I really enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man #8 and it was an issue that did a lot of things, it introduced Kamala Khan to a a new audience of readers and focused on the relationship between Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man, with Spidey serving as a role-model/mentor for someone fairly similar to how he used to be. It progresses Cindy Moon’s storyline, it made the ‘Learning to Crawl’ miniseries slightly worthwhile and it reminded everyone that Mayday Parker aka Spider-Girl is awesome.
But first let’s approach Ms. Marvel. She’s a young teenage superhero struggling to balance her school-life with being a superhero. This is a direct comparison to how Peter Parker started out as Spider-Man and that made this crossover a fairly important one, both for Ms. Marvel as a character, and for her readers. As a Spider-Man fan it was great to see a sort-of callback to the struggling Spider-Man of the past in Kamala Khan, but as a comic book fan in general it was nice to see Ms. Marvel get the affirmation that she needed from Spider-Man when he told her she was doing great.
Dan Slott and Christos Gage penned a neat little plot and script that allowed Ms. Marvel to shine. Her absolute fan-girl inspired excitement overload at getting to do the Slingshot Maneuver with Spider-Man was excellent and really helped to sell her as a teenage girl who is a little out of her depth and still finding her feet. She’s also, for now at least, a fun character with fun powers which helped to really lighten this comic book issue up, and she complimented Spider-Man perfectly.
As for Spider-Man, he once again felt like a supporting character in his own book, which is almost fair enough given that this was a crossover that had the intention of launching Ms. Marvel to new readers. However we still haven’t really seen any aftermath from the Superior Spider-Man storyline and that was eight issues ago now. It seems like the wreckage of Doctor Octopus’ time as Spider-Man has been put on hold and that’s a bit frustrating to me. Why isn’t Slott fully committing to exploring all of the repurcussions of Peter getting his body back?
His decision to do this isn’t helping other characters either. The fact that Spider-Man is getting sidelined is having an adverse effect on new characters like Silk. Her storyline was developed in this issue as we see her on her own trying to make a go of things at the Fact Channel. However, the writing in Silk’s panels is fairly sloppy, one minute she’s talking to her boss about Silk’s outfit being tacky, then she disappears when a crime is reported and suddenly Silk has a new outfit. It’s almost transparent that Cindy Moon is Silk and it’s an absolute miracle/plot contrivance that Natalie Long doesn’t immediately figure it out.
Talking of plot contrivances, Slott’s handling of Silk and her Spider-powers is leaving a lot to be desired. There’s already questions about why Silk’s powers are better than Peter’s even though they were bitten by the same spider. But now it seems that Silk’s webbing/powers are similar to the Green Lantern, and by that I mean that it appears Silk can do whatever the hell she wants with her webbing, whether that’s make it an insulator, cushioned enough to catch a helicopter, or allow her to make a perfectly formed lycra super-suit. It’s just confusing and quite lazy in my opinion.
I also dislike Silk’s new suit. I think it’s rendered what was quite a raw suit, that epitomized the characters upbringing and lengthy imprisonment into something quite reductive and generic. I liked the thrown together, rather brash, webbing coverall of Silk’s old costume and thought she looked badass. Now she looks like some sort of Spider-Ninja.
Not even the surprise revelation of the henchman that had a problem with Spider-Man’s identity can help take away from the fact that Peter Parker’s storyline seems to be advancing so slowly, and is only going to get even more detailed by the Spider-Verse event. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the Clash reveal and definitely didn’t see it coming but I know that the development of Peter Parker employing his ex-nemesis from the Learning to Crawl miniseries isn’t going to move forward for quite some time, just like Anna Marie Marconi’s decision to continue Otto Octavius’ cybernetics research.
So why is Spider-Man’s storyline advancement being stunted? Well, for the Spider-Verse event which has so far been intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable which leaves me a little conflicted. Especially after the additional storyline gave us the introduction of Daemos and Mayday Parker as significant players in the storyline event. Daemos appears to be a generic Morlun copy, only bigger and slightly more evil. Why is he slightly more evil? Well he wants to kill a baby and he’s introduced by killing off the only Peter Parker and Mary Jane that end up happily married and with a family.
Whilst others are probably getting tired of the gratuitous killings of random obscure Spider-Men to highlight the danger of the Inheritors I’m still quite enjoying it and I can see what Dan Slott was going for here. Up until now the Spider-Men he’d killed off had been fairly unimportant and hadn’t really featured in a comic book in the past. This time the MC2 Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were recognisible, much-loved characters. It’s clear that Slott is trying to accelerate things along as well as cement Daemos as perhaps the most dangerous of the Inheritors so far.
However It’s such a shame that he does so by reducing almost everyone involved into a stereotype and filling the story with so much cliched dialogue that it’s almost hard to take seriously. To make matters worse Slott even has the audacity to retcon Mayday Parker’s entire belief and value system by having her forgo her father’s promises in favour of revenge and retribution subsequently reducing her to a one-note character of vengeance. With that being said Humberto Ramos’ art really does make her look a million dollars.
All in all this was a comic that really focused on the women of Marvel’s world with Cindy Moon, Kamala Khan and Mayday Parker all getting their chance to shine. However it saddens me to say that of the three, only the non-Spider-Man related character truly stood out with Silk and Spider-Girl desperately needing significantly more depth and characterisation if they want people to care about them in the Spider-Verse. And to make matters worse Peter Parker himself isn’t much better. To you guys this may seem like a very negative way to end a comic-book review that opened with ‘I really enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man #8’, and to be honest it sort-of is. But I maintain that just because I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better!
Check out Whatever a Spider Can’s other Spider-Verse comic book recaps and reviews
Amazing Spider-Man #8 Recap,
Amazing Spider-Man #7 Recap and Review
Amazing Spider-Man #6 Recap and Review
Spider-Man Team up #1 Recap and Review
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