Spider-Man Noir #2 Review

by Charles Martin on July 29, 2020

Spider-Man Noir #2 Review
Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I'm a fan of Spider-Man. I'm a fan of film noir. Can this chocolate-and-peanut-butter team-up hit the spot and tickle my fancy?

Yes. And no.

In this second installment, Margaret Stohl's script makes good on the miniseries' globe-trotting premise, racing Spidey through London and on to Berlin. There's a fair serving of action, plenty of intrigue, and more salty Bogart-style banter than you can shake a stick at.

It's a story tailor-made to appeal to Turner Classic Movies fans like me. And it does a good job of that. But there's a slippery quality to the plot; it actively refuses to stick in the mind. 

Perhaps the intrigue is a bit too intriguing -- long on questions and short on answers. This title has already gone on too long, in terms of pages and time elapsed in-story, for Spidey to have made so little progress on his mystery du jour.

But a little bit of frustration on the plotting front is by no means a deal-breaker. This series and this issue have a lot to offer, particularly on the visual front. Juan Ferreyra makes a meal and a half of the mid-century setting, delivering copious amounts of period detail. Vehicles, fashions, architecture, and even hairstyles are perfectly in line with the 1939 dateline.

Mr. Ferreyra's artistry goes deeper than merely setting the scene, though. He's paid careful attention to film noir and recognized a fundamental principle of the genre's look: It's all about light and shadow. He washes in some muted colours to keep the panels feeling real, but the visuals are all about the interplay of black and white. And they are magnificent.

I should qualify my criticism of the plot development up to this point: If it's not memorable, it's also not objectionable. This is an entertaining period adventure yarn, and it leaves the door wide open for greatness to come. I would particularly single out the creators' choice of antagonist from Spidey's rogues' gallery as inspired. It's a great reimagining of a character that's ideally suited to the retro setting.

Spider-Man Noir #2 offers up a minimal serving of substance that arrives with bags of style. The script has some sharp back-and-forth banter to offer even if it doesn't have a lot of answers, and the words are thrown well into the background by the marvellously shady art. This series may get bigger and better in future issues, and the journey so far is very easy on the eyes.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I'm the sort of WWII nerd who can explain exactly why the plane Spidey takes to London is anachronistic (by about 5 years). But that doesn't hurt the story.