Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,

Three Spider-Man reviews

Well as I might have mentioned before, there's a sparsity of Spider-Man fanfic on the net, something we really should do something about....

But when I found out that there's actually Spidey novels sold on Amazon, I couldn't help instantly ordering some of them.

The first one was Webslinger', this one's a book filled with essays. It was written by proffessional writers aka fans, unauthorized and ranged from essays about the comic Spidey and the movie version. Covering a range of topics from J. Jonah Jameson's hate of old Spidey, Spider-Man's guilt driven urge to destroy any success he might have in his normal life, the shame portrayed by movieverse Spidey up to Peter's potential father figures both for good and bad... and several others.

I really liked this book. Even the essays I didn't agree with were interesting and made you think. They weren't biased and when they were the author freely admitted so. I even liked the intro's for every essay as written by Gerry Conway.

It's odd, maybe it's because there aren't 'sides' as such in Spidey fandom, but unlike a certain Buffy essay book that I read a while back, this didn't leave me with a bad taste in my mouth of feeling that these people just don't get it and were trying to spout their own opinions as solid fact.

I would really reccommend this book to any Spider-Man fan, or basically to anyone in general who would like to know what Spidey's all about. It's well written, well edited and a real asset to any library.

The other two were paperback novels.

The first of those that I read was 'Down these mean streets' by Keith R.A Decandido.
Let me start this off by saying that I much prefer his Spider-Man to the Buffy novels I've read that he's written. Maybe it's because for once, he likes the same characters that I do, and in the same way*g*

This book has many great character moments and one of my fave things in Spidey stories, seeing him deal with cops that won't instantly shoot at him the second they spot him. In fact, after reading it I got several ideas of wanting to use those same cops Decandido used, for stories with the more recent unmasked Spidey. In other words, I really liked the original characters.

But this book didn't just excell in making me care about the new faces, he also writes a pretty good Mary Jane Watson Parker, a Peter that didn't feel one bit off and that was both heroic, touching, funny and capable of making mistakes. That and May Parker was her loveable self.

I really liked the use of Peter as a highschool teacher and how this entered in the story as an integral part of the plot, the writer actually takes advantage of Peter's new surroundings to tell a story that couldn't have been written half as well with freelance photographer Peter Parker.

Fave moments include one of the cops having a total crush on Spider-Man, another cop giving an exact explanation of why he can't stand Spider-Man and even though we know he's wrong, from his pov it's entirely understandable that a police man who has to stand accountable for his every action, who has to give his name and adress for every arrest he makes, can't respect someone who wears a mask. Or as he puts it: "you don't stand behind what you do, then what you do ain't worth shit".
Though the one cop moment I loved the most was one of the sergeants explaining why he's willing to work with Spidey and it has all to do with Jean DeWolff. I just love that kind of nods to continuity, to me it really strenghtens a story, when it has a past to fall back on.

The second book though was my favorite of the two.

This really surprised me, since I'm not that much of a Black Cat fan. And the cover summary didn't sound too promising, talking about MJ's jealousy of Felicia and stuff. And on top of that it dealt with bad guys connected to Morlun...

Yep, I had the same reaction and kept this book till last since I didn't expect all too much of it. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong and utterly so.

It's called 'The darkest Hours' and was written by Jim Butcher.

I think what made it succeed is that it's a novel. Why? Because quite simply we got to see into Peter's head. One of the reasons why Morlun sucked in the comics is because quite simply, we don't entirely get why this guy scares Peter so much, or what's so terrifying about him. In fact, one of my major issues with 'The Other' is that they allowed Spider-Man to be killed by this new historyless villain who honestly didn't leave all that good an impression the first time around.

Yet here, when we get three beings of the same race as Morlun come after Spidey, that terror becomes much clearer. And through it we see the strenght of Peter Parker, both in regards to his heart, his courage, his kindness and his ability to bring out the best in others.

I love how Peter refuses to give up living his life, he might die any moment, and these horrifyingly scary monstrous beings are after him, but that doesn't mean he's going to hide. And it doesn't mean he'll let others die for his sake.

From Peter's refusal to abandon an enemy like the Rhino to Mary Jane's courage and conviction to stand by her husband, to Felicia's love and loyalty for Peter...

It's also rare to see a guy like the Rhino be treated so ... human, from an explanation as to why Rhino keeps wearing the stupid suit and hat, to a comparison between the Rhino and Peter and Peter cringing a few times when he realizes how much alike the two of them really are... Allowing this silly villain a dignity and fullness of character that he's rarely allowed in the comics themselves.

And even though at first sight the school scenes might seem pushed in, just for the sake of placing the story in a specific point of time in canon, they actually work, because they help reinforce the idea that Peter refuses to give up his every day life just because some dangerous monsters are after him.

This book took these concepts that had me cringing at reading the cover and did them right. Worth every cent...

Tags: review, spider-man

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