A great time to be a Spider-Man fan when there are so many out there right now which meet your needs. In the case of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man? That means diving into a book which genuinely makes you smile, while at the same time grabbing your heart because there’s so much sincerity put into the story. Not to mention currently there’s excitement in being given the opportunity to experience a team-up with both The Rumor and Prowler.
This issue picked up right where the last one ended, right in the middle of a battle with this terrifying new villain. While you could be disappointed by how this battle started and concluded so quickly, that wasn’t really the reason why you anticipated picking up this issue. The excitement surrounding Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 was finally getting the origin story of Marnie, aka. The Rumor. This has been a long time coming since her first introduction. It was only really a matter of when the time could be found to jump into that story without it being too abrupt. It was hard to argue with the break they took from this mission of theirs since understanding The Rumor’s past was the same as understanding the circumstances of this new villain, Hellminth.
What caught me by surprise was understanding so much about The Rumor’s past that was unexpected. Off the bat what hit me the hardest was not seeing that she was of a different ethnicity. This wasn’t something that you could have easily assumed from the way she is drawn currently, but seeing Marnie in her youth created a completely different picture. This was not even getting to the point in time where she chose to start her story. That was a big shocker since we never quite touched upon her age. While that is still unknown specifically, we know that she was undeniably old enough to have gotten around. Especially as someone who was there around the same time as Steve Rogers. You would have once thought that she was simply human, but the events of her period of time added much more clarity to how someone like her could become super.
The main takeaway from this story was of course how all of this tied to this Hellminth and the problems he is now causing Spider-Man and his neighborhood. Clarity was given to what this Hellminth can do, and raised the right questions about what needs to be done to stop him. The argument to follow about that approach was intense, but also appreciated for how consistency is pressed with doing what’s best for the people.
Due to this issue simply centering around an origin story, that also meant that this was somewhat of a fast read. Though all the same this was worth it for a story that simply had to be told. The Rumor is one of the most unique creations for the Spiderverse, and since that first introduction, I consistently looked forward to when we would see her again. She may look older than Captain America, but she sure as hell moves like someone who could still give him a run for his money.
Being that most of this issue was the flashback to Marnie’s past, the change in style to distinguish this was what stood out the most. Because of the time period in particular, it worked so well that they went with the dotted overlay that you tend to see from more classic books. Even the use of hatch strokes for darker objects really gave the interiors a unique look. Now like I said above, what jumps out at you visually in terms of characters and settings is the way a young Marnie is portrayed. I loved seeing more personal features which better told a story of her heritage and country of origin. I remember someone telling me that she looked like a super Aunt May once, and it was hard to argue with that aside from the different hairstyle. Seeing her original color and youth in her eyes made a big difference. That aside, the short rescue of The Rumor at the start was executed very well. Great movements and transition from one panel to the next.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 is all about The Rumor, and it was a story worth telling for a secret past you would never have known like this without her help. Things got a little more interesting for those who thought that Marnie was just your average person who woke up one day to discover she has powers. Her story was rich with history, culture, and twists as we also came to understand Hellminth in the process.