Do you like adventure stories like Indiana Jones, or black and white film noir detective yarns? Well, do I have a surprise for you, as Marvel Comics has a book that captures both with Spider-Man Noir #1 out this week. The tale focuses on Peter Parker the detective, Aunt May and Mary Jane fully know who he is, and he even works directly with the police to help stop crimes. He has webs, a cool mask, and most definitely wears a hat. It’s a series that’s so beautiful you’ll want to tip your cap at it, even if you don’t own a cap!
I’ve been a huge fan of Juan Ferreyra’s work since I discovered him on Green Arrow years ago and he continues to impress with this issue. I almost think folks should experience the book once without actually reading the words and just looking at the pages. Double page splashes are his forte and he excels at capturing the energy of the action in these scenes. There is an artistic lack of color used — usually red with the yellow of egg yolk and some brown skin tones here and there — that makes it all the more striking. The use of light is expertly done too, which is really where the trick of good noir lies. Ferreyra gets this character and it’s quite fun, never feeling too dark or brooding even though the subject matter could go that direction.
The story by Stohl sets up a good detective yarn that’ll likely span many deaths and many continents. You certainly get the vibe that Peter is a great detective, but also a great hero. It’s an interesting Elseworlds tale with little differences on top of the big difference of the time frame. There are enough details given to start to spark your imagination and guess at where this mystery could go from here.
I did find the narrative to be overly verbose, especially when Peter was hanging out with Aunt May and Mary Jane. There is a lot of talking and very little moving around in these scenes. The plot seems to stop entirely and you start to wonder when we’ll change scenes rather than think about how interesting their dialogue may be. This is a genre tale and with it comes genre characters, which is unfortunate as they feel more like stereotypes than living characters. I actually found the sister of a dead character introduced late in the issue the most interesting–maybe it’s the spark that she isn’t telling us everything–which is unfortunate. Peter is a hard-hitting gumshoe detective, but sadly not much more is there in this first issue.
I’m here for Juan Ferreyra and the idea of a further fleshed out Spider-Man of this dimension. It does have the bones of a great Indiana Jones caper or the matinée serials that film was based on, but the characters are stale out of the gate. I want a little more from them before really investing in this story.