves when she notices something strange about them.
Valerie: Hey, what's this? Every book is filled with - WORM HOLES!
Well, I guess you could call it that. Or based on the fact that giant ten-inch bites are taken out of every book you just unpacked it might not be a worm after all. The really sad thing is, she's absolutely right about it being giant worms with teeth. Anyway, one of the other boxes starts vibrating and making CHOMP noises.
Doc Ock: Oh, is it one of those vibro-shock cannons that could level the city? I've always wanted one like Moleman used to have. I ordered it from the '93 AIM Expo catalog, but that Captain America crashed their customer record computers and I heard it got shipped to Nova Scotia...
No Doc, it isn't some vibro-shock cannon, so just forget it, all right. The box continues making chomping noises and Valerie makes the brilliant observation that, "You didn't chomp!... and I didn't chomp!... *pointing at the box* Then HE chomped!" So out of the box comes this eight-foot-long snake-worm thing, the Book-Worm! He's been chomping all the good parts out of books, like an overzealous 7th grade English teacher.
Doc Ock: That's his attack? He eats books? I've had henchman who could eat motorcycle parts while polishing statues of me and fighting off Ant-Man at the same time. That's the worst attack I've ever seen.
Look, I wasn't going to bring it up, but the last time you fought Spider-Man your big attack was to bonk him with a painting.
Doc Ock: Now you just shut up about that! It was convenient, that's all. I could crush Spider-Man beneath many-tentacled fist any time I choose!
Your what? Many tentacled fist? No wonder you keep losing, your super-villain banter doesn't make any sense... *heh*
Doc Ock: Oh, you know... NEVER MIND! Let's just finish this as quickly as possible, cretin.
Fine. So the Book-Worm comes out of the box and slowly slithers sideways succulently, simulating soothing seashore strutting. (Try saying that ten times fast. God, I can't believe I just did that. How sad.) And he slithers and chomps three more books, and then slowly slithers up to the top of a bookshelf to knock all the books off one-by-one, and then slides back down. All the while, Easy Reader and Valerie are frozen in mortal terror. Which is odd, since then they suddenly get an amazing burst of courage and decide to grab his scaly hide and hold him. Valerie says, "I heard about the Book-Worm in Library School, but I never thought I'd see him!"
Well I can't leave that alone without saying something, so without further ado I
Top Five Other Things Valerie Learned in Library School (besides about the giant book-eating worm)
5. That to file "Burgess, M.N." before "Burgess, Michael Woobly" is a crime punishable by death.
4. How to preserve books in case of attack by the Terror Termite or other library-based super-villains.
3. There's some kind of mysterious order to the books, and you're not supposed to just put them anywhere on the shelves. It involves those little numbers on the side, but if anyone asks, just start stamping things and look busy.
2. That books contain many WORDS and IDEAS.
1. In case of library emergencies, stand still and wait for Spider-Man to show up. In rare cases where Spider-Man is unavailable, keep screaming, "HELP! THERE ARE BUGS CRAWLING ALL OVER ME! GET THEM OFF!" until something happens.
You know, I'm getting a little tired of Spidey's conveinient appearances in these stories. Could the writers put just a teensy bit more effort into weaving Spidey into the story? Because for the fourth time, he's just randomly hanging out in a web-hammock at the scene of the crime. Apparently the special "gold card" library membership lets you hang hammocks and sleep on top of bookshelves whenever you want.
Doc Ock: Finally my nemesis appears! Spider-Man will make short work of this worm-creature, just as I soon shall make short work of the accursed Spider-Man!
Yeah, we've all heard that one before... So Spidey wakes up from his library hammock, and finds the Book-Worm chomping on some books. And what does Spidey do...?
Doc Ock: Shoot some webs? That's what he always does with me, and then I snap them like dryer lint but then later I forget I can snap them... Hmm... Why do I always forget that...?
No dammit, shooting webs would make too much sense. Spider-Man, Valerie and Easy Reader all grab some of the by-now thousands of books the Book-Worm has chomped a hole through, and throw them at the Book-Worm. Why? Let's be philosophical here for a moment. Does it really matter why? Spider-Man, Valerie and Easy Reader are merely unknowing cogs in an unthinking universe hurtling headlong into death. Let them throw their half-eaten books at the giant green worm/snake if they want, let them be gods of their own existence for a little while. Hey, Existentialism is fun with Spidey Super Stories!
Doc Ock: What the hell was that? This is a Spider-Man story, not a liberal arts college. Can we please just get on with it?
Well, fine then. All the books they throw completely miss the worm, then Spidey decides to web up Book-Worm's mouth, and then Wormy chews a hole through the floor and escapes while Spidey helps Valerie put the already eaten books back on the shelf.
