Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Guillermo Sanna
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release date July 21 2020
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
This book calls itself a prelude to the current story arc in Amazing Spider-Man “Sins Rising”, but its even more so an origin and history lesson on the troubled past of Stan Carter. The story shows us the very beginning of Stan’s life, literally, including his birth and giving us insight into his parents, his upbringing and his beliefs, and carries us into his adulthood and career as a detective. A nice storytelling trope used here is as we are allowed to explore these elements of his life, we are also engaged in a second story intertwined with the first. This second story follows Stan as he’s investigating the murder of his partner. We are introduced to an ancillary cast of faces that fans may remember from past Sin-Eater/Spider-Man stories. There’s quite a twist that ties into both of the plots involved.
Spider-Man stories tend to be on the brighter and colorful side, visually. This is not the case here, as its not warranted. We have a noir-esque story that is willing to take Stan through hell and back. We are treated to pencil and color work that helps feed into that mood. While I couldn’t see Sanna being a regular artist on the main book, this issue is dealing with some darker storytelling, and it carries the storytelling well. Not to say that the story is lacking, by no means. I’ll give it to Spencer here; he writes a good narrative in this one. He continues to prove that you can hand him the most D-list character in Spider-Man’s historic ensemble, and he’ll return with some of his better work (see his takes on Boomerang, Gibbon and Gog…). If it’s take on Spider-Man you’re after, you will have to follow this story into its main chapters over on ASM, as this is Stan’s story, and it’s a look into the Sin-Eater. Spidey shows up, but he’s hardly the focus.
Considering this Sin-Eater/Sins Rising arc was really being teased firstly as the back-up bonus stories within the past several Spider-Man stories, with these back-ups having very little weight and usually leaving me thoroughly underwhelmed, its this solo issue that more than makes up for what I found lacking in those end-of-book additions. Spencer weaves a new story with Stan Carter, calls back to the classic “Death of Jean DeWolff” arc, and ties into the ongoing “road to Kindred” (as I’m calling it…) in a fairly good story. I was still questioning why, of all people, Kindred would bring the Sin-Eater into his machinations against Spider-Man (when Spidey has sooooo many bigger villains and foes with amazing, dangerous powers), but after reading this, I’m more onboard with a new Sin-Eater arc over at ASM. Here’s hoping what’s about to gear up over in the main book is as good as this prelude.
A worthy addition to one of the best Spider-Man stories (1985’s “The Death of Jean DeWolff”), and if you’re following the bigger story that has already started in Nick Spencer’s run of The Amazing Spider-Man, check this one out.