The ever late reviews of last week’s dual Amazing Spider-Man “Last Remains” installments, provided in a two-for-one oversized review. Considering the lateness on my part, these are SPOILER-filled reviews…life gets in the way, and the next thing you know, you STILL HAVEN’T gotten your reviews out…
Now, if I were reviewing these books under the usual circumstances (ie: ON TIME), I would definitely be providing the site with two separate reviews. Plus, it adds to my number of written reviews, so bonus. But, given the lateness of the reviews, I suppose the damage has already been done, so lets just compile the two reviews into one (I will be providing individual scores at the end). Also, if it’ll make everyone feel better, we can call these retro reviews. Sure, go with that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Writer: Nick Spencer & Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colors: Marcio Menyz & Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
Release date November 11 2020
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
When we last left Spider-Man, our hero had finally come face-to-face with the big bad Kindred. Kindred has set a dinner setting with the skeletal remains of Peter’s loved ones all adorned around a dining table. And I still wonder if the hair on the Stacy’s are prop wigs bought from a costume store or not. The theme these dead bodies share, according to Kindred, is that they’re all people who died because of Peter. This sets Spider-Man off and he makes an attack on Kindred. But despite the pounding he furiously gives, none of these attacks are any concern to Kindred. After Kindred returns the pain in kind, Kindred drags Spider-Man to the Brooklyn Bridge where the demonically possessed Spidey-Friends are wrecking everything and attacking civilians. As a friendly reminder, these include Julia Carpenter, ̶S̶p̶i̶d̶e̶r̶-̶G̶w̶e̶n̶.̶.̶.̶S̶p̶i̶d̶e̶r̶-̶W̶o̶m̶a̶n̶?̶ ugh…Ghost Spider…Miles, Araña Girl, I mean Spider-Girl, and Mary-Silk, I mean Mary Sue…SILK…bear with me…and Jessica “OG Spider-Woman” Drew, not to be confused with Jessica “Is not Spider-Woman” Jones.
The whole lot of them were taken over by Kindred through the collected sins the Sin-Eater harvested, turning them all into corrupted versions of themselves. Spider-Man sees that the possessed Spider-Gwen…yeah I’m just gonna call her by that name, is about to through an unconscious, normal and unaffected Miles off the top of the bridge. With Spidey beaten and bound by Kindred, he begs to Kindred to kill him, instead of allowing the mania and panic his possessed friends have wrought to go on. Here’s where my only real grip with this issue comes into play, really. Now, I’m all aware of Peter being an upstanding guy who is just a glutton for blaming himself for anything that goes wrong, that whole great power, great responsibility mantra of his. I don’t doubt at all when he’s out of options and is about to see one of his friends about to murder his apprentice Miles that he would barter his life to save everyone, but I didn’t really feel this was one of those moments where Peter should have been brought to tears. I personally thought this whole series of events would have played just find with Peter desperately trying to plea to his enemy with him…I dunno, with an angry, clenched fist expression, or even a defeated one…I’m not saying the guy can never be seen brought to tears, but I felt Spidey’s been in worse positions than this, and we never got water works out of him during many of those situations. It felt used for the sake of really upselling his dilemma, but…I think it would have worked fine enough without the beg-crying. What do I know.
Oh, and I’m a little confused with Miles, who (remember) was one of the Spideys Kindred possessed and demonized, being reverted back to normal. I check and reread all the past chapters, and I didn’t see a moment where he was freed of his condition, but here he was,back-to-normal, just for Spider-Gwen to throw his helpless body to his doom. I guess continuity error?
But to wrap things up on this issue (for now), Kindred undoes the possessions, freeing the Spider-clan, Miles saves himself, and Peter is relieved, only shortly before Kindred snaps his neck. The editing on this page uses the onomatopoeia (SNAP) to obscure the point of the neck breaking…but it’s still pretty clear and it…I will say…it kinda hurt to look to that. But that’s a pro to the art, when the art wants you to feel that pain and you, the reader, feel that unease through the page. But I’ll give praise to the art later.
What follows are the events of Amazing Spider-Man #52.LR.
Now, I made the mistake of reading these books in reverse order, but as you probably already know (…late reviews and what have you), the LR stories don’t really spoil too much if you read them before their companion main issue. Plus, it should be obvious to read any “point” issue after it’s whole number issue…51, 51., 52, 52., 52.1, 52.2…so my dumb mistake notwithstanding, my enjoyment of both issues was not compromised by my own dumbness.
