Written by Nick Spencer and Matthew Rosenberg
Drawn by Federico Vicentini
Colored by Marcio Menyz
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Reviewed by KrisK
Fall is here, which in the Year of Our Lord 2020 is Summertime for comic releases, so that means its time for the annual Spider-Man event. Spider-Man features almost yearly events since the Slott days. We have seen Spider-verses, Clone Conspiracies, and Kraven Hunts. While Spider-Verse reigns supreme, even disregarding the perfect Miles Morales movie, the other events stand strong as solid stories, worth reading. While parts of the now 50+ issue run by Spencer on The Amazing Spider-Man lagged a little, the run stands strong otherwise.
The return of the MJ romance brings a smile to my face every time. The villains feel right each time. Curt Connors, aka the Lizard, returned as his professor as Peter goes back to school to get his PHD again. (He lost it as plagiarism, due to complications stemming from Doctor Octopus getting the degree when he lived as Peter in Superior Spider-Man.) Friends and Spider-Folks visit often, and if you read all the books, you get a feeling similar to DC’s Gotham in terms of interconnectedness, which I love. Boomerang is even Peter Parker’s roommate, though he doesn’t know Peter’s Spider-Man. While Slott’s run remains my favorite of all time, this Spider-Man feels like Marvel listened to the complaints about the last 10 years and brought back the things people love. (Though honestly I was happy when Spidey was dating Mockingbird, too, but I just want our boy to be happy.)
The biggest problem for me has been the almost villain, Kindred. He was introduced in the first issue of this run, but he disappeared into the background mostly. Theoretically running this gauntlet of troubles for Peter, his presence ebbs and flows so much, he lost his presence on the panel. The story hasn’t been slowly simmering so much as taken off the stove repeatedly to cool down, leaving a lukewarm stew. (Messy metaphor, I know, but you get my point.) Well, Kindred finally takes center stage with his own Spidey event, Last Remains.
Previously on TAS, Kindred resurrected Sin-Eater, a Punisher style villain who instead of killing the baddies, was “eating their sin.” The villains all grow hearts and regret their actions. Some become dangerous to themselves as their guilt brings them to the edge. In return, Sin Eater gets stronger with each cleansing, gaining power. While he clearly needs stopped, there are those who think Web-Head should let Sin Eater go for one last target, Norman Osborne, who Sin-Eater marks as his next quarry. Sin-Eater gains an army of followers and they storm Ravencroft, which Stormin’ Norman now helps run.
The extended Spidey family, aka The Order of the Web, descends on Ravencroft to help. (The OotW consists of Miles, Ghost-Spider, Spider-Women Jessica and Anya, and Madame Web) Spider-man teams up with Green Goblin to take on the Sin-Eater, who fed on Juggernaut and achieves absurd body structure. (Juggernaut without the helmet does not work.) They, of course, defeat Sin-Eater, but Spider-Man finds that Green Goblin has been planning something evil. Via the Sin-Eater though, Kindred turns the Web of Order into evil puppets, who overwhelm Spidey inside of a submarine.
Also, Kindred’s identity is revealed to be….I am not saying. Mostly, because I don’t entirely buy it yet, but it also only happened last week in TAS #50, and I don’t want to ruin that for Spidey fans. I will say it was a bold choice, but not one that has been earned. This character shows up in other comics already, and I don’t think they have really done anything to plant the seeds for this. Considering they had 50 issues to do so, I am less than impressed.
This issue has Green Goblin talking to his therapist about his part in the Kindred affair at Ravencroft, while Spider-Man fights his Spidey-Fam. He fails to beat them, but Kindred has them leave anyways, promising more torture for Spidey and unfinished business for Kindred. The issue ends with the therapist advising Norman to reach out to a third party to mediate between him and Kindred. Cue the return to New York of a dear friend of Kindred for the final pages. Not much happens in this story as it mostly deals with the Kindred identity reveal and sets up a Green Goblin Gambit. As a bridge between issues though, the story works well.
The weak reveal aside, though, the story itself and the comic otherwise thrills and intrigues. I love Spencer and Rosenberg’s writing, and they nail the humor and the pain of Spider-Man well. The art fits the hero perfectly, along with all the gorgeous colors that Marvel displays in its world.
Verdict: Buy! While the story didn’t start with a proper feeling Big Reveal, the comic still serves a a great inductee into the storied halls of good Spider-Man tales.