Tie-in Fiction Friday: Spider-Man Emerald Mystery

Do you remember that we were doing this, Squiders? Because I checked, and the first and only time I’d done it before was in January…of 2015. So much for it being a regular sort of thing! But here we are again.

Bit of backstory as to how this title came to be in my possession. You guys know I’m not that big of a superhero person, and Spider-Man is not one of my favorites. He is, however, the larger, mobile one’s favorite (probably because he was the first superhero the larger, mobile one ever really saw). He’s been into Spider-Man since before he could talk. He’s got a ton of Spider-Man clothes and shoes, we’ve watched the really terrible ’60s animated series, there’s various Spider-Man toys everywhere…

Anyway. When he was still fairly small, we were at our local coffee shop/gameporium, which also happens to have a community bookshelf, where you can bring a book and take a different one home with you. There was a Spider-Man book, which I dutifully showed to him. He, being about 2, showed great excitement, and then…ripped the cover off.

Toddlers are dangerous for books.

Anyway, I felt like we had to take it since he’d defaced it. I taped the cover back on and it’s sat on our bookshelf for a few years. And since I feel like I have to read all books in my possession before they leave my possession, here we are.

Now, Dean Wesley Smith is a familiar name–I’ve definitely read some of his Star Trek books, though it’s been a while.

Emerald Mystery was a short, easy read. The book’s got 200 pages in it, but quite a few of those are blank or have illustrations on them in between chapters. It’s told first person from Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s point of view.

When I introduced the concept of Tie-in Fiction Friday, I wondered if one had to be familiar with the franchise in order to enjoy the books, or if you’d be lost. This book reinforces that, to some extent. I mean, I know the Spider-Man basics, from poor Uncle Ben to Mary Jane to radioactive spiders to the fact that all the Marvel superheroes exist in the same universe (important, since Spidey has to make a call to the X-Men at some point). But I still felt like I was missing some things. I wasn’t familiar with some of the villains or events that were referenced at times. It didn’t make the book unreadable or confusing, but it did make me feel like I wasn’t the intended audience, which is probably not something you want to do when writing a book.

Interestingly, there’s a chronology of Marvel superhero books in the back, and there’s quite a few authors I recognize there, such as Peter David and Diane Duane.

Peter is Peter. Not a lot of characterization there, but I suppose that’s not really important. The most interesting character in the book is Barb Lightner, a PI helping Spider-Man with the case. It’s not a particularly complex plot, about on the level you’d find in an hour-long television episode.

Would I recommend this book? Not sure. Having never read another Spider-Man or other superhero tie-in, I have no idea how this ranks in terms of quality. It’s not an amazing book, but if you’re looking for a quick read that doesn’t require a lot of thinking, this will do.

Read any Spider-Man books, Squiders? What’s your favorite tie-in property?

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