Comic Book Review: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8

I have enjoyed Peter David’s funny dialogue in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. I like how David writes Peter. Having said that, I have thought that this title has yet to really get on pace and hit its stride. Last issue seemed to finally get this title on track. It is early on a Saturday and I’m already jacked up on Café Bustelo. Let’s hit the review and see how this issue turned out.

Creative Team
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with a young Peter Parker walking home to find the police outside his house. Uncle Ben is there to tell him that Aunt May fell down the stairs and died.

We shift to the funeral. Uncle Ben and Peter leave the graveyard and Uncle Ben tells peter that he doesn’t know how he is going to pay the bills. That Aunt May handled all the money and did the thinking for both of them. Peter tells Uncle Ben not to worry about money and that he has something to show him when they get home.

Back at the house, Uncle Ben is surprised by Peter’s tale and peter sits before him in his Spider-Man costume. Peter tells Uncle Ben that he is making tons of money as a pro wrestler and that Uncle Ben can be his agent.

We shift ahead and Uncle Ben is answering Peter’s fan mail. Uncle Ben says that Peter used to care about answering the fan mail and now he just wants Uncle Ben to rubber stamp everything. Peter ends up smashing the table in two in a fit of anger. Uncle Ben is sad since that was the first piece of furniture that he and May ever bought. Uncle Ben tells Peter that he has changed. Uncle Ben says that Peter could do more to help people somehow instead of just entertaining them. Peter gets sick of the arguing and tells Uncle Ben that he has hired CAA a big time talent agency to manage him. Uncle Ben is fired, but Peter will still pay Uncle Ben his percentage like always. Peter packs his bags and heads to his suite at the Waldorf courtesy of the CAA. Peter then leaves Uncle Ben.

We cut to Uncle Ben trying to get through the CAA representatives to talk to Peter. Uncle Ben has not heard from Peter in a long time. Uncle Ben ends up leaving a message that he just wanted to say “Hi.”

We shift ahead to Spider-Man taking out an evil Darth Vader like villain with a light saber. It is the new movie Spider-Man 4 starring Mark Hamill. Uncle Ben isn’t entirely impressed with the movie. As he leaves the theater and walks home he talks to Aunt May in his mind. Uncle Ben arrives at his house to see it burned to the ground. Two policemen show up and tell Uncle Ben that the home is the old Parker house that burned down several months ago and that Ben Parker died years ago. Uncle Ben is confused and leaves the scene.

We then see Uncle Ben at the graveyard staring at his own grave. He thinks he is losing his mind. Suddenly, a figure looking very similar to the Green Goblin appears who asks Ben if he is ready to see his nephew and his wife. Uncle Ben says “yes” and the shadowy figure grabs his hand and takes off.

We then go to Peter talking to Jarvis on the phone. Jarvis recounts May’s almost passing out and claiming to have seen Uncle Ben. Peter says he is on his way. Peter swings to the location and sees Uncle Ben. Peter confronts Uncle Ben calling him an imposter and demanding answers. Suddenly there is an explosion next to Peter. Peter looks up and it is the shadowy character that talked to Uncle Ben the scene before. The character introduces himself as the Hobgoblin from the year 2211 and claims to have fought a number of Spider-man’s successors. End of issue.


The Good: This was a pretty solid issue. Peter David is doing a nice job on this title. David’s pacing is just right. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 definitely kicks this storyline up a notch or two. Now, normally I don’t really dig on time travel storylines. But, I am enjoying seeing Uncle Ben and I’m willing to give David some time to see where he goes with this.

I like how David starts the issue off with a twist with May dying instead of Ben. David does a nice job showing Peter morphing into a self-centered egotistical star. The scene where Peter leaves Uncle Ben was touching and made me feel sad for poor old Uncle Ben.

I am interested to see how David handles this bizarre twist of Ben somehow entering our reality and time. Also, this Hobgoblin from 2211 who has fought many of Spire-Man’s successors and obviously has some type of connection with what is going on with Uncle Ben has the potential to either be very entertaining or really bad. That is the problem with time travel stories. They either are really fantastic or they totally bomb. There usually is nothing in the middle. But, I am interested to see where David is heading with this storyline.

David has an excellent feel for Peter and Uncle Ben and writes them both rather well. David’s strength has always been crisp dialogue and this issue is no exception.

The Bad: I just don’t like Wieringo’s art. It does nothing for me. I find it to be too simplistic, boring and generic in style. Unfortunately, the art does not make Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8 fun to read. I like David’s writing, but the poor art takes away from the reading enjoyment. However, if you like this style then you should have no problems with this issue.

I have no complaints with David’s writing on this issue. I think he did a great job with the relationship between Uncle Ben and Peter. What does concern me is the time travel storyline. Time travel so rarely works for me. Hopefully, David can prove me wrong and write a time travel story that I’m going to enjoy.