Spidey Dies!…Sort Of…In Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12
by James Ferguson
Spider-Man is dead! Well, not exactly. You know how these super hero deaths go, right? When the wall-crawler tries to stop a deadly boat fire, he gets into the crosshairs of a deadly assassin. The city thinks he’s dead and they’ll need to keep thinking that if Spidey is going to take this guy down.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12 is an impressive display of layered storytelling from writer Tom Taylor. He’s been weaving this story since the first issue and every element that’s gone into this series has had meaning. They all contribute towards the overall story and nothing is left behind. In this issue, we get some callbacks to the early chapters, particularly with Detective Shari Sebbens, Spider-Man’s friend on the police force, and some recent crimes that the web-head has stopped.
While you’ll get more out of this if you’ve read this series from the beginning, it’s still pretty accessible to new readers. That’s a delicate balance that works incredibly well here. Taylor gets you up to speed on different events without it feeling like a history lesson.
There are some wacky moments in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12 that play into the character’s humorous side. For example, since he wants everyone to think he’s dead, he can’t go swinging around the city like normal. He needs a disguise. That’s where the hat and trenchcoat come in. Of course, he can’t reveal his secret identity either, so he wears his costume underneath. Artist Pere Perez makes this quirky outfit look normal in Spider-Man’s world. Yes, he would wear something like this.
Perez strikes a nice balance between comedy and action, delivering solid work on both fronts. There’s a terrific sequence during the boat fire that culminates in a gorgeous double page spread. It flows perfectly, starting out super strong and then winding down to coincide with Spider-Man’s “death.” The centerpiece is the attack he takes, slicing across the page to the point where you can practically feel the impact.
That attack is amplified by colorist Rachelle Rosenberg. You instantly understand the severity of the blast as it hits with an electric blue, contrasting against the bright yellows and oranges of the fire and the darkness of the night. Inker Jay Leisten highlights the contours of Spider-Man’s costume against this attack too.
My favorite panel in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12 comes when Peter’s Spider Sense kicks in. The colors are inverted, showing black all around with just the red outlines of his mask. Multi-colored wiggly lines spin out of his head. It’s a great effect that I hope to see used more often.
Faking your own death is no easy task, especially for your loved ones. There’s a heartwarming scene when Peter shows up at Mary Jane’s apartment and she’s relieved to see him alive. Letterer Travis Lanham guides us through their emotional conversation in seamless fashion.
With all the twists and turns this series has delivered so far, I cannot wait to see where it’s going next. In an era with an already solid array of Spider-Man titles, this one stands out. I’ve heard rumors this book is coming to a close and I certainly hope that’s not the case. It’s been a consistently great comic from the beginning.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.