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Spider-man Noir

July 7, 2009

I deliberately skipped yesterday’s post so I could spend some time with the new trade I picked up. Spider-man Noir.

I talked about the Marvel Noir series back in October. I honestly hadn’t seen anything from this series since I first mentioned it until I stumbled across the Spider-man one at Borders yesterday. The fact that I found it at Borders and not my local comic shop somewhat pissed me off. The place I go to at the moment is terrible. Up in Portland there are Things From Another Planet and they have a pretty awesome selection, maybe I’ll check it out if I get a chance to go up there this summer.

Anyway, lets get into the review, shall we?

Background: This Spider-man is written by David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky from across the ocean. Hine started out in the 1980s on indie titels like 2000AD. I guess that’s indie… Recently he’s begun working for Marvel (recently being in the last five years or so). He wrote the District X series and worked on a lot of X-men series during and before the Civil War event.  Apparently, Hine writes Image’s Spawn as well.

Sapolsky founded the French comic book periodical Comic Box, which he edits.

The artist is Italian Carmine Di Giandomenico who started with Marvel in the Amazing Fantasy, What if? stories and Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock.

The Comic: Noir is based in 1933, four years after the Stock Market crash of 1929. It takes place in a corrupt and falling apart New York City.

The story doesn’t follow Peter Parker in the beginning. Instead, it focuses on a photographer, Ben Urich, who saves Parker from some of the Goblin’s thugs. May Parker is a spokesperson for poor people and uses her soapbox to rail against the corrupt city government, the plight of the poor, and to promote socialism.

Urich takes Parker under his wing. In this story the spider that bites Peter Parker is a mystical one from the “Far East” or Africa, I couldn’t decide which. It gives him the powers and he eventually uses them to fight the Goblin.

Hine and Sapolsky do a great with the story. It feels suitably noirish and still retains the Spider-man origin story that you want from it. It’s definitely a more gruesome and violent Spider-man than any that I’ve read in recent memories. This is Peter Parker who is angry, desperate, violent, and well, noir.

Changes to characters like Aunt May and Jonah Jameson make them fit into the plot easily and really flesh out the characters. Jameson is a newspaper man who tries to showcase the plight of the poor and getting poorer. It’s a great change to the normally angry and boring Jameson. Aunt May as the outspoken soapboxer is a quality way to present her outside of her usual quiet, nice persona. I really enjoyed what they did to the various characters for this series.

Spider-man’s look is awesome. In fact, the art as a whole in this book is pretty good. It feels appropriately noir and really defines the landscape and characters. The all-black look that Spider-man takes on feels right and I had no complaints with the way his costume was designed.

My Recommendation: As you can see I’m glowing over this series. I really enjoyed the trade I picked up. The art was pleasing even if some of the characters were a little liberal in their appearance. The story was well done and added new dimensions to several characters, I thought.

It’s worth the 20 dollar price tag. Of course, I bought mine in hardcover (mostly because I couldn’t find a paperback version). If you do find the paperback I’m sure it’ll only be 14 or so dollars. It’s worth it. Pick it up if you like Noir or Spider-man. Pick it up if you like good art and a good story.


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