Despite being the lesser issue, I suppose, this issue really felt like it was packed with a lot of story. With issue 52 proper, we have Spider-Man and Kindred fight, and we see Spider-Man forced to admit defeat. But in this .LR issue, we have to address Norman Osborn proposing to Mary Jane to trust him and help Harry/Kindred, The Sin-Eater taking things into his own hands, and the Spider-friends (restored to themselves) grouping with Doctor Strange and Black Cat and preparing to venture into the astral plane where Peter and Kindred are.
In our last “point” issue Mary Jane was rescued by the sins-free Norman Osborn, who has taken her to Ravencroft. With Doctor Kafka’s help, he tries to convince Mary Jane that he’s trying to help Harry, which in turn would be helping Peter/Spider-Man, and that Mary Jane is essential to any chance they’ve got to stopping Harry/Kindred. It was at this time, considering the close proximity of Doctor Kafka and the fact that neither MJ nor Osborn are being discreet with their words, that I wondered if Kafka now knows that Peter is Spider-Man.
The Sin-Eater has ordered his followers to break into a research facility to steal a sample of the virus from the Spider-Island event/incident, which he then turns loose on his own men to turn them into man-spider monstrosities. I remember when we reached the final page of the last “point” issue and the comic suggested that the Sin-Eater was going to get Morlun involved, I thought his plan was to lure Morlun, the “devourer of spiders” to the demonic Spider-crew terrorizing New York to try and stop them, but with the Spidey-friends being back to normal (and by the issue’s end, no longer on this plane) I really haven’t any idea what Sin-Eater is playing at. But that’s all fine. I’m just glad that he’s keeping me guessing and he’s staying involved with the story with something substantial to do. I wouldn’t have been a fan of this arc trying to keep Stan around just for the hell of it, but so far, he hasn’t overstayed himself. I am really wondering where’s he going with this scheme of his, is it to his benefit, or if he’s trying to undo his wrongdoings. Also, man are these writers (Spencer and Rosenberg) really bringing out all the most unexpected characters and past events! I mean, who would have thought I would be taking the D-list Sin-Eater this seriously? Then this arc brings Morlun in, we have Mary Jane back, Norman Osborn is still a big player in all of this, and now Spider-Island gets a callback. And I’m STILL convincing myself One More Day will be referenced (maybe even addressed) before all this is over…
Now, how Stan Carter is even aware of the virus and the events of Spider-Island, who had been dead for ages and totally wasn’t around (ie; alive) when the Spider-Island incident and the attack by the Queen happened (the main villain of that event) is an unanswered question.
Hmm…I walked away from these issues feeling that while the main issue is the more important one, it really felt lacking compared to its .LR companion issue. Both stories offered fantastic art, where as always Vicentini wastes no panel space. His panels are always crammed with dynamic action and scenery. The main issue give us the all-important face-to-face between Spider-Man and Kindred, but aside from fight between the two, there wasn’t much done with these characters other than Kindred taunting our hero and making him submit to him. On the other hand, the .LR issue felt like it moved a lot more pieces forward, and it did so while having to juggle multiple stories and characters point-of-views at that.
But as a whole, this arc, and its excess number of issues so far have been great! I’ve been loving this story through and through. Its funny that we, the reader, were given the identity of Kindred as soon as this Last Remains arc began (as in by the end of its first main chapter), because I’m really tense and ready to see the reaction to Spider-Man discovering this fact. Even more, I’m eager to find out the whys and hows that are still left unresolved. As Mary Jane herself put it when addressing Norman Osborn and discounting his claims of Harry’s involvement, how exactly is Harry Kindred? Where did this power and/or transformation come from? What is his beef with Peter? I’m glad the reveal of who he is was dealt with as early in this run as it was, because I pray these remaining questions…these LAST REMAINing questions will be given proper answers and that nothing is rushed towards this arcs conclusion. With every chapter getting effectively double issues, Marvel knows they have enough page count to keep this arc going on its upward trajectory. Sure, I had my minor nitpicks, as I always do, but nothing deterred my enjoyment of these books. I felt the .LR installment this time was the stronger issue, but I was really engaged in both books.
Last Remains continues to entertain this reviewer, where both the main issues and the “point” LR issues feel substantial and equally act as necessary reads. This arc is proving to be some of Spencer’s best and strongest since he’s been given this title, and I’m happy to ask for more.
Amazing Spider-Man #52 | Amazing Spider-Man #52.LR
7/10 | 8/10