Amazing Spider-Man has been an interesting comic to follow in the post-Secret Wars relaunch. The new direction Dan Slott has taken with Peter Parker and Spider-Man isn’t something that fans are familiar with for the character. So far the latest volume of Amazing Spider-Man has had its fair share of ups and downs as it is still finding its footing. This latest adventure featuring the return of Mr. Negative has been a good example of these ups and downs. Now with Amazing Spider-Man #8 being the final part of this adventure in Shanghai things can hopefully end on a high note. Let’s find out if that is the case with Amazing Spider-Man #8.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Matteo Buffagni
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Dr. Yao Wu’s lab Dr. Wu finishes curing the cops from the American drug (as Dr. Wu and Shanghai’s Chief of Police term it) of “Shade” Mr. Negative used on them. Spider-Man asks how they can use the Shade antidote to cure on Mr. Negative. Dr. Wu says he loaded the cure into Spider-Man’s spider-tracers and made some dart guns for the cops. The Chief wants his men ready to fight Mr. Negative even though Spider-Man wants to go it alone.
Later that night, outside Parker Industries Shanghai HQ Peter is giving a presentation on the Spider-Mobile. Phillip continues the presentation by mentioning Quinghao’s Brighter Tomorrow campaign they have started which will include rolling out the engine used in the Spider-Mobile to everyone to help provide a greener fuel option for the world. Peter then tells everyone that because of this Parker Industries is giving Sen Quinghao the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
In order to give Quinghao his award Peter rides the Spider-Mobile up the building with his girlfriend Lian Tang driving. On the drive up the building Peter wonders what Lian needed Spider-Man for. Lian says it was just something about a promise to her mother.
They soon reach the top floor and Peter walks to give Qinghao his award. As he does this Mr. Negative watches from his hideout, ready for Peter (who he still believes is under his control) to give the trophy he believes is laced with Shade and force Quinghao to tell the truth of his backstory. Mr. Negative is surprised that Quinghao is unaffected by the Shade. While Mr. Negative is distracted by Quinghao’s normal speech Peter steps out and sneaks back in as Spider-Man in preparation to ambush Mr. Negative.
Spider-Man’s plan works and Mr. Negative has Cloak teleport him and his men to Parker Industries. As soon as Mr. Negative and his men teleport in Spider-Man and the police launch a counter-attack. Spider-Man quickly sneaks up on Cloak and is able to tag Cloak with the antidote.
Meanwhile, in all of the gunfire Quinghao gets shot by one of Mr. Negative’s men. Before Spider-Man can react he gets attacked by Lian in the Spider-Mobile. Lian knocks Spider-Man outside and tells Spider-Man that she promises to kill him quick.
Back inside the building Mr. Negative is able to use this as an opportunity to attack the Chief and get Quinghao infected by his Shade. At the same time Cloak is able to sneak up on Dagger and knock her out.
Back outside Spider-Man continues to dodge Lian’s attacks. Mockingbird suddenly calls Spider-Man. Mockingbird informs Spider-Man that Scorpio has been sending Lian’s mother experimental drugs to heal her cancer.
Back inside the building Cloak uses the antidote on Dagger. While he does that Mr. Negative orders Qunghao to tell everyone about his past. Just as Quinghao is going to tell the world of his past the Chief of police shoots the TV cameras, killing the broadcast in the process. Mr. Negative angrily tells Quinghao that since no one can hear what he is saying that Quinghao should just throw himself out the window.
Outside Spider-Man tries to reason with Lian, explaining how Lian’s mother wouldn’t want to see her like this. Before they can finish their fight Quinghao jumps out the window and Lian decides to save him. This causes the Spider-Mobile to lose its balance and fall of the side of the building. Spider-Man tries to save them but his webs aren’t strong enough. Luckily Cloak and Dagger have healed and Cloak uses his powers to teleport Lian and Quinghao to safety.
Spider-Man asks Cloak and Dagger if they are fully back to their old selves. They say they are.
Emergency crews soon arrive on scene and take Quinghao into an ambulance. As he is wheeled into the ambulance the Chief tells Quinghao not to worry about his past because he is doing great things for China’s future. Philip doesn’t share that sentiment and leaves says he won’t be working with Quinghao anymore.
