Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #8 Review: The Bogenrieder Perspective



Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_4_8_Textless“I promise to make this quick.”

We reach the core of the Dark Kingdom… and it sucks.

 

Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #8

“The Dark Kingdom, Pt. 3: Black and White”

Writer: Dan Slott

Pencils: Matteo Buffagni

Inks: Matteo Buffagni

Colors: Marte Garcia

Cover: Alex Ross

Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis

A note from Neil: A personal apology from me. I was seriously bogged down in other works, school and so many other factors that I can’t even begin to fathom explaining them, but in short going to my local comic store is not high on my priority list right now. I don’t wanna sound like I’m making excuses, but I can’t think of any other way to phrase it. You guys deserve better, and this next week I’m going to be seriously hunker down and deliver.

Plot (there’s a plot?):

Peter gets an antidote from Dr. Wu, and Spider-Man takes issue with Chief Inspector Sun calling Mr. Negative American when he hails from China. (Social Justice 1-2-3, Woo-woo!) Apparently he loaded it into the Spider-Tracers (how did he have access to technology from a completely different division of the company?!), and Sun does a total 180 of Wu on us, thanking Spider-Man for his assistance. (Oh good, he got over his borderline fanatical nationalism)

Peter holds a press conference, announcing that the green-energy Spider-Mobile engine will be released to the public. (again, I cite Ends of the Earth as a reason to not release high-end tech to the general public) Lia(e)n expresses disappointment in Spider-Man’s lack of attendance, and Peter reassures her that he’ll be there. (I think you should get Hobbie to hitch a ride on the outside of a jet so you can both be there (and yes, that was a 1.2 reference))ASM2015008-int2-2-b0528

The Quinghao guy announces that he is admittedly being selfish in his goal, and Polar Bear Man teleports in with his Inner Demons thanks to Nega-Cloak. Mr Negative realizes it’s a trap, and Spider-Man does his best Admiral Ackbar impression. (I guess now that Disney owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm that won’t raise any fists) Spidey uses the Spider-tracer he got on Cloak to lock on and cure him of the Shade overdose. (Druggie-ex-machina) Peter jinxes himself when Lia(e)n comes a-blazin in with the Spider-Mobile (btw, they totally stole that arachnid mode from SWAT Kats), and Peter somehow convinces her to stop because that’s what her mother wouldn’t want. (Didn’t stop her from attacking you. You’ve never met her mom, maybe for all you know her mom is how Lia(e)n and Scorpio met)

Cloak turns Dagger back to normal, and Mr. Negative gets the Quinghao guy to confess that he was Silverfang, and committed notorious deeds under that alias. Mr. Negative throws him out the window, and Lia(e)n catches him. (Why?! You have the moral ambiguity of IDW’s Prowl, what’s with the change of heart so fast?!) Polar Bear Man escapes, and Cloak and Dagger save Peter and Lia(e), and Peter forgives Lia(e)n for assisting Scorpio. (Why?!) The three heroes go up to a rooftop and monologue, and our story ends. (For now…)

Thoughts:

…No.

Mark was being nice when he gave it a C. His opinion and all, that’s perfectly mine. But it’s not me. Oh, no. We’re going all in on this one. Let’s get the pros over with. Matteo Buffgani is improving on his art. It appears far more stylized, almost in complete contrast to Humberto Ramos; whereas Ramos is loose and uncontrollable, Buffgani applies far more control than necessary. The coloring also works a bit to his advantage as well.

There. That’s it. Let’s get to the bad stuff and get this over with, because this issue actually made me angry.

First off, beautiful job introducing the Harry Osborn subplot and going absolutely nowhere with it. I’d like to see it built up over more than one issue and have it reintroduced later. Slott, that is not proper storytelling. You cannot just introduce something and bring it back out of nowhere later. That is lazy, and I’m sorry if I sound rude, but this is storytelling 101; continue telling over time rather than just cutting to it at random and calling it a story arc.

Second off, Spider-Man had little to no challenge defeating Mr. Negative and Cloack and Dagger. It ended too easily. Spider-Man shouldn’t have near-complete control over the police force, that was SpOck’s gig. I hate how the cure works completely and has no side-effects that would make Peter regret his decision in any way. All actions have some kind of consqeuence, but here, there were no consequences. Everybody gets away fine. Come on, even Spectacular Spider-Man, a show that was geared towards children, was able to convey the message that every action Peter makes has an unintentional side effect.

But the biggest sin of this book is, ironically, its main protagonist.

That’s right. Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, is our villain.

