Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Dan Slott had an ambitious and promising Spider-Man idea that started out really fun and then hit a speed bump. Amazing Spider-Man #8 was a decent arc wrap-up – it wasn’t great, but it sufficed because it looked as if Amazing Spider-Man was about to find its focus.
I don’t believe that, by any means, this series is a lost cause. It’s more of just a bummer to have been down this road before and know when you’re in that dull stage of a run with Slott and Spider-Man. The positive side of having been here before is knowing that there are better books in the near future, and hopefully, Slott will fix his past mistakes.
The entirety of Amazing Spider-Man #8 can be summed up as: Nick Fury is looking for Peter Parker, is intercepted by Spider-Man, they go to space for a minute, and then Spider-Man lands in Paris. The way Nick Fury is portrayed here – as Spidey’s momentary sidekick – is completely out of character. Fury isn’t the panicky pun-making stooge that Slott paints him as. I get that readers are being sold Spider-Man as more of a calm, cool, and calculated hero in this run, but Fury is not the best person to dumb down in order to highlight that.
Fury isn’t the only element of this book that will make readers roll their eyes, the two psychics serving Zodiac are also unbearable. Zodiac himself still hasn’t lived up to any of the hype that Slott keeps feeding us, and I keep finding myself revisiting plots from the other books to remember why he’s even considered an international terrorist. The quick snippet of what’s going on with Doc Ock inside the Living Brain and Anna Marconi is extremely cliche, but I think that’s just to move it along and cheaply get to the good stuff.
The one major element of Amazing Spider-Man that has been holding its own has been, like previous installments, the artwork. Looking back at what little legacy Zodiac has as a villain, Slott has the art team to thank for making him look a lot more menacing than he actually is. Throughout Amazing Spider-Man #9 there are some neat panel transitions and a great blend of color. Even the plunge to Earth that Spider-Man takes isn’t as cool as Slott seems to think it is, but it sure looks great.
I really want to love this series and for the most part I have, but the common takeaway from the past couple issues has been an empty feeling, leaving me expecting something more. I’m actively rooting for Slott and company to turn things around, I believe they will do it, it’s just never fun knowing you’re in the dud zone when your hopes are so high.