Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5
Picking up from last month's bombshell, Peter learns in the early pages that Aunt May has cancer.
Peter flees, looking for anything to clear his mind and help him process the weight of this revelation, and finds what he's looking for in the form of a high speed chase. He tracks down the terrible driver and in his rage, breaks the perp's wrist only to reveal the thief is a 16 year old homeless boy named Miguel.
Miguel stole the car in response to his mother being abused. *pause* That's right. Cancer and domestic violence in the same issue. Spidey aids and abets, driving the stolen car away from the police and takes Miguel to Doctor Strange for treatment because Miguel doesn't have health insurance. *pause* Add the healthcare epidemic in America to the narrative. Strange treats the boy and offers Peter some wise advice and Peter heads off to May's first chemotherapy treatment.
This issue was a punch in the gut followed by a long, warm embrace. Taylor shows immense bravery in tackling not one, not two, but three highly sensitive topics in a single issue. He shows incredible skill in making the issue operate fully in a vacuum– a true stand-alone issue in the era of mega-arcs. This issue perfectly exemplifies what Taylor brings to the table as a writer, but importantly, as a human being. He cares. He cares about the characters. He cares about the socio-political climate. He probably cares about you.
Twice in this issue, Taylor positions Peter to be forced to choose between the correct thing and the right thing. With Miguel, the correct answer would be to stop a car thief, but laws are written in absolutes with no room for context. Then there is the situation with May. When Peter says he has “a lot going on right now”, he isn’t lying. His entire modus operandi is rooted in his power/responsibility formation. As such, the personal takes a backseat to the “greater good” in most instances, a series of dilemmas that have driven his narrative for decades. The correct answer would be to fight crime and make the city a better place. That doesn’t make it the right answer.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5 is a must-buy comic regardless of your feeling on the character.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5: No One Fights Alone
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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