Peter Parker willingly leaves his suspiciously acting girlfriend in charge of the Spider-Mobile instead of asking her to attend the press conference with him like a couple would do. And then, it takes him several minutes to talk her down after she was poised to murder him just seconds ago, just on the guess that her mother wouldn’t approve. ASM2015008-int2-3-c9e04Again, for all we know, she’s the one who introduced Lia(e)n to Scorpio.

But you wanna know the worst act he commits? He forgives Lia(e)n. Peter forgives a mole for a terrorist organization after she tried to murder him.

I understand that Peter is all about second chances, but there’s a fundamental flaw in this scenario: She just tried to commit an act of first-degree murder. Just because Spider-Man says it’s okay, does not mean he speaks for the police force. For the destruction of several thousand dollars worth of property as well as attempted manslaughter, as well as industrial espionage, she should be spending several years in prison. And Spider-Man lets her go without any problems, and promises to sort things out with the police.

You know what this means, right Crawlspacers? Peter is aiding and abetting a mole for a known terrorist. And, by extension, by dropping all responsibility to bring her in for her crimes that means he is aiding and abetting a terrorist organization. Has his moral compass become so skewed that because he is so cocky with his second chances thing he is allowing a terrorist to walk free simply because he believes she’s a good guy?

The Dark Kingdom’s finale is a disaster on all accounts. Not because the plot was bad, but because they completely changed the character to abdicate his own moral compass and sense of responsibility in order to keep Slott’s pet character on the main roster. It’s mind-boggling to know that our characters are so reversed from what we know and understand about them that I am unwilling to let this book slide on the fact that, for the most part, it was harmless. When you break down your character into a Tony Stark clone who gives away second chances like lifesavers candies, you have completely destroyed the character of Spider-Man.

Final Grade:

F

(14) Comments

  1. Jason

    @13 Thanks. I vaguely remember that now. I do recall wondering if Harry and Liz had gotten back together.

  2. QuilSniv

    @11- The one where he's enjoying the pizza with Liz and his kids, when Regent shows up and saves them. I felt like they could've expanded upon it a bit and have it done in the background, but Slott just drops it and will probably be forgotten for another three issues or so before he remembers it exists. @12-There was one (I think), where they're enjoying dumplings on the roof of the PI headquarters in Shanghai. Not much, but I guess it's better (I use that term loosely, mind you) than the romance between Peter and Cindy. Not a high bar to jump over, though.

  3. Jason

    @1 I completely agree with you. I can't wait until the day I complete my Spider-Man collection and can start readings (and in some cases re-reading) from day one. Even thought it's been mentioned Peter has a girlfriend, I can't recall the two of them actually dating or sharing any romantic moments together. Am I missing something - I had to read the recap page to learn Lian is trying to save her mother. Either this was never introduced or these issues are so undesirable I forget what I've read a couple weeks later.

  4. tickbite

    Don't worry, fellow spider-fans. The new Spidey movie is going to be out in summer 2017. I'm sure they are already hard at work to reboot the book by then. It also sounds like a nice moment to change the writer. Despite what Slott claims online, I'm sure that it's in Marvel's best interest to not have him write the book until he dies.

  5. PeterParkerfan

    The last couple of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issues has been boring IMO. Yeah, they aren't super-awful like the previous ASM relaunch issues (where Peter got overshadowed by the likes of silk, clayton and anna maria), but they're not interesting either. All in all, the stories need more improvement.

  6. krankyboy

    @5 - With his latest relaunch, Marvel has gifted Miles Morales with everything that one associates with Spider-Man -- the Manhattan location, the street level hero status, balancing school and/or regular life with being a superhero, Peter's rogues gallery, the girl problems, the wisecracking in costume (not to mention the costume itself, name, web-shooters, etc). Meanwhile, Peter has been turned into a Tony Stark clone with declining sales. Like you, I wouldn't be surprised if Alonso, Bendis, and the rest of the "brain trust" wouldn't love to replace Spider-Man with MIles. It would constitute some sort of victory for those guys. And I think that in the long term, that may be what they are planning. However, Peter is still the most popular character in the Marvel universe, and MIles is still a bland, unnecessary, and overpowered bore. So that it working against them. Despite this, the editors really don't seem to get Peter Parker at all (and neither does Slott, for that matter).

  7. Cheesedique

    It appears that Marvel have let this particular Parker Industries status quo drone on for too long. Is there any end in sight for this storyline? Superior was an interesting-enough story detour for some people, but if you compare the last 5 years and counting to JMS' 6 years on the title, there seems to be a lot less development or interesting story arcs. And while there were (often great) satellite titles published concurrently, the JMS run was produced monthly in half the issue count in the same time frame.

