“…Listening is always the answer. Young, Spider. In combat, and in all aspects of life. When you listen you open your mind into a world of possibility.”
Gwen gives Peter an offer he can refuse and Spidey teams up with the Black Panther.
Writer- Robbie Thompson
Artist- Andre Lima Araujo
Colors- Jim Campbell
Letterers- Travis Lanham
Cover- Khary Randolph & Emilo Lopez
Editors- Darren Shan, Nick Lowe, Axel Alonso, & Joe Quesada
Story- The issue starts off with Gwen proposing that Peter help Flash out with his studies. Peter is incredibly hesitant but he does not outright reject her offer. The scene transitions to Spidey patrolling the city when his Spider-Sense suddenly goes off. His sense leads him to an underground warehouse.
In the warehouse he sees a group of men and several crates. Just before Spidey has a chance to engage the men, he is stopped by the Black Panther.
The Black Panther tells Spidey that these men have stolen Vibranium, a special metal that is native to Wakanda, and that he aims to get it back. The two team up and take down the thieves. Everything is going smoothly until the villain the Klaw shows up and overpowers both heroes with a vibranium crafted device that produces sound waves.
Both heroes are powerless until Spidey manages to turn the tables. Spidey crafts some webbed vibranium ear muffs to absorb the sound waves and proceeds to knock out the Klaw. After the battle Black Panther praises Spidey and tells him that he can visit Wakanda anytime and offers Spidey a bit of advice.
Black Panther’s advice being: “Listening is the answer. Young Spider. In combat, and in all aspects of life. When you listen you open your mind into a world of possibility.”
Spidey as Peter takes Black Panther’s advice to heart. Peter truly listens to Gwen’s proposal of helping Flash and agrees though begrudgingly. Likewise, Flash begrudgingly accepts to take Peter as a tutor on the condition that Gwen and Peter both tutor him.
Analysis- The Spidey book has been making improvements in its characterization, plot and dialogue (albeit steadily). Problems that I have had with earlier issues are mostly addressed in this issue. Even some problems that are as recent as last issue are addressed. The problems I have with earlier issues is Gwen’s lack of character and Peter’s relationship with Flash. One that still persists into this issue with the misuse of Spidey’s Spider-Sense. The misuse of his Spider-Sense however does not completely derail my enjoyment for this issue fortunately.
Pro- (Peter at School) (1) Initially when Gwen proposes the idea of Peter helping Flash, I was disappointed. I was disappointed in the writer and the character of Gwen. I knew that having Peter tutor could potentially lead to an interesting development but it seems selfish of Gwen to ask Peter to help her boyfriend in such a way. But as I read on, I learned that Gwen is actually trying to make both Peter and Flash happy, the two people she cares about. The development of her character is refreshing and it is about time she gets some character development.
(2) The another important aspect that is addressed this issue is the whole tutoring and Flash’s situation. I always found it curious that Peter, a brilliant student, got assigned a tutor and Flash, who is failing most of his subjects did not get a tutor. This problem is given a solution in this issue as well through Gwen’s efforts.
(3) The last aspect of Peter’s school life that is fleshed out is the dynamic between Peter and Flash. I never bought the idea of Peter putting up with Flash’s bullying but Gwen logically tells Peter that the two need not hate each other. It is not the way I envisioned the outcome of Peter’s bullying problem but I will take it.
(Black Panther as a Pro) Black Panther is one of the several highlights of this issue. He is incredible to watch in action. He has solid characterization and offers Spidey some solid advice that fits organically with the plot of this issue. Black Panther essentially tells Spidey to have an open-mind and to listen to opposing views. When Spidey as Peter apply the advice, it helps him to come to terms with Flash and Gwen.
This issue does clarify Black Panther’s abilities as well. “It’s like my spidey-sense. But way faster. And more intuitive.”
Although, Black Panther is amazing in this issue he does not take undermine Spidey in his own book. Black Panther offers Spidey praise for being knowledgeable and a capable fighter. In addition, Spidey is the one to take down the main villain of the issue.
Overall, I feel this issue gives a great introduction to the Black Panther. The way they compare his abilities to Spidey’s also serve to tell the reader that if they like Spidey then they will like Black Panther without beating the reader over the head.
(Spidey/Peter as a Pro)- Spidey does shine in this issue in numerous occasions. Firstly, he is knowledgeable in knowing what vibranium is. He beats Black Panther to the punch in describing it o the reader. Secondly, he defeats the villain in logical way that did not scream overly convenient. This additionally points to fine writing on Thompson’s part. There is a clear set up to the solution. Thirdly, the character of Peter grows in that he opens his mind to the helping out Flash.
(Quips) Lastly, the quips in this issue are solid. The quips are good in the sense that captures Spidey’s personality and sense of humor. I liked what he asks Black Panther whether he was bitten by a radioactive panther. Another good quip is when he makes fun of the Klaw’s introduction. “You are no match for the hand of the Klaw,” The Klaw. In response Spidey says, “Isn’t that a little redundant.” It is funny because I was actually thinking the same thing when I read the Klaw’s introduction.
(Villain as a Pro)- The Klaw is the first villain in the run of these Spidey comics to make an actual first introduction. Most of the villains that appear in these Spidey comics are foes that he has faced off screen. It is refreshing to see a villain that the reader and Spidey are introduced to for the first time together. The villain’s characterization is done well. His motivations are clear in that he wants to overthrow Wakanda and become its ruler. It is simple but clear and ambitious.
Another to note about this villain is that is actually pretty capable. Black Panther notes that he has defeated him before but the Klaw, the main villain of the issue, has learned from his mistakes. He crafts a vibranium sound cannon which knocks both Spidey and Black Panther.
(Artwork)- The cover for this issue is easily my favorite so far. The art of the cover works well at staying true to Araujo art style well at the same time offering its own flare. Kudos to Khary Randolph and Emilo Lopez for the cover art.
The art inside in the book is impressive as well. I love Araujo’s depiction of the Black Panther. I, in particular love how Araujo depicts Black Panther’s fast movement.
(Con) In terms of cons for this issue, I only have one but it is a big one. Thompson in this issue as well as in the prior misuses the Spider-Sense for the sake of plot progression. In Spidey #6 and this issue, the Spider-Sense serves as a crime detector. Last time I checked the Spider-Sense alarms Spidey of danger to his safety. While he is on patrol in this issue it alarms him to a group of thieves. To make matters worse, before Black Panther tells him that they are thieves Spidey is ready to beat them down. Spidey’s Spider-Sense is on Minority Report level which makes no sense.
This misuse of Spidey’s Spider-Sense comes off as lazy writing. It is misused in a way to get Spidey magically into the underground warehouse.
Grade- Spidey #7 surpasses the previous issues and elevates the enjoyment. I have been enjoying the Spidey book ever since issue #4. I believe that the Spidey team has found its way since then and I have been enjoying seeing their progress thus far. I do sincerely hope they fix the Spider-Sense because it has no business being a crime detector. This issue of Spidey gets a Solid B.