Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man has gotten off to a surprising fun start. I had a lot of doubts after Spencer’s run on Captain America. Luckily he has been able to do a much better job finding the right voice for Spider-Man than he did for Captain America. While he has taken Peter Parker a few steps back professionally his personal life has gotten a lot more intriguing as he’s renewed a relationship with MJ and has been put in a unique living condition. Now after a story that featured Peter hanging out with his villainous roommate, Boomerang, Spencer is going to have Spider-Man clash with the mysterious Thieves Guild. Let’s see who exactly the Thieves Guild are by checking out Amazing Spider-Man #8.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in the city Spider-Man enjoys the feeling of free-falling.
At a local club a guy named Dave McCauley approaches a woman named Odessa Drake. Dave offers Odessa a big business opportunity that uses the specialty of his firm. Odessa says she is well aware of all the illegal acts Dave and his company are in, listing them all to him.
Odessa then reveals that she actually already knew Dave was in the club and reveals that everyone in the club is their for his trial. She goes on to reveal she is part of the Thieves Guild and they will collect on all the damage Dave and his firm has done. Dave begs Odessa to reconsider but is quickly grabbed by everyone in the club.
Odessa the proclaims that the Thieves Guild will not be hiding in the shadows anymore.
At the Avengers Mansion while the new facilities manager is being given a tour of his duties it is discovered that all the equipment in the display area has been stolen.
At the East River State Park Peter and MJ are on a date. Peter asks MJ how she is doing with her current funds. MJ says she is looking for work since her Stark severance package won’t last forever. This reminds Peter how MJ has held a lot of different jobs.
Tony suddenly calls Peter. Peter puts on his Spider-Man mask to talk to Tony. Tony is surprised to find MJ with Spider-Man. Tony and MJ show some antagonism after how their professional relationship ended. Spider-Man gets Tony back on track. Tony reveals that he needs Spider-Man’s help as there is something going on that affects all of the superheroes.
Earlier that morning at Stark Tower when Tony goes into his armory he discovers that his entire Iron Man armor inventory in the tower has been stolen.
At the same time in Fairfax, Virginia while Captain America fights an army of Nuke clones his shield gets stolen.
Elsewhere while Thor is fighting the Wrecking Crew his hammer also gets stolen during the fight.
Back in the present Spider-Man learns all this. MJ asks if this means Spider-Man is an Avenger. Peter says he is not sure but will go check things out.
After Peter leaves MJ is approached by someone from out of nowhere.
Elsewhere Odessa tells assembles the Thieves Guild. She gives a speech about how vigilantes, criminals and others have caused chaos in the world. She tells everyone that the time is now to restore honor to the Thieves Guild and disperses them to announce their rebirth.
Across Earth members of the Thieves Guild enter Avengers’ headquarters, Sanctum Sanctorum, Xavier Mansion and Punishers home to steal various items.
Back in New York City Spider-Man wonders what is going on with all the superhero items being stolen. Spider-Man makes his normal jump but when he goes to swing he realizes his web shooters have been stolen.
Just before Spider-Man hits the ground he is saved by Black Cat.
When Spider-Man tries to thank her Black Cat slashes his face and says they have unfinished business to take care of. End of issue.
The Good: With Amazing Spider-Man #8 Nick Spencer sets the stage for a new powerful organization to rise up in the Marvel Universe in the form of the Thieves Guild. Right away Spencer checks off most of the boxes you expect an villainous organization to be perceived as a threat. That perceived threat makes them interesting foils for Spider-Man to go up against. And if it weren’t for a few missteps in the set-up the Thieves Guild introduction just misses going over the warning track to be a home run.
An organization is only as strong as the one leading it. Nick Spencer identifies this and makes sure to put over the Thieves Guild leader, Odessa Drake, as someone not to be messed with. What made Odessa’ introduction work was the aura around her every time she was on screen. There was an air of confidence around her that gave greater credibility to every word she spoke.
Whether it was in the club scene or during her big speech to the Thieves Guild Spencer built Odessa up as someone that was extremely confident in everything she said. That confidence made the Thieves Guild come off as a big threat. Her confidence aided in all the scenes where the Marvel Universe’s superheroes items were stolen to be more believable than they should have been.
