Visit Scenic Under-York In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3

by James Ferguson

The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is about to check out brand new neighborhood. Joined by the mysterious Rumor, Spidey heads Under York, a strange alternate version of New York City located deep below the Earth’s surface.  It’s a civilization that’s been cut off from the rest of the world for seventy years and the wall-crawler is risking an international incident just by showing up, but a friend’s life is on the line so it’s worth the risk. You can probably see where this is going because nothing in Peter Parker’s world ever goes according to plan.

I was a little iffy about this idea at first as it seems a bit out there for a Spider-Man story. This concept is like something out of a Warren Ellis comic. Writer Tom Taylor makes it work because Spidey is thrown out of his element. He’s uncomfortable, so he’s cracking jokes like crazy, but his uneasy feeling is overpowered by his heroic side.
He definitely shows this off in some pretty compelling scenes. Just in case you needed any further proof that Spider-Man is one of the best examples of super heroes around, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3 has you covered. He displays one of the most selfless and powerful acts in this issue. It’s right up there with that amazing scene where he stops a train in Spider-Man 2.

What set this and the issue as a whole apart is Juann Cabal’s artwork. He has a unique way of showing the action that draws your eye across the page with a varied and intricate panel layout. There are several jaw-dropping sequences in this issue, from the strange elevator that seems to scramble Spidey’s insides to a death-defying rescue from a tall building. Cabal provides some of his best work in these tall, thin images that carves up the action. Each one represents a heartbeat or a blink of the eye as things move so very quickly. The fall from the building has an added, subtle effect with each image getting a little shorter, giving the feeling that we’re going down, down, down across the page.
Letterer Travis Lanham plays with this too. Spider-Man’s internal narration is shown in a series of cascading caption boxes, adding to the falling feeling.

Under York is a strange place. Despite being located deep within the Earth, it’s lit like there’s a blazing sun atop it. Colorist Nolan Woodard creates a dystopian tone to this setting, as if this world has been ravaged by climate change. These bright lights are offset by the cooler, quieter scenes indoors.
When this series started, I had to question why we needed another Spider-Man title. I say that with this being my favorite character.  We’re three issues in and I can’t imagine a world without this book. It gives us another look at the quirky and often downright bizarre life of Spider-Man both in and out of costume. This book perfectly captures the essence of the character, equally balancing humor and heroics for a great read.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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