In celebration of everyone’s favorite web-head, July is Spectacular Spider-Month at AiPT! We have a series of amazing articles in store for the month. Movies, television, gaming, and of course comics will all be covered with great responsibility as we honor one of comics’ greatest heroes.
The trouble with Spider-Man is if you don’t get his quipping jokes just right you’ve done him wrong. Then again, if you do too many jokes he’s too comical and not sardonic enough. It’s a tricky wire to walk and Tom Taylor does it splendidly. If you like a quipping Spider-Man who is clearly hiding his fear and stress behind jokes read Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, which is out in trade paperback today.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Spider-Man is the worst neighbor EVER! There are always crazy villains and property damage and drama and…and he CATCHES the villains. And he tries to fix the damage and he helps carry your groceries and actually that property damage keeps the rents down. You know what? Spider-Man is the best neighbor ever and this book will give you a closer look at Spider-Man’s (and Peter Parker’s) neighborhood than any book ever. Also, it wouldn’t be a Spider-Man adventure without a threat that could destroy not only Spider-Man, but all his neighbors. Superstar writer TOM TAYLOR (X-MEN RED, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, Injustice) and rising art star JUANN CABAL (ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, X-23) give you the most local Spider-Man ever!
Why does this matter?
Collected here are the first six issues which feature a story arc, an emotional issue about loss, and an emotional issue about a little boy with a dream. This is beautiful Spider-Man storytelling.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This collection opens with a four-issue arc tying Peter to his neighborhood and direct neighbor who may have secret revealed later on. As the story pushes forward Taylor reveals a major revelation about a New York secret, has Spidey drag a war to the streets, and even adds new colorful characters to be used later. All in all, this first arc does more than most in its first four issues. Following that is a great one-shot of Peter trying to let off some steam and letting his frustration get the better of him and the final issue involves Spider-Bite. That latter issue should win an Eisner. By the end, you’re going to reminisce on how you laughed, cried (I mean that), and enjoyed a whirlwind of an adventure or three. It’s good stuff.
Taylor nails Spider-Man’s voice so hard I can’t help but wish he wrote every Spider-Man comic. And I mean no disrespect to other Spidey writers. He’s funny, quick-witted, and talks way too much. This is a Spider-Man I love because you can sense his nervousness in his silly jokes and quips. He’s just annoying enough to be thankful you aren’t hanging with him all the time but funny enough to want to listen in. It’s great.
The final Spider-Bite issue comes at you with a story that’s believable, fun, and exciting. It hits all the Spidey marks. Then it hits you with a truth that is a lot to bear. It really will make you feel emotional and it reminds you that Spider-Man faces so many supervillains, but there are villains even stronger that Spider-Man can’t topple. It’s a sweet sentiment, and the entire adventure ends on a positive note, albeit a sad one. This is a one-shot story that’s timeless and will be talked about for some time. I’m not spoiling anything for a reason — read it and find out why this will stay with you.
The art is shared between Juann Cabal who draws five issues, Yildiray Cinar who draws one, and Marcelo Ferreira who draws a backup in the first issue. Juann’s style is super clean and perfect for a quippy Spider-Man. The detailed art and thin line put you at ease. The layouts can get crazy creative too like a double page that features lots of shooting and Spider-Man dodging, saving cats, and doing more. It’s beautifully done, action-packed, and high intensity making the “Dodge the bullet” captions even funnier. Cinar’s art pops in for Spider-Man’s letting-off-steam issue and it suits the story as it’s darker and edgier.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I wasn’t a huge fan of the backup which seems tacked on to set up a B-plot. It also serves to remind us that Mary Jane is in Peter’s life who is absent through much of the collection.
Is it good?
Between the quips and bright art, this is the hopeful and good buzz Spider-Man we all grew up with. It’s a joy to read and I can’t wait for more.