Helping the presentation of the Thieves Guild even more is that they weren’t just presented as new Spider-Man villains. Instead Spencer decides to instantly push the Thieves Guild’s goals to extend throughout the Marvel Universe. Not only that but Odessa makes it clear that both superheroes and villains will be targeted during the Thieves Guild rebirth. What that actually means for how Spider-Man will be able to takes them on provides plenty of intrigue to this new story arc.
As great as a character introduction as Odessa got the strength of Amazing Spider-Man #8 was everything to do with the Peter Parker half of this issue. Spencer continues to nail the voice for Peter. He balances out how sorry you feel for Peter’s current situation while still having hope he can make things better as long as he focuses.
What helped this in particular was the fact that as Spider-Man we do still see that Peter is confident in his abilities. Even with how he is not on the best terms with Iron Man and other heroes as Spider-Man we see Peter still going out to try to save the day. His quick interaction with Iron Man showed this about Peter as he quickly got into action to help his peers.
Peter’s actions were made even better by the dynamic between Peter and MJ that Spencer continues to explore. Spencer does a great job treating them as a couple that know each other extremely well. Even little things like how they casually talk about their current financial situation shows a level of comfort with one another that you would expect from a long-term couple.
It was also great that Spencer delved in a bit deeper into MJ’s current situation since there was still a question of her current status quo outside her relationship with Peter. Spencer quickly answers that by having MJ reveal she had a falling out with Tony Stark. Emphasizing this with the harsh way Tony and MJ talked to each also explained why MJ is facing her own difficulties with her professional future. Now with this established Spencer opens up the opportunity to also explore what MJ wants to do moving forward in her own sub-plot that does not necessarily involve Peter.
The hook with Black Cat returning to resolve unfinished business with Spider-Man was a good way to end this issue. With so much of Spencer’s run thus far being about resetting Spider-Man to a place fans are familiar with the antagonism with Black Cat is something that needs to resolved. Spider-Man and Black Cat’s dynamic has always been best when they are working as partners. The antagonism due to what Doc Ock did while in control of Spider-Man’s body has made both Spider-Man and Black Cat look bad whenever they are together. Hopefully with how things have gone so far that Spencer mends things between Spider-Man and Black Cat.
Humberto Ramos does a very good job giving Amazing Spider-Man #8 a vibrant look. Ramos’ artwork has a style that fits well with the energy that is expected from a Spider-Man comic. Its to the point that you can’t help but feel we are in store for some fun whenever Peter was Spider-Man, even when he was just wearing just the mask. At the same time Ramos does a good job presenting Odessa Drake as a person who oozes supreme confidence in everything she says.
The Bad: As much fun as Amazing Spider-Man #8 is it is not without its faults. Those faults all revolve around the presentation of the Thieves Guild. While Odessa Drake gets a great character introduction the same can’t be said for the organization she runs.
For one thing it was an extremely odd choice by Spencer to have the Thieves Guild wear all red for their uniforms. The costume design makes the Thieves Guild look like they are a spinoff of The Hand, who wear extremely similar costumes. This is something that could’ve easily been avoided by having the costumes have a more modern take on what a Guild uniform would look like. That includes having a different color scheme from one of the Marvel Universe longest running villainous organizations.
Additionally it was tough to believe that the Thieves Guild would be able to so easily steal things from Iron Man, Doctor Strange, the X-Men or Punisher. Spencer failed to actually give us any details what makes the Thieves Guild better than other organizations like The Hand or Hydra. We don’t get any clues into what their methods are other than they are great at sneaking into places. But given that people like Iron Man and Doctor Strange have incredible defenses against just about any threat it was tough to believe they can steal their items.
It did not help that there was a lack of credibility of the Thieves Guild skills was the fact that they stole Thor’s hammer. There are so many other superhero items in the Marvel Universe that could’ve been easily replaced. But by going after Thor’s hammer, which can’t even be lifted by anyone other than Thor, it made the Thieves Guild have unbelievable God-like skills. That unbelievability takes the reader out of the experience of taking the Thieves Guild serious.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #8 was a fun start to Nick Spencer’s new story arc. Spencer continues to do a great job writing Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s renewed relationship. While the introduction of the Thieves Guild was not perfect the presentation of their leader, Odessa Drake, was well executed. Add in the ending involving the return of Black Cat and there is enough for fans to be excited about for what will after the events in this issue.