It’s the eighth issue of the international super dork, The Amazing Spider-Man! By this point, readers will have bought in to Dan Slott’s new take on our old friend Peter Parker; tensions and scenarios are building, and the story should start paying off in dramatic fashion. The last few issues proved this as the story was really starting to pick up steam, with multiple story lines building excitement for the mess that Spidey will no doubt find himself in fairly soon.
However, Amazing Spider-Man #8 slows its roll a bit and the story unfolding isn’t exactly the most compelling. The focus this issue is on tying up the Mr. Negative story, putting everything else on the back burner. As we’ve seen with Slott’s writing before, he dives into a fresh idea and sets up all the Spider-Man drama readers want, but his execution in finales of all sorts aren’t always on par with the concept. Amazing Spider-Man #8 isn’t a bad comic book by any means, it’s just that readers know Slott is capable of more and the previous seven issues set a standard.
A huge problem with this issue in particular is the dialogue – it’s very stale and cliché. Slott might be doing it on purpose in some strange and misled homage to English-dubbed kung fu movies, or he just really didn’t care about what these characters were saying to each other. My theory is that creatively he has already moved onto the next big thing for Spider-Man, and this issue is just tying up loose ends before we get to the juicier stuff. I don’t appreciate it, but sometimes that’s the reality of the comic book industry. Whatever the reason, the dialogue certainly stands out as being flat (other than a fun Admiral Ackbar reference).
Another element that fails to pique our interest as it’s intended to is the impact of Peter being betrayed by his girlfriend, Lian. As a die-hard Spider-Man fanatic, I haven’t missed a single issue in recent memory, but I totally glossed over the fact that Lian was supposed to be Peter’s girlfriend. Perhapls my comprehension level is a little low, but it’s more likely their relationship has received so little attention that her working for Zodiac left less of an emotional impression on me than it seemingly did Peter. At the same time, though, I am still holding out for Mary Jane to come back into the romantic picture eventually, so Peter can have all the pointless relationships that they can throw at us.
The artwork here is consistent and on par with the rest of the series. Mr. Negative and his cronies continue to pop every panel they’re in, and everything surrounding the black and white characters is vibrant and colorful, allowing for the characters accent each other in a really pleasing way. Even if Slott can’t seem to squeeze much character out of the Shanghai residents, Matteo Buffagni and Marte Gracia bring the environments to life. (I also can’t seem to get enough of the Spider-Man costume, I really love the look still and don’t think it’s too much like Iron Man at all.)
There is fun to be had in Amazing Spider-Man #8, it is a Spider-Man book after all, just not to the degree we were expecting. In no way does Amazing Spider-Man #8 discourage readers from continuing with the series – if anything it promises readers that much more is in store now that these loose ends are tied up. A lazier than usual effort from Slott that’s propped up by brilliant art and the promise of excitement is better than no Spider-Man at all.