FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5 by Tom Taylor is not my favorite issue in the series. But it isn’t my least favorite either. Until recently, Taylor’s done a great job of keeping a fast pace while introducing readers to new lore, and Peter to new responsibilities. After four, exciting issues about a secret, literally underground society, Tom Taylor slows the pacing down in this one to focus on Peter’s reaction to what should be devastating news.

Though this week’s issue isn’t revolutionary, or life-changing, it still has a few good moments. What would’ve been a mostly forgettable issue is greatly improved by Yildiray Cinar’s art. The new artist does a great job of making your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man look awesome during the issue’s one, low-stakes, action sequence.

Grand Thwip Auto

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5 begins with Aunt May telling Peter about her cancer diagnosis. Peter proceeds to run away from his problems as Spider-Man. Fittingly, he ends up running into a homeless criminal named Miguel, who’s fleeing a troubled life at…home? (That doesn’t make sense.) It’s implied that Miguel’s mom’s boyfriend is abusive.

Together, Spider-Man and Miguel escape from the police and seek shelter in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Spider-Man accidentally broke Miguel’s wrist before realizing that he was a relatable character, so he asks Doctor Strange to remedy the situation. Ultimately, Spidey and Miguel get away with grand theft auto scot-free. The issue ends on a sweet note, as Peter arrives at the hospital in time to support his aunt.

Taylor-Made Dilemma

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Peter learning that Aunt May is sick for the 90-billionth time was just about as heart-wrenching as it could’ve been: Not at all. But the “running” theme kept me invested, and so did a few clever comedic beats. Nonetheless, a few specific writing choices detracted from my overall reading experience.

The first occurred near the beginning of the issue. During a high-speed pursuit, Peter chooses to calmly stand on the hood of a stolen vehicle to practice his stand-up routine rather than efficiently quipping while stopping the criminal. Call it a nitpick, but I expect more from the veteran Spider-Man that Taylor’s expertly written in his past FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN issues.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The second bit of jarring writing takes place about midway through the issue. Upon learning about the car thief’s personal life, Peter decides to hijack the vehicle, and help him steal it, which was odd. He ends up webbing it to the rooftops, which was admittedly cool. But couldn’t he have just done that from the start instead of pausing to make a joke, and becoming Miguel’s accomplice?

Lastly, despite Doctor Strange’s sage advice and foreshadowing about there being things that he can’t fix, and things that can’t be stopped, I don’t feel threatened by May’s supposedly impending demise. Heck, neither does Peter (referencing the lack of spider-sense in the issue’s opening pages). Finding ways to keep long-time readers like me invested in May’s health and wellbeing is probably going to be the biggest obstacle that Taylor will need to overcome in future issues. After all, May’s been sick many times in the past — dead even — but she’s still kicking.

Yildiray Delivers

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Cinar’s art in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5 is excellent. His page layouts are fun and creative, and his panel-work is very effective. He makes good use of particle effects and gutters. Sometimes characters exist in “gutter-land,” and white backgrounds replace regular panels for emphasis. It also helps that Cinar is great at drawing Spider-Man. I could almost feel Cinar’s enthusiasm for his work leaping off the pages.

Throughout the pursuit, panels float above each other to capture the adrenaline of the action. Splatter-style inks assist in selling the effect of a fast-moving dash around the New York City streets. At one point, during the chase sequence, Spider-Man lands on top of the fugitive’s car, and it looks awesome. My favorite panel is a simple reaction frame of Spider-Man when he recognizes Miguel.

Friendly, Skippable, Fun

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Nothing new is revealed in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5. Aunt May and the rest of New York end the issue the same way they began. As a result, I find this comic to be a skippable purchase.

Furthermore, trite plot points such as Peter reacting to Aunt May having a crippling disease hold back the issue. Perhaps, if I didn’t already know about May’s condition, this issue would have hit me harder in the feels. However, despite the lack of consequences, or new information, it’s still an enjoyable enough read.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5 by Tom Taylor, Yildiray Cinar, Nolan Woodard, Travis Lanham, Andrew C. Robinson, and Nick Lowe
Nothing truly substantial happens in FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #5, making it a skippable purchase. However, despite the lack of consequences, or new information, it’s still an enjoyable enough read.
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Skippable Fun
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One Comment

  1. Michael Sacal

    Michael Sacal

    April 10, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Jameson was right all along, Spider-Man is a menace.


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