Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 was all about The Rumor, and I couldn’t argue with the time taken to finally figure out this woman’s mysterious past. This tied perfectly into the introduction of this new villain and what we had to now fear from him as he has set his sights on the misery of the poor people of Peter’s community.
I was very taken back by Peter’s approach towards dealing with Hellminth. He could have been like Prowler trying to deal with him directly, or Rumor who probably also felt like he needed to be taken down in some way, but Peter really thought outside the box with this one. I admired that he saw this problem where this company still needs to exist in some capacity, and that there had to be a better way of handling this than to shut the place down entirely. When Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 ended with Peter turning to Tony, there was any number of ways that he could have asked for help from him. The least likely approach was of course him asking for the assistance of Iron Man, because this was one of those things where you needed the man and not the hero.
Where this issue steals your heart is the story of Prowler. This is a former villain who is trying to turn things around, but sees that sometimes it takes someone taking action his way to get the job done. Would you really see people hurt the way that Hellminth is hurting them and wait for a more subtle approach towards taking him down? You might be quick to the punch just like Prowler to put an end to things as fast as you can. We all knew that this was going to fail, but it was truly the thought that counted for this character. But even then, that’s not where the true heart was captured in his story. That would be the fact that he could be a former villain and also be seen as someone redeemable. Most heroes will make the mistake of assuming that no one can change. Peter shook things up and proved that there is nothing wrong with seeing the good in someone who has done wrong in the past, and take a step further to give them a second chance the way he did at the end of the issue.
You could say that the final confrontation with Hellminth wasn’t too notable, but in all honesty I appreciated the idea that the fight itself not be the main focus. There was so much more to take from this than the actual action. Spider-Man, Rumor, and Prowler versus one villain and some goons? That’s a no-brainer for how that ends. It was better that we got something you don’t see everyday.
One thing did manage to catch me off guard, and that was the fact that there was three different artists involved in drawing the scenes for this issue. Ken Lashley did most of the interior work, but there was couple pages or so that Scott Hanna and Luca Maresca did specifically. In most cases this might be troublesome because the changes are more abrupt, but I could understand the necessity given what was being drawn in those scenes. Sometimes an artist might be able draw Iron Man better than others, or they might be able to draw a certain action better than someone else. Could you fault them for finding someone who is best able to give you quality work on that page? It went a long way that all three artists were good enough that you could overlook this in general. I would say that Nolan Woodard did his best work when it came to coloring Iron Man, Hellminth, and coloring for Hanna. In each cases he had great range and a strong handle on textures. Since Hellminth’s introduction I loved the coloring for him because his skin tones were so decayed for that mix of greens and red.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #10 brings us to the end of the second arc, and what an ending it was. I loved how endearing this book has been so far. Never once letting us forget what it really means to be a superhero. That means looking for the best solution to a problem that doesn’t always have to be fighting, seeing the best in everyone, and showing people that you can be more than your failings. And Spider-Man of all heroes should know how to overcome that.