Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #8 (2016)

asm8coverDark Kingdom Part 3: Black & White

It is the third and final issue of the Dark Kingdom story arc.  So, what will we see as the story wraps up?  Will Mr. Negative get his long sought after revenge?  Will Lian’s plot to kill Spider-Man with his Spider-Mobile work?  If it does work, do we still have to finish the Amazing Grace story line? Will there be new type of web cartridge featured (perhaps Slither Webs?)?  Will this issue break the story arc out of the C grade it’s been stuck in?

There is only one way to find out, folks.  Keep reading!

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Matteo Buffagni
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petite
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: Feb. 17, 2016


The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

asm8-1After Dr. Wu has successfully created an antidote to Shade and Mr. Negative’s touch, Spider-Man and the local Shanghai PD lay their trap.  Peter shows up to deliver a humanitarian award to Shen Quinghao.  There is a flashy media attention getting press conference set up to get the award up to Quinghao, who happens to be on the 100th floor of a Parker Industries building via Spider-Mobile.  Lian drives him and Mr. Negative provides running commentary as he watches in anticipation of Parker slipping the “near lethal” dose of Shade to Quinghao.  When nothing happens, Mr. Negative grabs some henchmen and has Cloak teleport them to the ceremony.

It becomes a full fledged shoot out and Mr. Negative realizes that he has been played.  Peter ducks out and returns as Spider-Man very smartly cures Cloak first to take out Mr. Negative’s escape route and despite Quinghao getting hit with an accidental shot, all seems to go well.  Cloak is taking care of Dagger, the police have Mr. Negative surrounded, and Spider-Man takes a moment to congratulate everyone on a job well done.

That’s when Lian attacks.  Remember she made a deal with Zodiac to kill Spider-Man in order to save her mother who is dying of cancer.  Instead of re-programming the Spider-Mobile (a la “My Killer, My Car”), she is driving the vehicle herself.  A brief fight ensues and thanks to Cloak and Dagger they all end up on the ground floor in one piece.  Mr. Negative slips out in the confusion, Cloak and Dagger swear vengeance, Spider-Man forgives Lian, and all is well.

What Passed:

asm8-2All in all, this was a satisfactory story to read.  The story was not too decompressed.  While this story certainly could have been told in two issues, it also could have been stretched to four and I’m glad it wasn’t.

The jokes were mostly well timed.  I particularly liked the one in the above panel and this one to the left.

Spider-Man doesn’t come off as a total loser who bumbles his way through until some side character saves the day.  No web diaper.  No unzipped fly.  

There is one particular panel where Spider-Man is hanging on the side of the building and he shoots a web (a regular web at that!) to catch the Spider-Mobile which is tipping backward.  Since his hand is on a window, the glass doesn’t hold and it shatters.  I know that his spider sense should have warned him, but there is enough precedent that the sense doesn’t always warn properly or he tends to ignore it, especially when he is distracted.

I don’t even mind too much that Cloak and Dagger come to the aid at the end since this has been very much their story all along.  It makes sense that after Spidey saved them they would help him out in return.  Plus it provides Mr. Negative a chance to slip away to fight again another day.

To add to our list of new Spider-Man weaponry, we can add homing tracers that home in on existing tracers and perform some function (in this case administering antidote).

Cartridge #3 – acid webbing
Cartridge #6 – micro-coiled z-metal
Cartridge #7 – quick drying wet cement webbing
Cartridge #8 – expanding web foam
Micro Spider-Tracers
Homing Tracers

Buffagni’s faces are getting much better.  Plus check out the cover.  The spider appears to be glowing blue instead of green.  I’m sure it is nothing, but I think it looks much better than the green glow.


What Failed:

Nothing, really.  It is more of what just didn’t work for me.

I’m not a Mr. Negative fan.  I don’t hate him, it is just that he inspires me about as much as the Lizard.  I find myself not really caring a whole lot about his feud with Quinghao.  Cloak and Dagger’s transformation was interesting, but not enough to float the three issues.

I liked the side of the building fight against the Spider-Mobile with the long panels.  I never felt that Spider-Man was in danger during it.  In fact, I never felt that Spidey was in danger the entire comic.

I didn’t like Spidey explaining the Admiral Akbar joke.  I think everyone who would understand teh explanation understood the joke.

I said that Cloak and Dagger’s end rescue was to be expected.  However, it comes after way too many saves from other characters in the past several comics.

How does Dagger’s suit cut THAT low?  If she had been in the Deadpool movie wearing that outfit, it may have tipped the rating to NC-17.

