Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pulp-Powered Comics: Spider-Man Noir

While X-Men Noir told a crime tale featuring various unpowered X-characters filling in the roles, Spider-Man Noir clearly shows that Marvel doesn’t know what the word Noir means. Despite the cool black and white cover, this isn’t Noir. It is pure unadulterated pulp.

Peter Parker is a kid with a union rabble rousing aunt and a dead uncle. He lives in a crime ridden New York, where everything and everyone is controlled by the crime boss Norman Osborn, a.k.a. The Goblin. When Pete meets Ben Urich, the reporter takes him under his wing, and the tale really gets going.

Because when Peter learns that the corruption the city faces pervades the police, the newspapers, and even city hall, he begins to understand that only a rogue can stop the Goblin and his freak show minions. Granted a new agility and the ability to cast webs by some kind of spider deity, Peter becomes the black-clad vigilante known as the Spider-Man.

While bad things often happen to good people over the course of our tale, Spider-Man remains a beacon of hope for the city, even as he questions whether to become a killer or not. He quickly puts a damper on the Goblin’s criminal enterprises... which quickly leads to a battle between Spider-Man, the Goblin, and the Goblin’s henchmen like Kraven and the Vulture.

The book is a lot of fun while remaining a great tale. I am unfamiliar with co-writer Fabrice Sapolsky, but David Hine has made a name for himself as a quality down-to-earth style writer. He really shines here, especially with the art of the terrific but hard to spell Carmine Di Giandomenico who previous did some great work on both X-Men: Magneto Testament and the Amazing Fantasy story arc “Vegas”.

The book concludes with some really amazing concept art. I honestly only have one complaint about this collection. Marvel decided to collect this in a smaller cut format, slightly larger than the low price Marvel Adventures cut. But this book is still priced a little high at $14.99. It is still cheaper than the original $4 price for each of the original four issues, especially when discounted by your favorite online bookseller. Still I loved this book and would give it a Highly Recommended.

Oh, and talk about timely, it was just announced that the Noir version will appear in the new Spider-Man game.

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