|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 8, April 2016|
As multi-issue story conclusions go, Dan Slott’s third and final part of “The Dark Kingdom” certainly manages to do a nice job of tying-up all of his narrative’s plot threads, and even succeeds in keeping the titular character’s romance with Lian Tang alive despite “his current girlfriend and designer of his spider-mobile… working for the terrorist organisation, Zodiac, in exchange for medical treatments for her dying mother.” But whilst Mister Negative’s defeat is all well and good, as is Cloak and Dagger’s return to normality now they’re immune to the villain’s poison, the “Arkham Asylum” author’s ending arguably must have struck many of this comic’s 71,599 strong audience as being a little too sickly sweet a finale for the infamously luckless Peter Parker. Certainly the Web-crawler’s morally righteous speech to his company’s female “mole” that he’d be a hypocrite “if we didn’t give you a chance to work with us… [to] take down Zodiac” seems rather conveniently contrived considering she had only just moments before caused thousands of pounds worth of damage whilst trying to kill him; “I promise to make this quick. If it helps. This isn’t personal.”
Fortunately, despite such reservations with its script, “Black & White” still proves to be a genuinely fun and thrilling read, crammed full of action sequences, such as the Shanghai Police Department’s battle with Martin Li’s demonic mask wearing minions, and the sort of smart-mouthed humorous banter that Spidey’s followers have come to expect. Indeed the “friendly neighbourhood” Web-spinner’s delightful remonstration of his old foe’s “worst Admiral Ackbar” impersonation ever as the ebony-skinned villain shouts “It’s a trap” in surprise, must have had the comic’s “Star Wars” fans smiling broadly.
Arguably somewhat less successful, though undoubtedly competently drawn, is Matteo Buffagni’s rather lifeless artwork. The Scuola Internazionale Di Comics graduate certainly knows how to pace a script, and does an especially fine job of storyboarding the hero’s fraught high-rise confrontation with his errant spider-mobile chauffeur, as well Cloak & Dagger's rescue of Quinghao after the “Humanitarian of the Year” is ordered to jump out of the multi-storey building’s window by the manipulative mind-controller Mister Negative. Yet sadly none of these theatrically dramatic occurrences appear particularly animated or even energic, and rather seem perturbingly two-dimensional despite Marte Gracia’s evident attempt to provide the figures with some much-needed depth courtesy of the Mexican’s colouring.
|Writer: Dan Slott, Artist: Matteo Buffagni, and Colorist Artist: Marte Gracia|