This is the “Big” year for Spider-Man. In addition to Peter Parker coming back from the dead and sending Doc Ock to his just rewards, there’s an even going to happen soon in which all Spider-heroes from across time and space are going to unite against a common menace. We’ve already seen some inkling of this in Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man #1 earlier this year and with the launch of the new ongoing Spider-Man 2099, more is coming down the line. But before Spider-Verse kicks off for good, it seems that Marvel is getting things together with the launch of this week’s Edge of Spider-Verse #1.
This new mini-series seems intended to fill in some of the blanks for some of the alternate versions of Spider-Man that will be featured in Spider-Verse, such as the Gwen Stacy version of Spider-Woman or even this first issue’s hero, Spider-Man Noir. Set in an alternate reality New York of 1939, here we see Spider-Man go up against none other than Wilson Fisk the Kingpin and Mysterio. This is a very fast-paced story about friendship and betrayal, one that David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky tell really well and that Richard Isanove draws really well, and he handles almost all the artwork himself!
First of all, I loved this little version of Spider-Man. A noir setting, with a Spider-Man unlike anything I could have imagined. Yeah, this was pretty damn good. And the way that David and Fabrice go around building him up means that you really get drawn into who he is and what kind of a hero he is. Plus the fact that the likes of Fisk and Mysterio are the villains here, in a very serious and intense role, and you can’t help but like this issue even more. It is a great set-up for Spider-Verse I dare say, especially given the ending.
In many ways, the concept of Spider-Verse reminds me of the final episodes of the Amazing Spider-Man animated series from the 90s. Very much the same kind of a premise, though my memory is hazy on that one, and the biggest similarity is that those episodes too featured a number of different Spider-Men from across space and time, even one who was an actor playing Spider-Man in movies! Pretty damn cool. In that respect, this issue becomes more relevant because it gives us the necessary background on Spider-Man Noir and gives us reasons for his siding with Superior Spider-Man.
Yes, that’s right! Superior Spider-Man is here to save the day. Great team-up there, and something I loved because I’ve been enjoying my slow progress through Dan Slott’s run on Superior Spider-Man. To see the character get featured again is a pure joy and both David and Fabrice did a great job on that one. They certainly didn’t disappoint and they kept the stakes personal for Spider-Man Noir all the time. Gotta respect that.
And their characterization of both Fisk and Mysterio seem rather appropriate as well. The former is more the hand in the shadows type of character, while the latter is more up front and more… driven certainly. How the two of them play into the larger story is something that the writers don’t go into all that much but their work here does serve as a good introduction to these villains in this alternate setting and that’s all I really care about, to be honest.
Can’t forget Felicia Hardy either. She plays a central role in events in this issue and she is quite relevant by the end too. Gotta watch out for her, because there is something in the way that she is written here that hints at larger possibilities for her.
Richard Isanove is the artist here, handling all the art duties except for the letters, which are by VC’s Clayton Cowles. Isanove’s characterwork is superb in this issue. Whether we talk about the well-built Spider-Man Noir or Fisk or Mysterio or Felicia or the different Spider-hero characters at the end of the issue, he really goes to town on them with respect to facial expressions and body language. That alone makes this an issue worth flipping through. Trust me. And the whole noir aspect is also well-done, making this a really atmospheric read.
A really fun intro issue that makes me want to read David and Fabrice’s Spider-Man: Noir series.