- Written by: Dan Slott
- Art by: Mark Bagley, John Dell, Andrew Hennessy
- Colors by: Edgar Delgado
- Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
- Cover art by: Mark Bagley, Edgar Delgado
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: May 3, 2023
Spider-Man #8 begins a new chapter in Spider-Man’s career when the weight of responsibility for citizens he couldn’t save leads to a brilliant idea that couldn’t possibly go wrong. Right?!?
Is It Good?
Spider-Man #8 is a considerable improvement over the previous seven issues because it does one thing right the other issues did not – focus on telling a simple, engaging story. Slott’s writing is better because he can focus on a main character with a central plot, and Bagley’s art is better because he can focus without having to draw dozens of spider variants few readers will remember, and even less will care about. Funny how that works.
When last we left Spider-Man, Shathra was defeated, and all the spiders wiped from existence were restored. Now, Spider-Man gets back to the business of saving the day while Spider-Boy searches the city for links to an existence nobody can remember but him. Unfortunately, Spidey feels the burn from not being able to save every person every time, so he concocts a tech upgrade (with Norman Osborn’s help) to extend the range and scope of his Spider-Sense to unheard-of levels, leading to a mishap that spells trouble for the titular characters and Spider-Boy.
Slott’s setup is clear, Pete’s motivations are easy to understand, and the concept of boosting Spider-Sense has interesting story implications. The pacing is smooth, the dialog is decent enough, and the “accident” that takes Pete’s experiments down a bad road is well-conceived.
That said, there are two areas where this issue feels off. First, Slott is going out of his way to make Spider-Boy relevant by having him show up in random panels. If a character who spent the majority of his hero life as a sidekick suddenly needed help, wouldn’t the obvious course of action be to reach out to Spider-Man? What does running around the city at random accomplish? Nothing. Slott is trying to make Spider-Boy a thing, and he’s taking the clunkiest, most awkward, unappealing path to get there.
Second, Pete’s motivation in this issue – the reason that sets up Pete’s ill-advised science experiment in the first place – feels immature and a step backward for Spidey. Yes, Peter’s guilt over Uncle Ben’s death serves as the foundation for his hero career, but to suddenly take a turn and feel burdened because he isn’t doing enough feels like a retread of feelings he’s long since come to terms with. If this were a year-one Spidey or an early career Spidey, this rash behavior born of guilt would make more sense, but after saving the Earth (the Universe? the Multiverse???)
countless times, any reasonable person would agree Spidey has done more than his fair share to help people in danger.
In aggregate, Slott’s Spider-Man feels immature and out of place considering his history of accomplishments.
On the positive side, Bagley’s art is much improved over the previous issues. The lines are cleaner, the characters are integrated into the backgrounds more cohesively, and the overall look of the issue is better.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Bits and Pieces
Spider-Man #8 gets the series back to basics, with a Spider-Man getting back to the business of saving the day until he feels his efforts aren’t enough. Peter’s experiment has interesting story implications, and the overall technical execution (writing and art) is an improvement, but Slott’s characterization of Spidey feels outdated, and Spider-Boy’s random appearances have outworn their welcome.
One thought on “Spider-Man #8 Review”
My reading of the slightly immature Pete was that he was freshly haunted by Uncle Ben, after losing that alternate life. It did feel like young Peter, but I believe deliberately so.