In the end, I didn’t hate it.  I didn’t love it.  I liked it a lot better before I had to sit down and think about why I liked it.  I think it is because it didn’t stink.

Extra Credit:

I’ve got nothing pertaining tot he story.  However, I will award extra credit to whoever tells me why we have VC’s in front of our letterers’ names.  I was going to look it up, but Carolina is playing Dook right now and in this part of the country, that huge.

Final Grade:


What’s Next?

Scorpio’s back.  Oh wait, I should have used an exclamation point.


I am really digging this cover art.

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(14) Comments

  1. Yvonmukluk

    So, um...apparently Cloak & Dagger are based out of Honh Kong now? Beause I'm sure the Chinese government's going to be 100% OK with American superheroes running around on their territory full-time.I guess Hong Kong is apparently the next step for all superheroes who were evil. Maybe they can hang out with Cassandra Cai-oh.

  2. ryan3178

    A very important factor that has also been swept under the rug now. Mr. Negative really isn't Martin Li. Martin Li was a person on the boat they were being smuggled aboard that he killed. Mr. Negative's Martin Li persona is the guilt for killing that and taking his name. The rest is right in there, but the truth is, Mr. Negative really isn't Martin Li, he was a no name who lost it and killed Martin and then he was reborn after taking the Shade drug.

  3. Chase the Blues Away

    #10 - great story!#11 - I can understand Peter forgiving Lian. What I can't understand is Peter utterly failing in his responsibility to his company. This makes the second corporate saboteur Peter decided deserves a second chance despite the harm caused to his company, threatening the livelihood of his employees and potentially putting his customers at risk. Peter has great power as the CEO of Parker Industries, but he abdicates his responsibility left, right and center. Thanks, Slott.

  4. Mark Alford - Post author

    I believe that Peter is willing to forgive Lian because he feels guilty for not helping her sooner; however, that is me reading context into the story as it is never actually stated. It is the only thing that makes sense to me. As for why he has such a lackadaisical attitude toward people trying to kill him? Maybe this Peter has so much hubris that he feels they will all fail, so in his pride he "forgives" them and gives out second chances like nobody's business.

  5. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#1 - So that's it. A whole studio for lettering? Just goes to show how much I know about the job. My only real encounter with letterer came at a con. Everyone was in line for an artist and my friend and I saw this guy at the next table over working away with nobody in line to see him. We went over there and asked who he was. After replying that he was a letterer, we said, "Oh, that sounds cool." He just said (without ever looking up at us), "No. It's not." After a bit of awkward silence, we left and went to some vendors.

  6. Jack

    Why is Peter so sluggish about people trying to do him in? Is this Slott's notion of what he thinks it means to be a merciful person? As if there's no line between "Oh well, she was snotty toward me, but I can tell she's had a bad day so I'll let it go" and "Oh well, this one collaborated with a terrorist named Ghost who blew up our facility, and this other one collaborated with Zodiac to get me assassinated, but I can tell they've had a bad day so I'll let it go."

  7. Ryan3178

    "Oh you betrayed and almost tried to kill me, Lian." "But that's ok, hey the Mets are playing." Instead of you know, asking your rich and connected boyfriend to help with treatments. No trust a super villain on SHIELD's top 10 list who used a drug on who knows. Then just inject it into your mom. No questions asked. Especially when he already sits on the Board. But hey, he needs an inside person still.

  8. krankyboy

    #2 - Even worse when the covers are the best thing about it. Alex Ross really knocked it out of the park with this one, although it's sadly an image we'll never see in this ASM run since the costume is basically now of the "turn on" and "turn off" variety.

  9. Extreme Spider

    The thing I dug this issue is Martin Li and Mr.Negative coming together for a purpose like Banner and Hulk does occasionally after that it's a meh issue. I'm just worried Slott is gonna pick up on the Li thing until the year 2025.

  10. Realspideyfan

    I love how blasé' everything is to Peter when he finds out the girl he was seeing betrayed him and he acts like "oh is it Thursday?" Even Peter is bored of these stories in his own book.

  11. Frontier

    So...Lian isn't arrested for aiding and abetting a Terrorist organization? Even after trying to kill Peter? I mean, I know she had her reasons, and I can understand being willing to do anything to help your mother, but I don't think it should just be "forgive and forget" towards her.

  12. RDMacQ

    I think it's really kind of sad when the best compliment you can give ASM these days is "I really didn't hate the book as much as usual."

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