As a film major studying film noir, I was very interested to see what Margaret Stohl and Juan Ferreyra had in store for readers inSpider-Man Noir. So far, the series, which features one of the more interesting alternate Spider-Man characters living in an older and slightly steampunk timeline, has been an exciting, Indiana Jones-style adventure. This week, Electro takes center stage.
But really, what takes center stage is Ferreyra’s art, which is stupendous. He will excite you with phenomenal double-page layouts that utilize the small amounts of light and color in a book that’s mostly black and white to an expert degree. You’ll get cool side profile cutouts of a building and see the characters walk from the top left of the page to right, down three floors, and end up on the bottom right of the double-page splash.
These cutout slices are used elsewhere too, like in a thrilling airplane scene to help show the position of each character in the plane as well as some nifty details of the engine. Ferreyra is very good at drawing your eye from left to right and keeping the line of sight interesting. There are creative splurges throughout I could write about for thousands of words, but just know that when you open a Ferreyra comic book, you’re going to get cool new visual ideas.
The Electro design is a cool one that works within the confines of the story. The use of a subdued red helps convey the energy in his stick and even though it looks like he might have a proton pack on his back, it still looks cool. It’s sort of clunky how this fight ends, unfortunately, as he just sort of Looney Tuneses his way through the roof, but it’s an exciting opening.
This issue might feel the most Indiana Jone-like of the first few issues, propelling the characters through action, taking various vehicles to travel the world, and learn new details about what is really going on through insiders and secret hideaways. It even ends in Istanbul with attackers taking on our heroes in the moonlight. The book screams adventure from cover to cover.
Unfortunately, the book loses a lot of its energy close to the end, when a certain redhead shows up. Maybe it’s because things need to slow down for exposition — a common issue in this series — forcing the characters to literally sit and talk over story details. Maybe it’s how Spider-Man is depicted that makes it lose its energy — he’s more of a bystander than actively interested, and it seems more like a pit stop for dumping information on the reader than info that interests the characters.
I want to love Spider-Man Noir #3, but it doesn’t pull off all that it’s trying to do. However, the adventure is strong, and the visuals are stunning, which is enough to make it a recommended read. If you’re interested in heroes trudging across the globe to save the world under the guise of Spider-Man, read this book.