Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is without a doubt one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year. With the promise of introducing other variants of the Spider-Man mantle, fans have the opportunity to see other Spider-Men, along with Peter Parker, on the big screen. Of the film’s introduced Spider-Men, we see the well-known Miles Morales and Gwen Stacey (Spider-Gwen). However, one of the most mysterious renditions of the hero seen in the trailer is the black-clad Spider-Man known as Spider-Man Noir.
All trailer viewers know about this character is that Nicolas Cage will be voicing him. However, despite the comedic scenes we see the character participating in within the trailer, Spider-Man Noir’s origins are extremely dark. In order to have a deeper understanding of his character, The Daily Fandom will be analyzing Spider-Man Noir’s background, powers, and comic series.
The character originated from a 2009 mini-series called Spider-Man Noir. David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky wrote the story while Carmine Di Giandomenico did the art. Spider-Man Noir’s adventures continue in a sequel mini-series entitled, Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face, created by the same team.
Plot Summary Of Spider-Man Noir
The series took place during the Great Depression in 1933. People are suffering due to the economic crash, and those in higher power are taking advantage of the chaos. Crime is rampant in the streets due to compromised politicians and law enforcement.
Enter Peter Parker, also known in this world as simply Spider-Man (Spider-Man Noir for this analysis). After getting bit by a mystical spider, Spider-Man Noir uses his newfound gifts to rid the streets of the corrupt. However, the corruption runs deep, and he risks not only placing himself in danger but those he loves as well.
Spider-Man Noir’s Powers
The abilities Spider-Man Noir possesses are similar to those of the regular Peter Parker. He has a spider-sense which warns him of danger, and his body becomes more acrobatic. Spider-Man Noir has durability for high falls, which makes him formidable in battles as well. However, unlike the main Peter Parker who uses web cartridges, Spider-Man Noir shoots black silk directly from his wrists.
Breakdown Of Spider-Man Noir Issues #1-4
In this section, The Daily Fandom will breakdown Spider-Man Noir’s first series. Therefore, SPOILER WARNING is in effect.
Spider-Man Noir Issue #1
The first issue of Spider-Man Noir begins with the police entering The Daily Bugle and finding Jameson dead. Spider-Man Noir is in the room, so officers automatically assume he killed him. The narration then transitions to three weeks prior. It starts with Aunt May and Peter Parker rallying people in the shantytowns to rebel against the government. They get assaulted by enforcers, but Ben Urich, a reporter from The Daily Bugle, saves them.
Urich sees Peter’s passion for wanting to overthrow corrupt leaders. So, he takes him to an establishment known as The Black Cat run by Felicia Hardy. While there, Peter sees high-ranking officials talking with known criminals. It is here that Peter learns how corrupt the system really is.
Then, enter the Goblins, a known gang run by Norman Osborne. Peter knows the Goblins had a hand in the murder of his Uncle Ben. (His uncle took down illegal sweatshops, making him an enemy of the industry.) Peter assaults Norman; however, Urich’s presence protects him.
Peter starts working with Urich for The Daily Bugle as his photography assistant. While working together, Urich learns that Peter was the one who found his uncle’s mutilated body. At first, Peter believes wild dogs mutilated his uncle. However, through an internal monologue, Urich reveals that he knows the Goblins did it since he witnessed the murder.
Spider-Man Noir Issue #2
Issue #2 begins with Peter answering a call meant for Urich, offering him a tip on the Goblins. The tip revealed that they were high-jacking a shipment of antiques. Peter goes to the location and finds the Goblins unloading ancient spider statues. One of the statues breaks, causing thousands of spiders to come out.
These spiders kill one of the Goblins, and one manages to climb onto Peter’s hand, biting it. He is then greeted by the image of a giant spider deity. This being informs him that since Peter is not evil, it will grant him powers. Peter awakens from this hallucination with superhuman abilities.
He immediately goes to the Goblins’ main hideout and threatens Norman Osbourne. However, while there, he finds photos that he took with Urich which could have linked the Goblins to a crime. It is then that Peter realizes that Urich blackmails and sells back incriminating evidence to the Goblins. (This is why they never harm him.)
Dressed as Spider-Noir, Peter confronts Urich about his acts and tells him he never wants to see him again. This stirs Urich to release all the information he has on the Goblins to Jameson at The Daily Bugle. However, just as he is about to turn over everything, Jameson himself kills Urich since he secretly works for Osborne.
