Spidey #8 brings Electro to the Spider-Man themed, new-reader-friendly party. Of course it’s the old, starfish-on-his-face Electro, but Max Dillon seeks to light up the wallcrawler’s life (and not in a good way) in this story written by Robbie Thompson with art by newcomer Nathan Stockman.
If you’ve read any of my reviews for this series, you already know that I enjoy this book and recommend it for folks who like the Spider-Man youthful and vibrant, upbeat and wisecracking, with stories that are easy on continuity stress. I also have come to expect energetic art and animated characters.
Stockman delivers. Nick Bradshaw set the bar high for the art with Spidey #1. After his departure, André Lima Araújo came along and infused the visuals with an independent vibe. Stockman blends both of those artists together with a visibly heavy Ditko influence to fill the pages of Spidey #8 with playful artwork, stuffing the panels with strong storytelling and relatable characters. His style even carries a bit of early Tim Sale influence, in the less-is-more manner, using fewer lines to detail expressions, choosing instead to exaggerate the lines in use. In short, Spidey #8 has some really, really nice drawings.
Colorist Jim Campbell knows exactly what to do with those drawings. His palette is bright and saturated, as a comic starring a red-and-blue-clad webslinger fighting a yellow-and-green-wearing, electricity-slinging bad guy should be. Campbell amps up the color effects, including a range of electric glows around Electro’s bolts, reflective of Electro’s power levels. The color choices and effects application truly completes the visual pop that makes Spidey #8 a good-looking comic from start to finish.
The fight between Spidey and Electro is the primary thread throughout the issue, but Thompson explores Peter Parker’s thoughts both in and out of the costume. Peter’s evening out with Gwen Stacy and the teenage angst of whether or not it qualifies as a date keeps the story light-hearted, and Thompson proves to readers just how integral Gwen is to Peter’s life at this point. As noted, Thompson ensures there are plenty of punches thrown throughout Spidey #8, but he strikes a nice balance between action, comedy, and romance, making this a well-rounded read that welcomes readers in and delivers a nice bank for their bucks.
While this series has been a nice collection of independently complete issue-long stories, the final page of this issue stands alone as a high-water mark for the series. It exhibits Thompson’s ability to craft – and pay off – the long game, both celebrating the done-in-one portability of previous issues while emphasizing just how much he has worked on the world around Spider-Man in the process.
Thompson, Stockman, Campbell, and letterer Travis Lanham give the reader a definitive, timeless image to close out Spidey #8. It also guarantees readers will want Spidey #9 as soon as possible. Spidey as a series has had a few wobbles in recent issues, but taken as a standalone introduction to the character, it truly has been a welcome mat for new and lapsed readers. Spidey #8 continues to extend that welcome, but also amplifies the impact of the story and the potential for future installments.