The stylized Spider-Man Noir series has been touting itself as a hard-boiled detective story, but its newest issue has confirmed that this Spider-sleuth is Marvel’s very own answer to Indiana Jones. Trading in the hat and whip for a mask and a lot of chutzpah, Spider-Man Noir’s Peter Parker is a globe-trotting hero who is quick with a quip, making him an easy comparison for George Lucas’s adventuring archaeologist.
Spider-Man Noir may still be flying under some comic readers’ radar, with its first issue having just released in March 2020, but it’s unlikely to remain undiscovered for long. The black-and-white panels are each skillfully arranged by artist Juan Ferreyra to mimic the classic film noir style of dark shadows and dim lighting, while Margaret Stohl’s punchy dialogue pulls readers straight into the world of a classic detective story. Set in gritty, late 1930s New York, Spider-Man Noir follows Peter Parker, a private investigator with superpowers and a Colt .45, who is following the trail of a dead woman and the mystical Cicada Stone across the world with the help of the deceased’s sister, the beautiful Dr. Huma Bergman.
With Spider-Man Noir #3, Marvel steps even further into the Nazi-occupied territory that is Indiana Jones’ bread and butter. Following a quick visit to a Berlin speak-easy and a harrowing flight through snow-capped mountains, Peter Parker and his ragtag crew land in the bustling city of Istanbul to meet with Checkpoint Red. Leaving the city by camel, the team follows their new contact to a Nazi archaeological excavation in the middle of the desert. In a twist that would make George Lucas himself swell with pride, the femme fatale, Dr. Huma Bergman, pulls a gun on the wall-crawling gumshoe and reveals herself to actually be working for the Third Reich.
While Marvel stories have certainly had Nazis and Nazi-like groups goose-step across the page in the past – with some truly mixed results – the twist of a beautiful woman duping the hero is a classic Indy move that’s sure to please readers. From the gangsters and mystic objects to exotic locales and dangerous women, Spider-Man Noir has placed itself firmly into the adventure serial playground of Indiana Jones and the dozens of characters that informed Lucas’s classic hero.
Spider-Man Noir #3, by Margaret Stohl, Juan Ferreyra, VC’s Travis Lanham, with cover art by Dave Rapoza and Patrick O’Keefe is available now.