Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man came onto the scene like a freight train with no brakes, dazzling with its hard and bold new adventure of Peter Parker. B. Earl and Taboo behind Juan Ferreyra’s lines and colors meant incredible layout design, mind-bending visual esthetic, and a comic that took much longer to read because you couldn’t tear yourself away. Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2 is out today and follows suit bringing impeccable visual design to a story that gets far more complex.
The second issue opens with a full-page story of a myth. Told from a grandparent to a child, we learn about the coyote, the rock, and the spider. You will like this page if you’re a sucker for mythical tales packed with a deeper meaning. Told via panels broken up by a hairy, spindly spider, the page helps convey that Peter’s facing off against something that may be ancient and deeply rooted in culture.
This opening page smash-cuts to Spider-Man fighting the Demon Bear, but only he can see it. In his nightmare mode–flaming eyes, long spiky fingers–Spider-Man is fighting the Demon Bear after seemingly calling to it using some high-tech science. These opening scenes stand out the issue, with an incredible layout that forces you to read the comic in a spiral. It’s a neat way to create a mesmerizing effect. It also helps hold your interest while the Demon Bear delivers exposition to Spider-Man. The rules of the game are imparted, and the trap is set.
Much of the rest of the issue is focused on Spider-Man trying to figure out if what he saw was real and then figuring out the next steps. It’s a trippy second half of the story, with Spider-Man seeing things in his coffee and said coffee exploding. Only it isn’t. This would help explain what he saw in the first issue, and it also helps justify why his costume is so rad and outrageous. It’s not real, at least not to the perceived eye.
The spiritual aspect of the story is compelling, especially for Spider-Man, who typically fights terrible guys in silly costumes. Meanwhile, there’s a conscious effort to connect the spiritual realm to the scientific aspects of Spider-Man. He’s a man of rational thought and wants to explain everything, but when he wakes up not knowing what happened the night before, that’s hard to piece together.
The story itself continues to be a mystery, possibly on purpose, with little to go on. The mysterious rock that popped up out of thin air in the last issue does so again, for instance, and the reader needs to suspend possibly too much disbelief to go with the story’s flow. The problem may lie in the story having mysteries galore and not giving the reader enough to begin to piece things together.
Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2 is a gorgeous adventure worth exploring. Mixing science and myth while putting Spidey through a spiritual journey is intriguing enough, but when done in such an artistic way, it’s hard to put down.
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