This is the second is a series of Spider-Man team-up novels that are loosely connected by the over-arching presence of Doctor Doom as the prime antagonist in the background. The first book, teaming Spidey and The Hulk, is reviewed here.
Stark Enterprises has just introduced the Infinity Engine, which Tony Stark promises will be a source of energy unlike anything ever seen before on Earth. But the evil scientists at AIM and Hydra have both set their sights on the machine, and on each other. And Dr. Doom has his eyes on it, as well. When the schematics for the Machine fall into Baron Strucker’s hands, Spider-Man and Iron Man head into outer space to retrieve the invention before it is turned into the most dangerous weapon in the world.
I am a fan of this iteration of Spider-Man. The book was published in 1997, and the book reflects the comic book status quo of that era. Peter is married to Mary Jane, while still pursuing a science degree at Empire State University. The young couple is struggling to make ends meet, between MJ’s occasional modeling jobs, and Peter’s freelance work for J. Jonah Jamieson at the Daily Bugle. Their characterization, both as individuals and as a couple, is very strong.
The other side characters are also presented well. Some of Tony Stark’s side characters appear, such as Happy Hogan and Bethany Cabe. Doctor Doom’s presence is mostly kept hidden from the heroes, but his role as the villain behind the events makes for fun reading for those like me who consider themselves loyal acolytes of the Latverian leader.
As a nod to the heritage of these characters, each chapter is headed by an illustration from Steven Butler that illustrate a scene from the chapter. These fifteen drawings add a sense of fun to the book, a give us a visual clue as to the looks of some of the characters.
Events from the first book are referenced in this novel, but are not necessary for understanding the events of this one. The last few pages of this book definitely set the scene for the third book in the series, Wreckage, which features Spidey and the Fantastic Four. I imagine that Doctor Doom will come out of the shadows in that novel, to face his longtime foes, and I will definitely be tracking down that book.
Source: Purchased via Amazon.