This week, there’s a new Spider-Man series untethered from continuity and leaning into the mystical. Writers B. Earl, Taboo, and artist Juan Ferreyra are joining forces to delve into magic and nightmares in Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Since Taboo and B. Earl delivered their Spirit Rider story, we’ve greatly anticipated what they’ll do with this series, especially Ferreyra’s painterly qualities. Combined, this group stretches the imagination and what can be done on the page visually as Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a feast for the eyes.
Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man opens with Spidey in full nightmare mode with long dagger fingers and burning flame eyes as we move closer in on his eyes. He’s telling us that being positive and chipper comes at a cost when you’re not smiling. Smash cut to a double-page splash of Spider-Man soaring over a city, with every building rendered in high detail, and you have one epic opening.
This first issue is visually impressive, from panel to layout design and everything in between. This Spider-Man design goes hard and better be made into an action figure soon. Ferreyra has been one of my favorite artists since I discovered his work on Green Arrow, and he’s only gotten better, yet the quality has always been impressive. His style is awe-inspiring, with nightmare imagery in this issue that suits the Halloween spirit going on right now.
Those horror visuals are juxtaposed well against Los Angeles daytime scenes, which detail Peter Parker’s mission. The plot is fairly simple as we learn Peter is working on an experiment to destroy sick cells using frequency and water. The story essentially drops Peter into unfamiliar territory while he’s dealing with some nightmares that happen during waking hours, or so it seems. I can’t say the science or nightmares make much sense in this first issue, but it’s a mystery to uncover over the following few issues. There is, however, a mysterious rock that seems to pop up out of nowhere with no explanation. Again, likely there’s some explanation, but at this juncture, it seems to drop into the narrative for plot reasons alone.
This first issue is a bit longer than usual, justifying the $4.99 price tag. I dare casual readers who flip through this not to buy it, as Ferreyra will blow your mind on nearly every page. He also renders Spider-Man in his traditional costume and looks great in those scenes. Fans of his work on Spine-Tingling Spider-Man should note there’s a nice call back to the Marvel Unlimited series.
Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man is the most visually impressive comic you’ll read this week. It also houses a casual-reader-friendly story that drops readers into a Peter Parker adventure that stands alone. Blending science experiments, nightmares, and epic superhero art, Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man is an enlightening experience.
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