Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, develops superhuman
abilities, when he abuses those powers he is unable to save
his Uncle Ben from being killed. Determined to use his abilities
only for good Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man. But the life
of a superhero is not everything that he imagined, with the
need to make money, and lead a normal life, Peter has to balance
his two personas. Spider-Man is the beloved hero, defender
of his city from bad guys, large and small. Peter scratches
a living taking photographs of his self in action, juggling
his love life with Mary Jane and having to come to terms with
the fact that as Spider-Man he played a role in the death
of the Green Goblin who turned out to be the father of his
best friend Harry. The pressures which pull Peter and Spider-Man
are about to get a lot worse. When he encounters Venom, Peter
and his friends will finally discover that duality can often
lead to destruction...
Spider-Man 3, the novelisation of the film, by Peter David
is out in time for the film. David is a well known figure
in genre books. As well as previously having written, in book
and comic book form, for Spider-Man he is well know
for his Babylon 5 and Star Trek books. Novelisations
are always difficult to review. On the one hand you don't
want to give away too much of the plot, but as the plot is
substantially the same as the film I leave it up to you. Warning
- spoilers ahead.
The first thing to say about the book is that it's a busy
affair with too many characters and themes to explore, leaving
you with a feeling that much of it has had to be skimmed over
rather than having the time to really explore.
story plays havoc with the comics' continuity, especially
with the origin and acquisition of the Venom symbiote. Originally
Peter acquired the suit during the Secret Wars comic
and returned to Earth with him. As well as Venom, both as
the suit and as Eddie Brock, the book contains Sandman and
the second Green Goblin.
Thematically, the book is also overflowing with good ideas,
but maybe too many for one novel. Obviously, with the introduction
of the suit David is able to explore not only the duality
between Peter Parker and Spider-Man, but also the duality
between Parker's normally good nature and the frustrated fury
he feels over his inability to save his uncle's life. We also
get to explore the two sides of Harry Osborne, as he struggles
to reconcile his friendship with Parker, whilst at the same
time blaming Parker's alter ego for the death of his father.
Sandman is also presented as a torn character, on the one
hand he is a loving father, on the other a villain. Only Venom
has a clear agenda and a clear purpose.
The book is also about fatherhood and the relationship between
fathers and their children. From beyond the grave both Peter's
uncle and Harry's father still impact on the choices that
the characters make. The Sandman is mostly driven to acts
of villainy for a misplaced view of his responsibilities as
Peter David is constricted by the original screenplay. These
novels only really allow an author to expand on the action,
letting the audience know a little more about what was going
on under the surface.
I have to admit to not having seen the film yet, which is
no bad thing when reviewing a novelisation. As a book, the
story hangs together very well. Ok, so it may have too many
characters and ideas for one novel, but that does not stop
it being an engaging read. I'm sure that any fan of the film
will find enough new stuff to make it worthwhile. As far as
the film is concerned I'm just hoping that when I get around
to seeing it, that the scene of Parker playing the piano and
break dancing is a product of David's fevered imagination
and not an actual fact.
Good novelisation, well worth an afternoon's read.