Spider-Man Noir by David Hine is a very welcome addition to the Spider-man Universe. Part of the Noir line that ran through Marvel in 2009, Spider-Man Noir tells the tale of young Peter Parker and his life in the gritty streets of New York in the 1930s. Streets that controlled by the Goblin and his mob of ex-circus freaks, like Kraven the animal trainer and the cannibal known as the Vulture.
Parker works the streets with his Aunt May, defending and fighting for worker’s rights. His Uncle Ben Parker recently murdered, Peter is filled with righteous anger against the criminal element controlling his city. Peter is befriended by the reporter Ben Ulrich and Speakeasy owner, Felicia Hardy. But then Ulrich is also killed and Peter Parker must find a way to stand up against the Goblin and his Gang. He must become the Spider-Man.
Hine does a wonderful job of turning Peter and May into crusading do-gooders. The Spider-man as he is embodied here is a Sam Spade type, dry humor and gun toting as he begins to learn of the powers he has attained. But it is with the Goblin and the Vulture that Hine has done a truly unique and masterful job. They are darker and deadlier then anything they were portrayed as in the regular comic line. The scene of the Vulture eating the body of Ben Parker is gruesome and the comic reader has a definite Dorothy moment. No Toto, you are not in Kansas anymore.
The Spider-Man Noir was a four issue set in 2009, with a sequel set soon after. It could however, have gone on much longer. Peter is different here. The pain and loss he suffers creates in him a much darker and much more bitter Spider-man. It is a character that is worth further life. Hopefully Marvel will figure that out but unless there is a heavy marketing opportunity, they probably won’t.
Spider-man fans owe it to themselves to pick this one up, no to complete a collection but for a glimpse at a darker and far more realistic Peter Parker.
Look it up.