Spider-Man: Noir

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Spider-Man: Noir is a four-issue miniseries which reboots the Wall Crawler into the genres of Film Noir and pulp fiction. It is set in New York during the Great Depression.

In the first series, we're shown that New York City is a hive of corruption where the poor are forced to live in horrible conditions, mobsters and slum lords have free rein to more-or-less do as they please, and the police are paid off and turn a blind eye to the corruption at hand. Aspiring journalist Peter Parker is sick of all the corruption and after a run in with a swarm of magical spiders and their spider-god (long story), and starts a one-man war against Norman Osborn a.k.a the Goblin, the biggest man responsible for New York's corruption and the one behind his Uncle Ben's death in this continuity.

There was a four-part sequel series titled Eyes Without a Face. In this one, the defeat of Norman Osborn has left a significant power vacuum that other gangsters are trying to fill, and the result is Spider-Man having his hands full when the brutal Crime Master is settling nicely into that spot. Meanwhile, innocent black people are going missing, and something shady seems to be afoot in the lab of Otto Octavius... and Crime Master just might be connected.

Both series were quite well-accepted, with the Noir incarnation of Peter Parker being featured heavily in other media: he's one of four playable characters in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and he's a major character during the Spiderverse arc of the mainstream Spider-Man comics as well as later seasons of Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.

Tropes used in Spider-Man: Noir include:
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Vulture going from angry old man to deranged cannibal is a big one, but this especially goes with the villains in the sequel. Crime Master and Sandman are far more brutal, violent, and vicious than their comics counterparts, and since Otto Octavius and Curt Connors are Nazis, that's a pretty big leap in villainy for them as well.
  • Badass Longcoat: As part of Spidey's costume.
  • Big Bad: Norman Osborn for the first story, Crime Master and Otto Octavius in the second.
  • Circus of Fear: Norman Osborn recruited his inner circle from the circus, from which he himself is a refugee.
  • Darker and Edgier: Indeed! It's a superhero story that doesn't shy away at all from the gritty brutality in the pulp stories this took inspiration from.
    • And the sequel is even grittier than the first. Mainly because it deals with themes such as 1930's era racism and horrifying experiments being performed against innocent black people by deranged Nazis.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kraven is shown to care about his brother the Chameleon, and is outraged when he finds out that Felicia killed him.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Vulture, as poor Uncle Ben found out the hard way.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Otto Octavius is extradited to Nazi Germany as part of a plea bargain, he is enthusiastic to meet one of his idols, Henrich Himmler and hopes to join the Nazi party. Unfortunately for him, Himmler is disgusted due to Otto being born a cripple and rejects him for not living up to the image of Aryan superiority. While sent on his way, it's hard to imagine that Otto would last much longer given the prejudice the cripples suffered at the hands of the Nazis...
  • Likes Older Women: Peter himself, being in love with the thirty-something Felicia Hardy with him being somewhat insecure about the age gap.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Felicia Hardy, who gets more than a few panels where she strips down to her lingerie.
  • Nice Hat: An occasional part of the Noir Spidey costume - he only wears it a couple times.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Spider-Man is shown to brandish guns around to intimidate others, but he's only killed one person with them: Vulture, who he caught trying to eat and kill Aunt May.
  • Wall Crawl: In the comics, this is notably absent from Spidey's power set, though he can do it in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
    • Justified, as the in-game manual and the IGN review both state that Spidey Noir can only wall-crawl at all because Madame Web granted him those powers for use in the game. She probably took them away after they defeated Mysterio.