  8. Mark Alford

    @#5 - I think a lot of people genuinely like the new take on Peter. Many of us here on the site do not because we expect Peter/Spider-Man to behave and interact with others the same way he did pre-OMD through the last several decades. However, a reader who did not start until Civil War has no previous connection and would not see anything wrong with the way Peter behaves. That and since there are no titles like Spectacular Spider-Man or Web of Spider-Man, if you want the real deal, then you have to buy Amazing, and that helps to keep sales numbers high by forcing people who love Spider-Man, but are not happy with the current take, to buy ASM. The thing too, is the Slott is not an awful story teller. He does at moments get Peter right (everyone wanted him to come on this title at first) and he certainly knows the character's history. If we could somehow merge Slott's story ideas with JMS's characterization, we'd knock this title out of the park every issue, I believe. I wouldn't mind global Peter if it still felt like Peter to me. Or heck, just get PAD to write the book and quit making him fit Spidey into major events. That's my two cents worth. I know, I know. Two cents doesn't get you what it used to.

  9. Dan's Lot

    Makes you wonder if Marvel on purpose lets Slott continue to write crap until people gets tired of Amazing Spider-Man so Marvel can kill off Peter Parker and continue with only Miles Morales.

  10. Jack

    In classic Spider-Man stories, Peter usually won by keeping a level head (in spite of his fake "zany" persona), while it was his antagonists who lost by making fatally stupid decisions. Peter would cause his enemies to stumble mentally by mercilessly ridiculing them, and so put them into a blind rage. Slott's Peter is a dimwit, socially and strategically, who can't think three steps ahead. But Slott's story tropes depend on someone being dumb for no good reason.

  11. Frontier

    The Lian thing was just terrible. Understanding her motives is one thing, but Peter still should've turned her into the police and have her really face up to what she did instead of just basically giving her a slap on the wrist. Last I checked, trying to help a loved one, while a sympathetic motive, did not absolve someone of committing crimes or working for a terrorist group, even in the Marvel Universe. And it's completely hypocritical for Peter to forgive Lian after what he did to Sajani, even if Sajani was a terrible person who completely deserved to be fired. All the moreso because Lian's his girlfriend, so it's not like he can say he's unbiased. What is Slott trying to achieve with this run? Showing why Peter can't be a CEO by having him make bad business decisions? Is he trying to show Peter as a flawed hero with too much on his plate by having him make dumb and slightly immoral decisions while completely unaware of the shady stuff going on with his company, like Ock being back and Scorpio being one of his investors? To think this is supposed to be the Peter Parker "We know and love." I don't know what's worse, that Sott thinks this is a good direction for Spider-Man and some fresh, "all-new all Different" stories, or that Marvel is letting this happen and seemingly oblivious to how badly Peter's character has fallen.

  12. ZooM

    This issue just wasn't entertaining and I wish for the day some of those folks over at Marvel getting rid of Slott would come already. No offense to the guy, but he hasn't written anything that's caught my attention for quite some time (if ever) that I can remember. The only reason I'm sticking around is because I love Spidey and I've been a fan since the 90's cartoon.

  13. krankyboy

    The cover is the best thing about the issue. Utterly wasted, of course. Slott should be publicly shamed for what he's done to the greatest -- and still most popular -- character in Marvel Comics history. What's painful for me is that I went back and read a bunch of old issues of Web of Spider-Man recently (the first twenty issues, to be precise). And among the fights with Doctor Octopus and Vulture and Magma, or Peter running around in a loosened tie and rolled up shirt-sleeves chasing stories with Joy Mercado, or a still-unmarried Spidey sharing down time with Mary Jane, was just how much *fun* and true to the character it was. Then, I checked out the issues of Amazing in the 60's and 70's, some of the Roger Stern and Gerry Conway runs, issues of Spectacular and even (just for the heck of it) the first volume of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man. Whether a teen or a young adult, *that* is Peter Parker. That's the guy we know and love. And by connection, that's Spider-Man. Looking at any of the Spider-Man titles in the All-New, All-Different, All-Terrible Marvel (with the notable exception of Spidey, which is the only one worth reading), I feel like I've stepped into a Bizarro world. Multiple Spider-Men and Women, none of whom are faintly interesting. And worst of all, I don't even recognize Peter anymore (although he's been doing out of character things, like revealing his identity to the world, going back to Civil War). What can you even say at this point? Oh well.

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