Now that Spider-Man’s life is put back together and he’s got the girl I suppose there’s no better time than now for Nick Spencer to disassemble poor Peter’s life. Out today, the eighth issue begins to develop new threats for Spidey (and for other heroes too) as well as integrate the cat-themed villain Spencer hinted at Boston Comic Con this year. This is gonna be good.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The heist of the century is ON! Who are the Thieves Guild of New York? Spidey might dying trying to find out.
Why does this matter?
Nick Spencer has reset Spider-Man so to speak in these first seven issues, putting Peter in a place many would consider his roots. He’s poor, is nearly always down on his luck, and he has Mary Jane back on his arm. It’s a good time to read the book if you loved the old school Spidey, but it’s still bringing in new ideas and villains for Spider-Man to tussle with.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a setup issue to be sure, as there are seven pages devoted strictly to a new villainous group that aims to rock the entirety of Marvel’s Earth based heroes. We know this due to appearances from heroes like Captain America and kid Cyclops, to name just a few, but also because their main attack involves them all. The hook to get Spider-Man involves a phone call from Tony Stark which is well timed as Mary Jane is there when the call is made. Spider-Man isn’t technically an Avenger yet, but given what happens in this issue all hands are on deck.
The issue opens with a shocking moment for Spider-Man as he falls to his death — then the scene smash cuts to a nightclub. In this club scene, we get a slow burn to reveal of the main villain who has an impressive amount of power. The dialogue is well written subtly making points about this villain’s power and possibly their real goals. Later in the issue, we get more on that as well as a first-hand look at what they’re after. It’s quite clear this issue is more about this new villain than any heroics or fight scenes we might expect from a big superhero book, but it’s laid out well enough you might not care.
Artist Humberto Ramos gets to draw Spider-Man for only 4 or so pages, but his stuff looks fantastic as always. I’ve said it a few times over the years, but Ramos is going to go down as one of the greatest Spider-Man artists ever. The best scenes by him, however, involve a fun montage of Avengers which takes a comical turn as they all are surprised by this new villain’s acts against them.
It can’t be perfect can it?
For the second time with this series, I’m surprised to learn Spider-Man isn’t actually in the book very much. This is more about the new villains as well as the involvement of the Avengers. It’s nice to see the narrative spin out into the wider Marvel universe, but can we get a Spider-Man fight scene, or just a bit more of him doing stuff in the suit? The enemy introduced here is also an obscure one who seems to be gaining a lot more presence in the Marvel universe thanks to Nick Spencer. It’ll be interesting to see if he loops in some previous members of the group though as it stands right now it might be a fresh start. It’s hard to say since new details are emerging about the group.
Is it good?
This is a good issue that sets up some new conflicts and villains for Spider-Man to face off against. Unfortunately, it continues to not highlight Spidey in the suit and instead spends a lot of time setting up villains or focusing on non-Spider-Man characters. As a setup issue, it’s intriguing, but its slower pace can be frustrating.