Spider-Man Noir Issue #3
Issue #3 of Spider-Man Noir begins with Peter finding Urich dead in his apartment. The story then transitions to Jameson, giving Osborne everything he found in Urich’s apartment connecting the Goblins to any crime. However, Osborne knows Urich had more incriminating evidence and suspects he passed it on to someone before Jameson killed him.
The story returns to Peter, who goes to see Felicia Hardy at The Black Cat. She provides Peter with all the incriminating evidence Urich collected before his murder. After attending Urich’s funeral, Peter senses caution from Jameson, meaning he cannot trust him. It is then that as Spider-Man Noir, Peter uses all Urich’s leads to dismantle Osbourne’s criminal activities.
Unbeknownst to Peter, one of Osbourne’s men saw him at the Black Cat after Urich’s murder. This causes Osbourne to suspect that Peter is Spider-Man Noir. Therefore, he orders his minions to bring Peter to him. While this occurs, Peter visits Jameson to see why he is publishing fake stories claiming Spider-Man Noir hurt innocent civilians.
However, when he gets there, he finds Jameson shot which returns readers to where the story began. As Peter flees the scene, he returns home and looks through the files Urich has compiled. He finds a document on a Goblins’ member called the Chameleon.
This causes Peter to suspect something is amiss, so he goes to the morgue and inspects Jameson’s body. Here, he learns that the body belonged to the Chameleon who disguised himself as Jameson. The issue ends with revealing that Osbourne locked Jameson up in a cell and has sent the Vulture after Aunt May.
Spider-Man Noir Issue #4
The final issue of Spider-Man Noir begins with the Vulture attacking Aunt May. However, Peter, dressed as Spider-Man Noir, saves her by shooting the Vulture. Aunt May reprimands Spider-Man Noir, claiming that killing was not the solution and that he should not act above the law. Peter then leaves Aunt May and heads to Osbourne’s lair, where he finds Jameson in a cage. He is also surprised to find Felicia Hardy there as well.
Felicia shows shock to find Jameson alive as she reveals that she is the one who shot him. She did this because she was hiding in Urich’s home when Jameson came and killed him. She took Urich’s files and fled through the fire escape, which is why they were in her possession.
Osbourne tries to kill Felicia, but Spider-Man Noir saves her. He kills the remaining Goblins and fights with Norman, defeating him. However, Peter chooses not to kill him due to Aunt May’s previous words. Nevertheless, Osbourne ends up dying by the ancient spiders attacking him, ending his reign as a crime lord. The series concludes with Peter using Urich’s files to arrest those responsible for underground activities and corruption. However, he continues masquerading as Spider-Man Noir as he knows evil still lurks in the dark.
Breakdown Of Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face Issues #1-4
Spider-Man Noir’s adventures continue in Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face. Similar to the previous section, The Daily Fandom will break down each issue of the series’ sequel to gain a deeper understanding of the character. Therefore, another SPOILER WARNING is in effect.
Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face Issue #1
Issue #1 of Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face begins eight months after the final issue of Spider-Man Noir. The new villain, known as the Crime Master, is wreaking havoc throughout the city, killing anyone who gets in his way. Spider-Man Noir seeks Felicia Hardy’s intel on the new crime boss; however, she remains neutral, not revealing anything. (Since Spider-Man Noir, Peter develops feelings for Felicia, but she refuses to reciprocate.)
Peter returns home and finds his friend, Robbie, and his family there. They both begin discussing race and politics, which eventually led Peter to invite Robbie to Ellis Island to interview Dr. Otto Octavius.
Octavius is a German scientist who researches the human brain. While there, Peter and Robbie find Octavius performing a lobotomy on a chimpanzee. He claims this experiment will lead to information regarding the human mind and physiology. (He also hopes to find a cure for the disease that leaves him wheelchair bound.) Peter seems fascinated by the research; however, Robbie senses something more sinister going on.
Robbie’s hunch gets proven true as the issue ends with Octavius rounding up African-Americans to experiment on.
Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face Issue #2
The second issue continues Peter’s search for the Crime Master. He finds himself in a club called Seventh Heaven, which he learns belongs to Crime Master. While there, he dismantles the organization and tells the villain’s cronies to tell their boss he is coming after him. Back home, Peter learns that Robbie went missing. In fact, there has been a rash of missing African-Americans. Unfortunately, their disappearances have gone unreported.
As Spider-Man Noir, Peter goes to investigate the missing people and find Robbie. His investigations led him back to Seventh Heaven.
While he seeks answers at the bar, Robbie is back on Ellis Island with other kidnapped black people. There, Octavius reveals that he wishes to remove the portion of black people’s brains which give them willpower. He sees African-Americans as the perfect servants but claims their resistance makes them rebellious. After revealing his scheme, Octavius then proceeds to experiment with his captives.
Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face Issue #3
Issue #3 shows Spider-Man Noir fighting for his life against one of Crime Master’s minions, the Sandman. Just as it looks like he is about to die, a police force raiding Seventh Heaven saves Spider-Man Noir. The police shoot and kill the Sandman, which gives Peter a chance to escape to Felicia’s place. She nurses him back to health, and he tells her everything that is going on. After he leaves, Felicia gets a visit from her “lover,” the Crime Master. She tries to wring out information from him regarding Ellis Island; however, he starts to suspect her.
The Crime Master finds Spider-Man Noir’s bloody clothes in her bathroom and beats her for her “betrayal.” He ends up leaving her for dead. Back at Ellis Island, Octavius has succeeded in creating the “perfect servant.” He managed this by drilling a hole into a black woman’s frontal lobe. She now does not have any free will and only obeys orders. Spider-Man Noir finally reaches Ellis Island and fights off the guards to free the remaining prisoners. He finds Robbie at the very back of the group of prisoners, but their reunion is less than fulfilling.
Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face Issue #4
The final issue of Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without AFace begins with the heartbreaking revelation that Robbie underwent the experiment. Octavius drilled a hole into his head, leaving him without free will. While Spider-Man Noir finds an escape route, Octavius receives a visit from the Crime Master. He destroys everything pertaining to Octavius’ experiment. Otto is furious that his life’s work is gone. (It is here readers learn that a politician with Nazi ideals funds Otto’s experiments.)
Spider-Man Noir fights guards to get the prisoners to freedom. He eventually meets up with the Crime Master and Octavius. Here, Crime Master takes Robbie hostage and reveals he killed Felicia. Spider-Man Noir prepares to fight Crime Master but finds out the police force from earlier landed on the island to arrest everyone.
Seeing he has nowhere to run, Octavius decides to kill the Crime Master in hopes it will reduce his sentence. However, just as Spider-Man Noir is about to kill Octavius, the police force stop him. They tell him that Felicia informed them about Octavius, meaning she is still alive.
After everyone is set free, Spider-Man Noir goes to Felicia’s home. But her butler tells him that she no longer wishes to see him. Time passes, and unfortunately, Robbie never recovers from the experiment. Peter learns that Octavius is not going to trial since he was working on government experiments. Due to the risk of him revealing state secrets, his punishment is deportation back to Germany. However, when he returns, the Nazi government rejects him as they see him as a flawed being.
The series ends with Spider-Man Noir looking at Felicia Hardy from afar. Her wounds have healed, but she wears a mask to hide the scars.
Final Thoughts On Spider-Man Noir
After overviewing his background, powers, and comic series, frankly, I am excited to see Spider-Man Noir on the big screen. His character portrays stark differences to Marvel’s regular Peter Parker. Spider-Man Noir shows that he is willing to kill his enemies and carry the burden of their deaths for the greater good. The series’ maturity represents the noir-film mood perfectly as well. According to filmsite.org, a noir film should possess:
…an oppressive atmosphere of menace, pessimism, anxiety, suspicion that anything can go wrong, dingy realism, futility, fatalism, defeat and entrapment.
All of this occurs within Spider-Man Noir.
Spider-Man Noir captures the feeling of hopelessness felt during the Great Depression and the rise of the Nazi regime. It also brings the story closer to current times with its conversations about race.
Now, how Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse plans to transition this dark character into its colorful picture is something readers will have to wait and see. I just hope Sony Pictures does the character the justice he deserves.
Unfortunately, Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without A Face have been out of print for years. Readers interested in purchasing this series have the option of purchasing it digitally on Amazon (Vol.1/Vol.2). For more comic analyses, click here.