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Sunday, July 09, 2006

***** Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours by Jim Butcher. Contemporary fantasy/comics tie-in.

Of course this one's getting 5 stars. Jim Butcher wrote it. I admit to being a fangirl, but not without reason.

In this book, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is up against the siblings of Morlun, beings who feed on the life forces of totemistic forces (basically, those with super-powers who have a connection of some sort with an animal). To defeat them will take teamwork, and Spidey tends to be more of a loner.

I'm not all that familiar with Spider-Man canon--the newspaper comic strip and the movies is as far as my familiarity goes--but I didn't have any problem getting into the book. Things that have happened in the past are referred to, but in such a way that a newbie isn't lost, and a long-time fan wouldn't be bored.

The Darkest Hours isn't, of course, nearly as complex or as dark (despite the title) as Jim's work in his own worlds--he's playing in someone else's sandbox, and he didn't make the rules. But he manages to put his own stamp on it anyway.

Spidey is a much lighter character than any of Jim's own, but he's still a good showcase for the author's talents, particularly those for witty dialogue, crisp clear action scenes, intelligent deduction, and honest, undisguised emotion. Peter has the wit of Harry Dresden, but he also has a warm and loving relationship with his wife, and that shines through, without coyness or sly asides. If I had to choose one element that made this book stand out, it would be the relationship between Peter and MJ.

Fortunately, I don't have to choose.

I doubt I'll read more Spider-Man books--unless Jim, or another author I respect writes one, but this was a fun, light read, and well worth the time and money spent.


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