Page 45 Review by Stephen and Jonathan
Long-awaited repacking of all previous series about which we wrote something like a decade ago...
Free from the constraints of continuity, Hines and Sapolsky have brought something both fresh and festering - which is a neat trick to pull off - and I think if you enjoyed SPIDER-MAN: REIGN, you'll very much go for this.
America 1933 is in thrall to the most massive recession and the underworld gangster who sits ruthlessly at the top with the politicians, police and industrialists all in his pocket. The gangster is known as The Goblin and his henchmen I will leave you to discover for yourself, but Hine has done something truly hideous (but clever) with The Vulture. Meanwhile, activists May and Peter Parker are causing a political stir in the shantytown of destitute squatters in spite of the threats to their lives - the same threats that saw Ben Parker savagely mutilated. And where is J. Jonah Jameson in all this?
Get beyond the first page for some strikingly fresh art from Carmine Di Giandomenico whose Vulture now looks like a ravenous Nosferatu. Hine's done a fine job of building up the unassailable walls the Parkers and press have to climb / fight against, using Ben Urich as the guide, and I like this new Peter, unembarrassed by his socialist aspirations.
What you have to bear in mind is that in America a "socialist" is akin to being a commie, and we all know how America felt and still feels about commies. In 2008's Presidential election the word "socialist" was used to undermine Obama whereas over here we liberal-lefties - the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and their voters - consider it a badge of honour, because putting the needs of the many ahead of one's own is actually kinda selfless.
This is a much bigger collection than the first, so as well as the original SPIDER-MAN NOIR #1-4, it also includes SPIDER-MAN NOIR: EYES WITHOUT A FACE #1-4, EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #1, SPIDER-GEDDON: SPIDER-MAN NOIR VIDEO COMIC and material from SPIDER-VERSE TEAM-UP #1.
Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face...
"He's also been looking into the disappearance of dozens of negroes from the streets of Harlem over the past few months."
"But if that were true, we would have heard about it."
"If they were white you'd have heard about it. Cops don't take the disappearance of coloureds too seriously."
"But what about all the missing people? They couldn't just disappear. "
So it's round two for the noir-era Peter Parker and his fight against the criminal elements of New York City circa 1933. And after taking down The Goblin last time around, now he's pitched into conflict with the mysterious Crime Master who has stepped in to fill the inevitable power vacuum Peter created. Again, the completely different use of various well known characters - including this time around Robbie Robertson, the Sandman and Doctor Otto Octavius - is what makes this Marvel Noir book work. There's unpleasantness of many different types going on, not least Octavius' disturbing experiments in his U.S. government lab on Ellis Island, which somehow seem connected to a certain political party on the rise in Germany. But how is that linked to the Crime Master and his crime empire of speak easies and cat houses, and the strange disappearance of members of the African American community? Maybe the world-wise and semi-reformed Felicia Hardy knows something that might help, if Peter can get close enough to win her confidence, but at what cost to herself?
Nice writing from Hine, who hasn't lost sight of the fact that this is supposed to be first and foremost a crime story. He spins a good yarn, throws in some suitably unpleasant twists and turns, and once again, a lot of bad things do happen to a lot of nice people.