|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 8, December 2014|
This particular edition of “The Amazing Spider-Man” truly is a collection of two entirely different stories. Something which is clearly emphasised by the Giuseppe Camuncoli cover unevenly split between the rather dramatic illustration of a bruised and battered Spider-Girl (from the Spider-Verse) and a significantly smaller, rather uninspiring bottom corner picture of the title’s lead character alongside Ms. Marvel.
To begin with “Ms. Adventures In Babysitting” is in many ways reminiscent of the Web-head stories from Roy Thomas’ time on the early Seventies series “Marvel Team-Up”. Such imitation is clearly intentional albeit Spidey is now a far more mature and experienced crime-fighter and as a result swiftly adopts the role of a mentor for Kamala Khan. Despite the action and danger as the super-heroes flee an over-powered monstrous Minn-Erva there’s something of a ‘good fun’ feel to the proceedings, and Christos Gage’s script provides a genuinely enjoyable read.
Indeed, if anything the story is brought to a rather abrupt and dissatisfying conclusion by Spider-Man bluffing the genetically improved Doctor Minerva into believing he’s reporting her unauthorised transgression on the Earth to Kree Space via Avengers Tower. Quite why the alien militaristic empire being informed of such a misdemeanour petrifies the blue-skinned bio-geneticist so completely that she immediately flees into the sky empty handed is not explained. But one can only assume the Supreme Intelligence’s chastisement for her actions will be severe.
Unfortunately Camuncoli’s artwork is inconsistent at best with the Italian cartoonist’s lack-lustre drawings of the dialogue-heavy scenes within The Fact Channel Studios and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital significantly contrasting with his splendid depictions of Web-head and Ms. Marvel combating Minn-Erva and her green-clad gang of henchmen.
In complete contrast there’s nothing even remotely humorous about Dan Slott’s “My Brother’s Keeper”, nor much wrong with the superb illustrations of Humberto Ramos throughout the tale's six engrossing pages. Focusing upon the exploits of Spider-Girl from Earth-982 this ‘Spider-Verse’ tale starts grim, rapidly becomes even darker and then all too suddenly concludes with a morbid certainty that things are only going to get even worse for any surviving multi-universe ‘spider-totems’.
This genuinely is scarily good stuff from the American comic book writer, touchingly so as a middle-aged Peter Parker and loyal faithful wife Mary Jane sacrifice themselves for the sake of the couple's children. Their presumably gruesome deaths at the hands of Daemos, son of Solus, is made all the more impactive because it immediately follows on from the ‘happy ending’ of the magazine’s earlier tale.