Warning: SPOILERS for Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #10
It isn't every day that Tony Stark takes on a new business partner, and it's even rarer for Iron Man to join forces with a former supervillain. But that's the second chance that's just been given to a fan-favorite, reformed member of the Spider-Man family in Marvel Comics.
As the name might suggest, the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man comic has dealt with relatively street-level criminals and capers since its relaunch. Since that's the same stomping grounds as Hobie Brown, formerly known as The Prowler, Peter ran straight into him when the reformed villain showed up back in the game. And thanks to Peter Parker, Hobie just got a MAJOR promotion.
The names are going to cause some confusion, since the release of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse means a new generation of comic fans will assume that The Prowler is Miles Morales's uncle. Voiced by Mahershala Ali in Spider-Verse--and played by Donald Glover in Spider-Man: Homecoming--that version of The Prowler is Aaron Davis, the same villain in Miles's alternate reality. For Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, it's the original version of the costumed burglar who just signed up as Tony Stark's new protege.
The story begins back in the pages of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7, when writer Tom Taylor turns to the most unlikely of places for Marvel's next sinister conspiracy: a crowdfunding website being used by those in need. After Prowler shows up breaking into the offices of Aunt May's outreach, Peter assumes Hobie has somehow ended up back in his former life. Of course, the truth is that both men are after the same culprits--and one of Hobie's own friends died when the funds never materialized in time to save him.
What follows is a story that must be read to be believed, because as commonplace as a crowdfunding website misusing funds might seem, nobody expects to find an immortal being feeding on human misery at the top of the corporate ladder. And thankfully, Peter and Hobie have some superpowered backup to get the job done. Oh, and help from Tony Stark's army of lawyers to make sure the company and the funds end up where they belong... which is where Hobie Brown comes in.
Having proven himself to Peter many times over, the wallcrawler sees the chance to solve two problems at once. The readers aren't let in on the plan ahead of time, but when Peter asks Tony for help in setting the crowdfunding debacle right, and getting help to those who need it... he makes one other request. Give Hobie Brown a chance to help make the world a better place--without his Prowler costume--by helping him to run the formerly-corrupt business venture. And with Spider-Man vouching for him as a man for others, Tony Stark doesn't pass up the partnership, extending the invitation to Hobie (while still wearing the Iron Man suit, which seems a highly effective bargaining tactic).
And just like that, one of the most well-meaning, anti-heroic, reformed burglars in Marvel's Universe is getting a second chance. Acting as Tony's new business partner may take Hobie in some unlikely directions, but for now, fans will be pleased to see a good man get what's coming to him. To catch up on the story, readers can start this arc with Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7, with the full credits and plot synopsis below:
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7 (2019)
- Written by Tom Taylor
- Art by: Ken Lashley
- Cover by: Andrew C. Robinson
- As seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15, Aunt May is reopening the F.E.A.S.T. Center to help the homeless and needy of New York City! But things are rarely as simple as that in the Marvel Universe as F.E.A.S.T. and the new funding May has secured to try to make her dream a reality is under attack by…THE PROWLER?! Has Hobie Brown returned to his criminal beginnings? Can Spider-Man help bring him back to the side of the angels?
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #7 is available from your local comic book shop now, or direct from Marvel Comics.