Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Nico Leon
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Sarah Pichelli & Jason Keith
Release Date: 9/14/2016
Plot: After having his identity discovered by Jessica Jones, Jones and Luke Cage confront the young superhero about trying to hide is identity better. After some stern words, and Miles realizing he’s not as great at the superhero thing as he though, it’s off to the Triskelion to talk about events that have been happening in Civil War II. The death of a certain character hits Miles hard, and he has some choices to make about his stance in the superhero community.
Story: The writing is a mixture of the best and worst Brian Michael Bendis tropes. There is plenty of filler dialogue that doesn’t feel in character, then poignant moments where you feel so deeply for the character of Miles. Moments like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones discussing if they want to make out on top of a school after telling Miles they know his identity just doesn’t work in this scene. Then there are scenes where Bendis subtly builds the relationship of Kamala and Miles in a thoughtful way. Spider-Man #8 is all over the map in terms of tone. It also highlights a lot of the problems with this massive crossover, such as the Hulk development being half thought out.
The plot itself doesn’t move that far. The series feels like it’s in a holding pattern while Civil War II figures out it’s shipping schedule. Miles experiences things, but it has minimal effect on Miles himself. This could have been an interesting point for setting up his inclusion in the upcoming Champions series, but instead it just hints at what Miles might do in Spider-Man #9. While the scenes themselves aren’t well developed, the dialogue of Miles himself is spot on. His problems are never trivialized and Bendis keeps his teenager point of view the center of attention.
Art: The artwork, by Nico Leon & Marte Gracia, meshes well with Sarah Pichelli’s artwork from the previous arc. I did notice that Leon missed the spider logo on Miles chest in quite a few scenes on the high school roof. The animated eyes on Miles mask are a bit much for my tastes, but that doesn’t reflect poorly on the artwork itself. Leon wonderfully captures the uncertainty and confusion that Miles, Sam, and Kamala feel after seeing the death of a certain character. It’s their first real introduction to the grim side of super-heroics, and Leon really hits the reader with every ounce of emotion. The rest of the adult heroes don’t fair as well. The over reaction by most of the heroes feels a bit off as they’ve had to deal with countless other horrific events. Gracia unfortunately doesn’t get much for coloring, as Miles moves from bland location to bland location.
Verdict: Spider-Man #8 is an okay issue that showcases some of the failings of Bendis’ writing and Civil War II in general. Considering how great this series has been since it’s launch, its fine to forgive a sub-par issue like this.