On the Panel – Edge of Spider-Verse
Issue 1 – Spider-Man Noir
My first experience with Spider-Man Noir was in the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions where he was a playable character. The conceit of this version is that he exists in an alternate 1930s depression era New York where crime runs rampant. Spider-Man’s costume is appropriately darker to suit the darker world that he lives in. The main players are mostly the same in name but their origins and roles have been altered to fit in with this universe. The Spider-Man Noir comics are actually pretty cool and well worth a read so I’m glad that this version is being revisited in the Edge of Spider-Verse titles.
In this issue Peter Parker is going to a show with Mary Jane and his Aunt May. There’s reference to Mary Jane having recently returned from fighting a war while Peter remained at home to study. Peter’s narration highlights that since MJ has returned from this war there’s been a distance between them and that she never talks about it. Somewhat refreshing since it’s always the other way around for the main series Spider-Man.
The show that they decide to see is a magic show hosted by none other than Mysterio who decided to dazzle people by escaping from a giant fish bowl, you have to love that nod to the character’s original incarnation as well as the fact that his entire stunt was nothing but an illusion. It’s a good example of a different adaptation of a familiar character. The Noir series is full of things like that and definitely has a fair bit of novelty value in seeing how differently these characters are portrayed when you know the original versions so well.
As you might expect it turns out Mysterio is up to no good. His plan in this case is to challenge Spider-Man to a duel because he’s convinced that using his blood will give him the powers of the spider god Anansi which seems a bit misguided as plans go. What guarantee does he have that this will work? It sort of smacks of a lack of extensive thought. In general something about this version of Mysterio lacks credibility but maybe that’s the point, maybe he’s full of bluster but actually fairly useless. I found it pretty weird that the Kingpin seemed to be working for him given that the Kingpin is supposed to be the crime boss but maybe this version is a champion bowler.
There was something almost disposable about it since none of it will really make a difference to the overall arc of Spider-Verse but it was great to have this version given some time to establish the character for new readers, it will make Noir a bit more accessible to those who read this and make him seem like less of an alternate outfit when the event really kicks off.
It’s great to see Spider-Man Noir return to comic pages and see more of his unique world. This issue has a refreshing take on Mary Jane and Peter’s relationship as well as having a creative version of Mysterio who seems a little out of his league. The comic does feel a little disposable as only the end ties into the larger event but in general it was a lot of fun.