Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8
Following the robbery and subsequent explosion at Aunt May's newly opened shelter, F.E.A.S.T., Spidey is on the trail of the supposedly reformed Hobie Brown, aka The Prowler.
Upon finally catching up with Hobie, however, Spider-Man hears a tale of woe and a friend in grief, a story of corporate greed and lives lost, that changes his mission drastically.
Enlisting his neighbor Marnie, the trio infiltrate Fairgray Pay, a corrupt crowdsourcing company, and encounter the man in charge-- Mr. Minth.
Taylor’s typical sense of social justice and relevancy has been driving this series thus far and this issue may be the first true misstep along the way. In the revelation of Mr. Minth, a true supervillain sitting atop the corruption at Fairgray Pay– powers and all– I feel like Taylor missed an opportunity to spotlight real-life corporate corruption in favor of a “spandex and capes” version of it. The reason characters like the Kingpin and Lex Luthor thrive over decades is that they are relevant to our world in ways that many other villains over the years were not. In many ways, Mr. Minth is now primed to become a throwaway villain-of-the-week rather than a lasting problem for Taylor and future writers because it is so over-the-top. It is a minor gripe but one I felt strongly about given Taylor’s stellar track record thus far. Because of the emphasis placed on the “Neighborhood” in this book’s title, a less traditional villain could have had a lot of staying power as we explore gentrification and classism.
Still, the issue is well structured and paced exceptionally well, and prominently features Taylor’s strength of voice. There is also the question/fear of how this will tie back to the notion of crowd sourcing for May’s medical care as raised by MJ in the last issue. Lashley continues to do a commendable job as the artist for this arc, although I do find his background work lacking and his rougher sketch style less amenable to the type of storytelling happening here. This book feels like it demands either an extremely clean style or a very rough, Marvel Knights type style to function at peak and Lashley seems to fall somewhere in the middle of those two. His layout work continues to be outstanding, though, as evidenced below.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 continues to be a breath of fresh air as Taylor tackles corporate greed in his ever-growing list of problems facing the world today.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8: How Did the Cat Get So Fat?
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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