FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN BY TOM TAYLOR, JUANN CABAL AND NOLAN WOODARD
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 is laid back, almost to a fault. However, Tom Taylor still delivers a very enjoyable book from start to finish. I definitely recommend it to Spidey fans, since it’s got some classic Peter Parker moments in it. Juann Cabal’s beautiful art makes up for any slights I may have with the story.
89 %
Laid Back but Enjoyable

Tom Taylor brings readers a new Spidey book with FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1. This book differs from the other Spider-Man books on the stands in that it focuses on Spidey’s —  and Peter’s – relationship with his neighbors. Taylor shows Pete interact with a wide variety of his neighbors. Taylor uses this issue to highlight Peter’s inherent goodness and desire to help anyone and everyone. The story isn’t exactly essential to the overall Spidey mythos, but it’s still a pleasant look at Peter’s everyday life. Juann Cabal lays out some really interesting looking pages too.

Saving Lives and Groceries in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 opens with Spidey leaping from a building and web-slinging to a traffic accident. Just another day in the life of the wisecracking web-slinger. He saves the occupants of a van which ran off the edge of a bridge and fell to the ground. It turns out the driver and his daughter just moved to the city. So, Spidey serves as New York’s own welcoming committee. The driver tries to tip Spidey. However, he advises him to give that money to a group of homeless people who live near his apartment. Soon after, Pete makes his way back to his apartment, where he helps Marnie, an older woman who lives in his apartment building. He brings in her groceries since she doesn’t trust using the elevator and lives a couple flights up.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 page 6. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Marnie tells Pete that she’s worried about another resident, Leilani, who’s been holed up in her apartment for a while. Pete agrees to help and knocks on Leilani’s door. She answers and reveals that she’s been waiting for Peter, since she needs help from a superhero, and she knows that Peter used to take pictures of Spider-Man. Pete agrees to pick up lunch for her so that they can discuss this further, but when he gets back, a group of thugs is in Leilani’s apartment. How does Pete handle this situation? What happens next? Read FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 to find out!

A Light Read in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1

Tom Taylor shies away from big, bombastic superhero battles or big team-ups. Instead, Taylor uses this book to show a different side of Spidey’s life. In FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1, Spidey doesn’t throw a single punch. In fact, the only thing he does is save people from a falling van. Much of this issue revolves around Peter trying to help his neighbors. I quite enjoy seeing a book focus on Peter’s everyday heroics, rather than his taking on Herculean feats to save the city or the world. It’s a different change of pace, especially from Dan Slott’s run, which recently ended, where it seemed nearly every story arc, by the end of his run, was a huge event. Taylor does a really good job emphasizing just how caring and compassionate Peter is. It really shows throughout the book.

However, as much as I like seeing a more laid-back Spidey book, this comic may be a bit too laid back. For much of the issue, there aren’t really any stakes whatsoever. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but this is still a Spider-Man book. I would have liked to see a bit more Spidey action, or at least some more interpersonal drama. The most dramatic part of the issue occurs at the end of the backup story. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this issue, though. I just hope that as the series progresses, it raises the stakes a little bit.

Beautiful Layouts in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1

Much like with his work on X-23, Juann Cabal delivers some truly awe-inspiring page layouts in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1. One of the first parts of this issue is a beautiful double page spread of Spidey swinging through the city while important events from his past reflect off the windows of the buildings he swings by. It’s a very iconic Spidey image, and he really nails it. It sorta reminds me of the infamous cover of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121, the issue where Gwen Stacy dies, but only slightly. It’s not bad to have your work remind someone of the great John Romita.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Another fantastic page, which isn’t quite as flashy, is when Spidey jumps to save the falling car. I love how the first panel slightly angles down, and the other one completely tilts, before leading to a full image of Spidey saving the car. It’s a superb way of showing motion and conveying the fact that the car slowly started to fall from the edge of the bridge. Very clever layout work there by Cabal. He’s a true master of crafting amazing looking pages.

Final Thoughts: FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 is pleasant and not too action-packed, to a small fault. The slow, laid-back tone doesn’t actually make the issue unenjoyable, but I think it could have used some more drama or action. As it is, I still definitely recommend the book, especially for Spidey fans and people who just saw SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and loved it!

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