Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
A review by Greg Brothers
I know what you are thinking… Another Spider-Man book? Well, the good news is with the end of Peter Parker Spider-Man that leaves the titles directly associated with Peter Parker back to three books. So what makes Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man stand out? And is it worth your hard-earned dollars?
For starters, let’s talk about the concept behind the book. If you have been following Amazing Spider-Man during either Slott or Spencer runs then you know that Peter has been dealing with some pretty major events. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is going to ignore major world events and focus on what is going on in Peters neighborhood. We are going to see his roommates, neighbors, his relationship with MJ, and hopefully a focus on Aunt May. Sure, villains and other riff-raff will show up, but it will all be set on a smaller level than any of the other books that the wall-crawler may appear in.
Taylor does an excellent job driving that point home in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Men #1. The first few pages are dedicated to Spider-Man helping out with a traffic accident on the bridge. After a brief inner monologue as if Tony Stark accepts tips for his heroic actions, we get to meet some of the other residents in Peter’s apartment complex and the surrounding area before a new mystery invades Peter’s life. The backup story serves as a reminder that even a hero such as Spider-Man cannot solve all the problems that people may run into. And honestly, the story will serve as a real punch in the gut as much for readers as it will for Peter.
It is Taylors ability to create an environment and characters that draws the reader in. This is not the book where you are going to see Thanos once again trying to take over the Universe. Instead, we meet people who feel and act like the ones you would run into your own neighborhood. Taylor is able to give each of them their own voice and their own reason why they are part of Peter’s life. Taylor is able to land Peter’s voice in a way that many writers miss. There is the right amount of humor, sarcasm, and self-depreciation that Peter comes off as charming and likable even while underestimating the social life of the elderly woman down the hall.
Cabal and Taylor worked together recently on All-New Wolverine, and you can tell that the two there developed a trust in each other. He is able to create emotion within his characters without having to put them in situations that are dire or death-defying. In his previous works, Cabal has shown that he has the ability to move from action to the more mundane panel with ease while making each pleasing to the reader. We see that again here in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
While the first issue is low on action, it is his designs of the neighborhood and Peters home that reminds you that this is the Spider-Man we all love on a much smaller scale. Woodard’s colors are bright and pop off the page. Once again, the choices here remind readers that this is not going to be a dark story. Instead, Spider-Man is going to be presented in a positive light, and the coloring backs that up.
Verdict: Buy It!
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is not going to be for everyone. However, if you are a fan of the Spider-Man of old where the focus is on smaller criminals and the supporting cast as it is Spider-Man, then this is the book for you. Taylor is able to take that humor and character building that we saw in All-New Wolverine and go even further with it. Even though many of these characters are ones that we have never seen before, you want to get to know them even more after the first issue. Cabel and Woodard’s art and coloring create an environment that welcomes you into the story.