Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9

I liked Captain Marvel and Young Justice well enough, but I have to say, in my opinion, Peter David's non-Other (which was crap) work on Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has been his best superhero comic book writing in quite some time. It's really a treat to see such impressive output from a guy who was writing Spider-Man stories twenty years ago.

The key, I think, to David's prodigous achievements on this title has been his willingness to try new things, a willingness not caught up in crossovers or any of that sort of mumbo jumbo. But rather, just fun, interesting stories that are light-hearted enough to play to Mike Wieringo's strengths as an artist (which is in telling fun stories) but also have enough of an edge that it will appeal to a broader audience.

Also, I have to give David major credit for not giving in to using the new costume as a plot point at all - just having it be his costume, and that's about it. Kudos!

I worry a bit about Mike Manley, and not the usual Karl Kesel, inking this issue. I hope all is well with Karl (hopefully it is because Karl is too busy beginning his run writing Fantastic Four - I wish). Still, Manley does a solid job on Wieringo's pencils, which were strong this issue.

The basic concept of this issue is that, in the year 2211, there is a group called the Time Spinners, who police time (I BELIEVE they are working with the Time Variance Authority). In any event, the Spider-Man of 2211 is forced to arrest his own daughter, who has developed a suit that would enable her to travel through time. The way you treat criminals like this is to keep them locked up in virtual reality until the time frame in which the crime was to be committed passes. The problem is, his daughter is busted out of "jail," but the ensuing break from virtual reality turns her insane. She then becomes the Hobgoblin of the year 2211, and goes back in time to kill the famous Peter Parker.

It's a nice straightforward concept that I enjoyed. I didn't enjoy the silly stuff like "retcon bombs," which erase people from existence. However, it was fun to see her use an alternate universe Ben Parker just to mess with Peter. Clever stuff (including the ending, where Ben meets up with this reality's May).

So yeah, if you enjoy a fun story, with an intriguing (and solidly introduced) nemesis, with nice Mike Wieringo artwork (nice colors by Paul Mounts, by the by), then you'll dig Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. I recommend it without reservation.

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