Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Vol. 1 – July Graphic Novel of the Month

With Spider-Man: Far From Home now in cinemas, it is a perfect time to check out one of the best Spider-Man comics hitting the shelves. With his most recent cinematic outings featuring him battling intergalactic threats such as Thanos, it is easy for the casual fan to forget that Peter Parker at his core is a “Friendly Neighborhood” Spider-Man who mainly focuses on helping the everyday people on the streets of New York. This new volume of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man aims to remind readers of that as Spidey does what he does best.

Within the first issue, Tom Taylor does a terrific job of establishing the direction of this series. As one of the more grounded heroes of the Marvel Universe, it makes total sense for Spider-Man to be mainly focusing on crime and citizens in distress near where his apartment is located.  To sharpen that focus to an even greater degree, there aren’t any clashes with Spider-Man’s well-known supervillains so that all the attention can be on the incidents that impact the average citizen. This makes for plenty of great moments with Spider-Man interacting with the general public, including a rather amusing reaction to his costume from a child he saves and forming a new connection with a police detective – which gives Taylor a chance to display his great handle on Spidey’s character/witty banter.

We also get some more focus on Peter’s home life as he and Randy Robertson continue to struggle with their new roommate Fred Myers (AKA – D-list super villain Boomerang) and a mysterious old lady living across from him who turns out to be a superhero too. As mentioned, previously Taylor has a great grasp on all the supporting cast, particularly Mary Jane and Johnny Storm. But it’s Aunt May where he truly shines as he broaches a delicate subject about her health that many readers are bound to relate to. Peter’s reaction and subsequent interactions with May are some of the best writing of the characters in recent memory, whilst also emphasising Spider-Man’s role as the everyman superhero with all too human problems.

The art in the opening volume is top notch with Juann Cabal excelling at maintaining the balance between superheroics and the more grounded approach the comic takes to Spider-Man’s life. Yildiray Cinar illustrates the last chapter which focuses on Peter and Aunt May following Peter finding out about her health problems with his work elevating Taylor’s already touching storytelling. Special mention also has to be given to Andrew Robinson’s stunning covers that really help the series standout on the shelves.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a brilliant sister title to Nick Spencer’s current work on Amazing Spider-Man and Tom Taylor is certain to leave a memorable entry in the series history. For anyone who wants to understand what make Spider-Man great, this is the series to pick up.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Vol. 1: Secrets and Rumors by Tom Taylor, Juann Cabal & Yildiray Cinar is out 23 July from Marvel ( 9781302916909, p/b, £14.99)

Leave a Reply