The Amazing Spider-Man #8
Review by Paul Bowler
Peter Parker has discovered that an old enemy Mister Negative and his gang, the Inner Demons, have been disturbing the designer drug Shade in Shanghai. The drug warps and enhances the users’ dark side. Spider-Man’s allies Cloak and Dagger have already been affected, and have become Mister Negative’s lieutenants in his vendetta against Spider-Man. Now in The Amazing Spider-Man #8 Peter Parker and his new company are threatened by Mister Negative’s plan to invert Parker to his cause, while unknown to Peter someone inside Parker Industries has been secretly conspiring with the terrorist group ZODIAC, and now they must honour their pact and deliver what they’ve promised the organization – to kill the Amazing Spider-Man!
The Dark Kingdom Part 3: Black & White, concludes in Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #8 as the global business world of Parker Industries, with its cutting edge high-tech innovations, collides head on with Spider-Man’s crime-fighting responsibilities to make life even more complicate for Peter Parker. Dan Slott builds the momentum right from the outset, with Dr Yao Wu quickly rustling up an antidote in his lab at Parker Industries Shanghai HQ for the officers Cloak and Dagger dosed with the Shade during their dramatic face-off with Spider-Man last issue. From here events quickly move to a presentation of an award which also happens to involve the Spider-Mobile, or more precisely the vehicles revolutionary green fuel and engines, a technology, which thanks to the funding from Shen Quinghao, will now make the new engines available nationwide.
As if things aren’t hectic enough for Peter Parker, he’s also still pretending to be under Mister Negative’s influence – his corrupting touch only works once and as he already took control of Spider-Man before in the Dark Reign: Mister Negative miniseries so it won’t affect Peter now – but it’s a situation Spider-Man can use to his advantage. Add the fact the presentation also involves Peter taking a ride in the Spider-Mobile with his current girlfriend, Lian, who has been secretly working for ZODIAC to get experimental medical treatments for her terminally ill mother, and it’s not long before her intricate web of deceit beings to unravel.
The art by Matteo Buffagnio puts the pedal to the metal, quite literally this issue, especially when the Spider-Mobile goes all Spider-Slayer when Spider-Man makes an appearance! Matteo Buffagni’s artwork really excels here, if you liked the Spider-Mobile before, you are going to go absolutely crazy for the wall crawlers not-quite-so-friendly-neighbourhood set of high-tech wheels now! Things are compounded further because Peter’s girlfriend is at the wheel, particularly when she has a crisis of conscience at a crucial moment.
The action is fast and furious, as Spider-Man slugs it out with the Spider-Mobile in what quickly become a death-defying chase that plays out against the gleaming backdrop of the Shanghai skyline in spectacular fashion, and colorist Marte Gracia’s exquisite use of shade and tone ensures this is another hugely impressive issue – and of course there’s a spectacular Spider-Mobile themed cover by Alex Ross to enjoy as well! The characters and their expressions convey all the tension and drama perfectly, there are some particularly emotionally charged scenes amidst all the non-stop action as well, and Mister Negative’s grand scheme to expose Shen Quinghao’s past hit’s a snag after it becomes clear Sun’s officers are prepared to deal with the Shade.
Cloak and Dagger also enter the fray once more at a pivotal moment, however this time; Spidey is ready for Cloak’s teleporting ability thanks to some nifty Parker tech. This in turn paves the way for Cloak and Dagger to eventually escape Mister Negative’s influence, it’s a moment which is of particular significance for the characters, especially for Dagger, and I like the how Cloak’s motivation to take such drastic action is cleverly juxtaposed by Lian’s reasons for selling codes to ZODIAC to get treatments for her dying mother.
Dan Slott has crafted another superb issue here. The pace of the story seamlessly hits each emotional beat to perfection. There are some inspired moment of humour as well, including a hilarious Star Wars reference involving a certain Mon Calamari Admiral’s iconic catchphrase, there’s also gets a surprise communiqué midway thought the battle with the Spider-Mobile, and the mood set during Cloak and Dagger’s dramatically OTT closing statement is brilliantly quipped off the page by Spider-Man’s witty aside.
After the build up to the climatic events in this issue, everything did seem to get wrapped up a little bit too conveniently. Mister Negative and his alter ego is still out there somewhere as well, but its good to have Cloak and Dagger back, and it will be interesting to see how Lian’s actions will impact on her relationship with Peter from this point.
The Amazing Spider-Man #8 is an exciting and action-packed issue. Featuring a great story by Dan Slott, with excellent art by Matteo Buffagnio, and vivid colors by Marte Gracia, this is another knockout issue of Marvel’s flagship Spider-Man title, and everything is now set for the new story arc Scorpio Rising beginning in March!
Publisher: Marvel / Writer: Dan Slott / Art: Matteo Buffagni /Colorist: Marte Gracia
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit / Cover Artist: Alex Ross