For so many years, Peter Parker was the superhero who could never catch a break. Every victory had its inevitable moment where the sad trombone would sound; one step forward would always turn into two steps back. With that in mind, that's definitely part of why Dan Slott and Matteo Buffagni's "Amazing Spider-Man" #8 is such a joy. It's a real pleasure to see Spider-Man get some real triumphs under his belt, and on a regular basis, at that.
A lot of "Amazing Spider-Man" #8 deals with betrayal, particularly by those close to Peter; allies Cloak and Dagger have been turned into lieutenants of Mister Negative, and girlfriend Lian Tang helps Zodiac in exchange for medical assistance for her dying mother. However, it's a relief to see Peter is able to assist those in need: Cloak and Dagger thanks to the antidote to Mister Negative's serum that he developed, and Lian by letting her know that assistance is available without any strings attached. This does more than simply advance the plot, though; it gives us a Spider-Man who's a capable, successful superhero. Sure, things go bad for him, but this isn't Spider-Sad-Sack, a portrayal that had caught on for far too long. Slott creates a good balance; instead of piling on miseries, Slott allows Peter to solve problems on a regular basis so that the stack never seems too insurmountable.
Just as importantly, "Amazing Spider-Man" #8 is fun. There's a level of excitement that moves the story along quickly, both in the script and Buffagni's art. I'd definitely welcome Buffagni back for another story arc; moments like Lian and the Spider-Mobile plummeting off the building are tense, and similarly Mister Negative comes across as creepy and imposing in each of his scenes. Even something as simple as the takedown of Mister Negative's stooges has a good sense of movement, and -- when Cloak and Dagger materialize to save the day -- they have a real aura of heroism about them. This is exactly what fans are looking for in a superhero comic.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #8 is amazingly fun. Slott and Buffagni wrap up "The Dark Kingdom" in a satisfying way, taking some elements from the first story arc but not relying too heavily on them in order to get this three-parter off the ground. Thanks to a fun story, handsome art and some good colors from Marte Gracia, we've got a winner. Spider-Man should be presented one of Marvel's marquee characters, and "Amazing Spider-Man" #8 does just that.