Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was a comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The title is derived from a trademark self-referential comment often made by Spider-Man (as in "just another service provided by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!"), ironic in that Spider-Man is often falsely considered by the general public to be a dangerous vigilante and/or a criminal, and to many his perceived reputation is anything but "friendly". The series began in October, 2005 and was primarily written by Peter David. "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" was cancelled after issue #24, part 2 of J Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada's "One More Day" storyline.



The Other (issues #1-4)

Spider-Man: The Other

The first story arc is the twelve-part crossover, "Spider-Man: The Other", one-third of which was told in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (the other two-thirds told in Marvel Knights Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man).

Cover art to Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #20.-Art by Todd Nauck.
Cover art to Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #20.-Art by Todd Nauck.

Web Log (issue #5)

Web Log was a one-issue storyline featuring a young woman, Vanna Smith, who is convinced Spider-Man has been stalking her since high school, because over the years, Spider-Man just happened to be around when Vanna was doing something. She later gets a restraining order to Spider-Man. The story then moves to approximately 50 years into the future. Mary Jane meets up with Vanna in an unidentified park. They talk, and Mary Jane shows Vanna Spider-Man's bloodied mask, thus proving her thoughts of him surviving were wrong. Mary Jane then walks away.

Masks (issues #6-7)

A storyline notable for its use of luchadores, lucha libre, and discussion of the meaning of being an icon. Spider-Man also struggles with the combination of both science and magic in his origin, and uses scientific means to take down a magic foe.

Jumping the Tracks (issues #8-10)

The story begins in an alternate, future timeline. The daughter of Spider-Man 2211 (nicknamed Hobby) is the alternate Hobgoblin. She enjoys killing alternate or future versions of Spider-Man, but accidentally dies by her own retcon bomb (a bomb that not only kills the victim, but erases them from ever existing). Early in the storyline, she brings an alt-Uncle Ben to the 616 reality as part of a mind game for Peter. As Spider-Man 2211 prepares to return Uncle Ben to his proper reality, Uncle Ben shoots him, deciding to stay in this one. This Uncle Ben is later revealed to be the Chameleon of 2211.

I Hate a Mystery (issues #11-13)

Francis Klum returns as the new Mysterio and traps Spider-Man and the students and staff of Midtown High inside the building. Daniel Berkhart, the second Mysterio, enters the fray as well as Quentin Beck, the original, long thought dead from a gunshot wound. Also of note is the inclusion of Miss Arrow, a nurse who falls in love with Flash and may be more than she seems: she is able to emit stingers from her wrist, much like Spider-Man himself.

Taking Wing (issues #14-16)

Vulture is recruited to kill off Spider-Man because he is now "Beside the Law". Meanwhile, Spider-Man receives a cloaking device from Beast in an abandoned church. Using the device to get a job at Midtown (As Ben Reilly). In the second issue familiar characters are brought back (including Deb Whitman, Betty Brant). Deb has written a book about "How Peter Parker Ruined My Life". The Vulture Predicts Peter to be there and a battle is staged in medias res. The Issue Ends with The Vulture and Spider-Man falling off of a building. As they fall, Spider-Man gains his composure long enough to save himself and the Vulture and take Toomes to the Hospital. Meanwhile Deb Whitman confesses to Betty Brant that the Daily Bugle pressured her and gave her money to write the scathing tell-all book, and apologizes. As Vulture lies in paralyzed state in the hospital, Spider-Man sneaks in his room using his cloaking device. Vulture asks him to kill him, as his state is a sign of weakness, but he knows Peter won't. He then says that Peter's Uncle is lucky for dying, so he wouldn't see how weak his nephew is. Spider-Man snaps and puts a pillow over Toomes face as he struggles for life. At the last second Peter relents, stating for that a man who wants to die so bad, he struggled pretty hard. He leaves Toomes with a statement about how compassion is a good thing.

Sandblasted (issues #17-19)

Starting with the "Back In Black" storyline, Spider-Man now hides out under the guise of Ben Reilly (thanks to a hologram machine from Beast of the X-Men) and takes a job as Flash Thompson's assistant coach. Soon, Flash realizes Ben is Peter and offers him shelter at his apartment. While resting, Peter is visited by Flint Marko a.k.a. Sandman. Sandman had earlier broken into prison to rescue Floyd Baker, his father, but failed and enlisted Spider-Man to help by claiming the man Baker murdered was Ben Parker (see issues #8-10) though he'd been dead for years. Along the way they meet a stoner named Dennis who had seen Ben Parker shoot Spider-Man 2211 and taken the murdered Spider-Man 2211's helmet and was waiting to go to the future. Meanwhile Flash Thompson was on a date with Betty Brant until she was attacked in the restroom by thousands of spiders. Upon inspection, cocaine was discovered and the matrie'd asked them to leave. Miss Arrow appeared soon after, having been hiding in the stall. Afterwards Betty distracted Flash and caused them to wreck a police car. Taking the helmet (and allowing the stoner to come along), Spider-Man and Sandman followed its instructions to Midtown High where they discovered the mystery. The Ben Parker that the Hobgoblin 2211 had derailed from the timeline was murdered and a Chameleon 2211 had ingested his DNA and morphed into him. Revealing its true form, Spider-Man and Sandman were able to stop the creature moments before Floyd Baker was executed. But something puzzled Spider-Man, the helmet had registered 11,000 targets in the school with Chameleon, but he was alone when they found him.

Letters Page

One popular component contributing to Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man's success has been its letters pages, running through issues #9-17 and making a comeback in issue 20. While letters pages are almost as old as comics themselves, the Friendly letters page has been unique in serving as a forum through which fans can communicate not just with the creative team and editors but also with each other, with regular letter writers such as Adrian J. Watts and Paul DiFillippo regularly interacting directly with one another about aspects of the series.


Kurt Busiek has revealed that in 1995 he originally suggested "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" as the title of the series which was eventually published as Untold Tales of Spider-Man. He believes that this choice of title contributed, at least in part, to the relative market failure of Untold Tales.

See also

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