From Publishers Weekly
That a full-color Spider-Man trading card will be bound into the first edition of this mediocre kick-off volume to the Marvel Comics Novels series clarifies just who is considered the target readership for the new line of books based on popular Marvel superheroes. Unfortunately, teens may be put off by Duane's (Spock's World) soap-operatic take on the characters, while nostalgia-crazed baby boomers are likely to find the pacing slow, at least until late in the story. The plot concerns how Spider-Man matches wits with archenemies Venom and Hobgoblin and uses an unnamed alien creature (who has a fondness for eating radioactive material) to try to keep Hobgoblin from destroying New York. The assorted characters' complex histories, drawn from decades' worth of Spider-Man comics, are recapped in chunks of prose that are as stale as Duane's handling of the acting career of Spider-Man's wife, Mary Jane Parker (whose forays into auditions don't reflect the reality of the New York acting scene), or, for that matter, of the requisite juvenile humor (Mary Jane wrinkling her nose at Spider-Man's sweat-soaked suit and suggesting that he create a "summerweight" one). Even so, with his comic books selling at the rate of 200 million a year Spidey clearly has enough fans to make this flawed but still mildly diverting first book in a promised Spider-Man trilogy a big success. Illustrations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Something is stealing radioactive waste in New York, the homeless are being killed, and the navy has lost a mysterious cargo. Who better to deal with these harrowing happenings than Spider-Man? Well, the Feds and the NYPD, maybe--but Peter Parker (aka, in the appropriate tights, Spider-Man) somehow gets mixed up in it. As Peter worries about the price of film, and his girlfriend MJ auditions for acting jobs, the menaces multiply until Spider-Man, with some unlikely help, succeeds in saving the city (sorry to give that away) despite the usual misconceptions and opposition. Duane has a nice light touch with her comic-book superhero protagonist, managing to invest some intrinsically pretty unbelievable occurrences with a patina of authenticity. Great literature it ain't, but it's fun, which, after all, is what it's supposed to be. Dennis Winters