Peter Parker Tries Out Detective Work In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8

by James Ferguson

The F.E.A.S.T. Center was only open for about a day before it was attacked. Aunt May is justifiably upset and her nephew shifts into high gear to get to the bottom of this. His first stop is to the home of Hobie Brown, also known as The Prowler, who was at the Center before an explosion went off. Has Hobie returned to a life of crime? Or is something more sinister going on?

The answer is definitely the second one in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8. Writer Tom Taylor reveals the lowest of the low with a villain preying on people in their most vulnerable state. My stomach was churning as I was reading this issue at the very idea that someone would do something like this. What makes it all the more chilling is the fact that it’s so very believable. I could see some corrupt businessman thinking up a scheme like that and it makes me sick.

It takes a bit of time to get to this point as Spider-Man has to put on his detective hat to investigate. The thing is that despite Peter Parker being one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe, he’s not a great detective. It’s funny because he alternates between being too trusting and not trusting at all, as evidenced by how he kicks in Hobie’s door before getting all the facts. Batman he is not.

This investigation reveals an enemy that Spider-Man can’t just walk up to and punch in the face. You can’t do that to a corporation. This requires more of a plan and some teamwork. Taylor builds on everything that he’s done so far in this run, pulling on characters that Peter has helped along the way, like Marnie who plays a pivotal role. This rewards long time readers while still being open enough that newcomers can dig in without fear of getting lost.

Artist Ken Lashley picks up the art duties for Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 with a more traditional take on the web-head’s adventures. I like how normal Spider-Man looks, especially when he’s speaking with Hobie. It reminds you that he’s just a regular guy trying to do some good in this world.

This leads to a nice contrast between Spider-Man and the Prowler. The former is nimble and relaxed while the latter is very muscular and intimidating. They make for an odd combination, made even more so by how they’re pulling each other out of their comfort zones with this team-up.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 takes a dark turn when the villain is revealed. Colorist Nolan Woodard controls this like flipping a switch. We got from the bright light of the day to some cool shadows as the investigation begins to a horror show when the big bad appears. This also coincides with the time of day as the action picks up as the sun is setting.

The villain (and yes, I’m being purposely vague because you should discover this for yourself) is creepy on his own, but that terror is ratcheted up when we see what he can do. This is encapsulated not with his words, but with Marnie’s. Letterer Travis Lanham uses a wispy word balloon to capture her warning that looks pained, like she’s struggling to get the words out. This gives you a good idea as to the power of this bad guy.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has quickly risen up the ranks of the Spider titles at Marvel with a consistently high level of quality. This issue is no different, rocketing the overall narrative forward while also giving us some solid, old school Spider-Man antics. This book is a delight to read every month and I hope it runs forever.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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