Doc Ock: Ha! But how can Book-Worm chew a hole in the floor with his mouth webbed up? Tell me that!
Look, I just don't know alright. I do the best I can here. Remember that time you were planning to kill everyone in New York by poisoning the newspaper ink?
Doc Ock: Sure. And it would have worked, too, if not for that meddling Spider-Man!
Alright, then you explain to me what that was all about. Or better yet, how about the time you used a giant fan to push Spider-Man into a giant glass fishbowl, and dived in with your scuba gear on so you could "defeat Spider-Man like a real octopus would!"
Doc Ock: I was young! The radiation was affecting my brain!
Yeah, that's what they all say these days...
Well, this one broke just about all the conventions of Spidey Super Story Electric Company villains, and not to its benefit. Letting Book-Worm escape at the end? What's up with that? If Spidey can't catch an eight-foot neon green worm that moves slower than Nathan Lubensky minus the wheelchair, I don't know if I'll ever be able to trust our hero again. And where's the horrible plot and the absurd powers? It's just an enormous green worm with eyelashes and razor-sharp teeth. Dis-a-pointing.
Alright, so Doc Ock only agreed to do review this with me if I let him plug his
latest operation. So take it away, Doc.
Doc Ock: *ahem* Thank You. I need 30 able bodied henchman for a variety of criminal endeavors related to my latest villainous plan. General henchman are needed for:
-Late night warehouse robberies
-Atomic plant break-ins
-Cutting letters out of magazines for ransom demands
We also have the specific openings for:
-Incompetent Flunkies Willing to be Made An Example Of (unmarried preferred, must present proof of life insurance)
-Official Henchman Tailor (no experience necessary)
-Second-in-Commands (must be willing to delay hero while I make my getaway)
-Technicians/Engineers (secret underwater base building experience required)
The plan basically involves building an atomic drill to break into the Westside Museum to steal the "Eye of the Tiger" gem, which is necessary to complete my "Photonic Transmystifier" cannon which will use "Solid Light Particles" to hold every person in Manhattan for ransom. Also, I'm sure I'm going to need some kind of secret underwater base in the East River at some point. *ahem* "Don't just be held hostage and wait for a hero to rescue you, join me and be a self-actualized hostage-taker!" Thank you for your time.
Doc Ock: How was that? My therapist helped me with that last bit, about
Eric: That was a nice touch. If I didn't have a real job, I would be all over this. I have some revolutionary ideas in the way of Henchman Fashions, too. So what'd you think about this story overall? I did invite you to 'review' it, after all.
Doc Ock: I thought it was ludicrous. Spider-Man has *cough* wrongly apprehended me several times, but he can't catch a giant snake/worm? It was amusing to see Spider-Man try and fail, though. You know who would've been useful in this story? Princess Python, that's who. She would've had that worm/snake thing in her power before Spider-Man even got out of his hammock! Ha!
Eric: *gulp* Princess Python? You mean, you know Zelda, I mean, Princess Python?
Doc Ock: Sure... 'Zelda' and I go way back. The Circus used to fence for me when I was starting out, and I later tried to recruit her when I was building my own "Masters of Evil"...
Eric: *snort* I remember that! Didn't you get defeated by your own Evil Doppelgangers from Another Dimension while robbing Avengers Mansion? *chuckle* Ha ha hahaha.. *snort*
Doc Ock: Now you just shut up there! Look, do you want her phone number or not?
Eric: *calms down* Yeah, I want her phone number. Hook me up, Ocky!
Doc Ock: *writing down her number with one of his metal arms* If you ever call me that again, I'll have to kill you.
Eric: I'm sorry, alright. Well, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to help me out. Later.
Doc Ock: Bye. Oh, and by the way, soon, you too will bow to my power, mortal!
Eric: Fine. Wait Ock, use the door this time! *Doc Ock unlatches the window and tries to squeeze his not inconsiderable body out, breaking the frame and the glass.*
Doc Ock: Sorry. Union rules. *manages to wriggle his way outside and leaves*
Eric: Damn it.
Eric's Extremely Short Interview With the Book-Worm:
Eric: So... what are your future criminal goals?
Book-Worm: *slither* *slither* CHOMP! *bites my wrist*
Eric: OW! Dammit, that's just my programmable watch. And though it has 4K memory, IT'S NOT A FRICKIN' BOOK SO LET GO! *kicks Book-Worm in head*
Eric: *wiping worm-snot from his wrist* The things I put up with to get an exclusive...
2 webs. It could've been worse. Spidey could've fought Mega-Mime or something.