Do you know why Spider-Man is more popular amongst the younger generation more than any other superhero? Because they can relate to him the most and Spider-Man: Storybook Collection is proof of that relationship where Spider-Man has to do stuff that we normally do in our lives but differently.

This ‘webtastic’ collection features eleven action-packed adventures featuring the friendly neighbourhood superhero, who joins hands with his friends to save the day, in Spidey style. The most important aspect of the book is that it centres around both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and in the first adventure, he doesn’t need to change his costume, for a change. That’s The Last Day of Summer for you in which Peter Parker spends the last day of his vacation with his friends and has the same worries as you, such as homework, classes and busy days ahead, among other things.

While Peter Parker controls himself in the first adventure, in nine out of the succeeding ten stories, it is Spider-Man who takes centre stage. In Power Trip, he foils Electro’s ingenious attempt to get rich; in Hulk Disposal, Spidey and Hulk bring down a gang handling nuclear waste; in Spider-Man and Nova, the two Superheroes save the day while competing against each other whereas in Sand Trap, Peter Parker doesn’t change into Spider-Man but guides youngsters to capture Sandman.

My favourite adventure in this book is the one featuring a Spider-Kid and even though he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider or had special powers like the real Spider-Man, he dared to stand up against Dr Octopus just because he felt that he needed to stand up to a bully like him.

There is one story featuring Venom, another where Spider-Man joins hands with Rocket Raccoon and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, and a separate one where Ant-Man shrinks Spider-Man to show him how he does things in his tiny world. In the final two adventures in the book, Spider-Man has to battle fans wearing Spider-Man masks controlled by Doctor Octopus during Spider-Man Appreciation Day while Spidey battles Mysterio in a Museum where the sinister villain brings all statutes to life.

Each adventure has illustrations featuring the action sequences adding colour to an already all-colour book. The language is simple and the dialogues are humorous just like Spider-Man films, animated series, and comics. Besides the humour, there is also a lesson to be learned in every story. If in one story Peter Parker tells you that fighting doesn’t always solve all problems, in another Spider-Man tells you that in order to save the world, all you have to do is to use your mind. Reading and sharing it with your friends will make them understand a lot of things in life, including standing up against bullies, doing the right thing, and above all, saving the day!

Published in Dawn, Young World, Aug 26th, 2023

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