Spider-Man Noir is one of the best alternate reality Spider-Man characters out there. It has to do with the costume, of course — every Spidey costume is important — but also the time period the character lives in. This is a completely different character because he lives in the first half of the 20th century when Nazis were a thing and grand secrets were yet to be revealed to the world. It makes the Spider-Man multiverse all the more interesting when you realize some of the Great Pyramids were still an oddity to be uncovered during the timeline. Enter the final issue of the series, where the final showdown takes place in an ancient temple. Now that’s sweet.
This series has had its ups and downs, leaning into an Indiana Jones feel that works, but also reading quite slowly in a meandering sort of way. This finale works in part because Juan E. Ferreyra continues to dazzle with his painted visuals that are so darn unique, but also because everything must come to a head here. There are no cliffhangers or side quests like dangerous dogfights, but a conclusion to everything that came before it.
Series writer Margaret Stohl packs a lot into this issue and that starts with how many villains show up. Keeping things spoiler-free, the book feels momentous because Spider-Man must out-duel his biggest foes and use every power he’s got. This also extends to the great web of the Spider-Man multiverse, further tying this to in-continuity elements. That adds a bit of weight to the book so it’s not just an Elseworlds tale.
This book also ties directly with Spider-Man Noir’s identity and origin quite well. There are heartfelt moments that feel like they matter because of the supervillain’s plans. They could have been plopped in, but here, there’s a purpose to them.
As always, Ferreyra does well with the action, stretching it where needed in panels and double-page layouts. Ferreyra is one of the best artists when it comes to using an entire panel to capture your interest, from the top of the page to the bottom, or from left to right. It makes the book more dynamic when it’s in your hands. There is a lot more color used in this issue (mostly red), which enhances the chaotic and energetic action finale. The final page is a poster-worthy full-page splash every Spider-Man fan should see even if they don’t expect to buy this one.
This book has suffered a bit with overly done exposition moments which bring the book to a halt. There’s a doozy near the end and a very dialogue-heavy scene midway through slows things down, too. Dialogue works well throughout, but in these scenes, some pairing back could have been done to keep things moving and to allow the art to do more of the work.
Spider-Man Noir #5 ends on an action-packed high note. Spider-Man must fight for his life in more ways than one, tying things to his identity, his origins, and his greatest villains. This is a series that has had steep ups and downs, but as far as finales go, it’s an entertaining end.
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