Elsewhere, Lian is beating herself up over what she has done. Spider-Man tells Lian that he understand and that Peter does as well. Spider-Man continues on to say they are going to give Lian a second chance by having her act as a double agent in order to take down Zodiac. Lian isn’t sure but Spider-Man says he is.
Spider-Man then asks the Chief about Mr. Negative. The Chief says that Mr. Negative escaped and they won’t be able to find him since there is a large crowd around them.
Cloak uses his powers to teleport himself, Cloak and Spider-Man to Mr. Negative’s secret base that they remember being in. In the base all they find is a recording from Martin Li/Mr. Negative. Martin informs the trio that he and Mr. Negative are gone but they will return to make China theirs. He ends his message by telling Spider-Man, Cloak and Dagger to leave and go back to America.
The three leave to go outside where Cloak and Dagger tell Spider-Man that they will be staying in Shanghai in order to stop Mr. Negative. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #8 won’t be an issue that will blow any fan away with its ending but does give a solid conclusion to this story involving Mr. Negative’s latest plot. Even if Mr. Negative is one of the weaker Spider-Man villains Dan Slott is able to deliver a lot of good character work to make you care about his plot that takes a more personal tone. At the same time there were a few sub-plots that didn’t make complete sense as they felt rushed into the story to fill a page count.
Before focusing on those negatives I have to give Slott a lot of credit for making Mr. Negative a compelling villain in this story. Mr. Negative has never been one of my favorite villains as I always felt his plots made him look one-dimensional. But in Amazing Spider-Man #8 and the issue preceding it made for a compelling reason why Mr. Negative is more than he seems. His story also made sense that he would cross paths with Spider-Man in the new world that Peter Parker exists in now. The connection that Slott draws at least makes things feel more personal not just for Mr. Negative but for Peter as well since his plot closely affects what Parker Industries is doing.
By tying things so closely to Parker Industries business Slott was able to reestablish Spider-Man’s history with Mr. Negative. This established history allowed for us to see how Spider-Man can use his past experience to plan out an encounter and actually get one up on his villain. This at least gave us a better idea of how Peter is now a different Spider-Man, especially with how Miles Morales own series started a few weeks back.
I also enjoyed how this story was used to establish a new status quo for Cloak and Dagger. These fan favorite characters have always been floating around and now at least Slott has given them a direction other Marvel writers can pick up on. It also gives Mr. Negative another superhero threat to deal with outside of Spider-Man which can hopefully give him some more depth the next time we see him.
Matteo Buffagni making a claim to being one of the artist Marvel should team with Slott for future Spider-Man arcs. Buffagni did a very good job making everything feel big even though we were confide to one location. There was a good sense of danger that Buffagni was able to execute through his artwork. A good example of this is when Quinghao threw himself out the window. Buffagni was able to make you wonder how things would turn out and he showed us that there wasn’t going to be much danger by giving the visual that Spider-Man’s spider-sense didn’t go off.
The Bad: The one place where Amazing Spider-Man #8 tripped over was with how rushed Lian Tang’s sub-plot with her mother and working with Zodiac felt. There hasn’t been much time to give this subplot breathe and accept for the reader after only being introduced to it a few issues back. This is where Amazing Spider-Man’s release schedule hurts the story because it doesn’t feel like we could fully get behind Lian’s plight.
This lack of plot development for Lian also makes Spider-Man recruiting Lian feel foolish. The reason is because so far we haven’t really seen how deep Lian’s connections in Zodiac go. So since we haven’t seen how deep they go how can we fully believe that Lian can help Spider-Man and SHIELD take down Zodiac. There should’ve been more time given to Lian as a spy within Parker Industries so we can see her relationships in Zodiac develop. And by giving it more time Lian working as double agent would’ve been given more resonance since she will actually be a great asset for Spider-Man.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #8 didn’t have the best ending of a story but it delivered were it had to. Dan Slott made Mr. Negative’s latest appearance have some resonance as it was closely tied to Peter’s new status quo with Parker Industries. Slott also was able to show us how this new status quo has helped Peter become a better Spider-Man as we got to see our hero get the one up on a villain, even if the plan didn’t go as planned. Now that the story is moving away from Shanghai I am interested to see what Slott has in story next for the globetrotting Peter Parker.