The Amazing Spider-Man #52
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Patrick Gleason & Edgar Delgado
Variant Cover Artists: Todd Nauck & Rachelle Rosenberg; Jeffrey Veregge
After all this time and build-up, and after fifty-two issues, Spider-Man and Kindred finally meet face-to-face. While the truth about his identity has not yet been revealed to Peter, the situation is still all too dire and all too personal, as the methodical demon has prepared a macabre dinner party for the web-slinger, with the guests of honor being the corpses of all the loved ones he failed to save. Meanwhile, the Order of the Web are still possessed by all the sins collected by the Sin-Eater, and nothing can seemingly stop them from destroying everything and everyone. At potentially the biggest crossroads of his life, and an even bigger battle ahead of him, can Peter somehow stop Kindred before it’s too late? And what exactly does the demon have planned for the web-head, anyway?
Well hello, everyone, I hope I didn’t miss too much since last time. Just to get the elephant out of the room, yes, it has been far too long, but I’m back from here on out. Just a brief overview of the events that transpired, I really enjoyed Sins Rising, the reveal of Kindred’s identity disappointed me so much, but overall I’m still enjoying Last Remains. Now that we got that all outta the way, after over two long years, we’ve finally gotten to the event that Spencer has built up for issues upon issues: Spider-Man vs. Kindred — face-to-face. To be quite honest, the pacing for the build up has been exhausting. Not only in terms of the identity reveal, which didn’t feel worth waiting fifty issues for, but this event feels like it should’ve happened way earlier, as there’s been so many filler issues and arcs that feel unnecessary compared to this one. Regardless, we’re finally here, and after all this time, is the payoff worth it? In many ways, I’d certainly say so, but I still have some reservations and theories.
First off, Patrick Gleason continues to shine as the new main artist for this title. When I heard that Ryan Ottley was leaving the book, I was definitely beside myself, as his art has become so iconic for the character, also considering how Kindred was his co-creation and he wouldn’t even get to do the art for the character’s big coup d’etat. However, so far, Gleason has been more than able to fill the void that Ottley left behind. I absolutely adore the way he draws Spidey, especially the eyes. They remind me a lot of how Bagley drew Ultimate Spidey’s eyes, but still have their own sense of originality. I also really love the way he draws Kindred, with the teeth especially standing out as extra creepy. I don’t know when he’ll end up trading off with another artist again, but I genuinely hope that he’ll stay on for many issues to come, as his art’s for the character is becoming just as iconic as Ottley’s.
Now for the main story and writing, there is so much to unpack, not just in this alone, but from what we’ve seen thus far as well. To get it out of the way, as I mentioned earlier, I’m still not on board with the idea of Kindred being Harry. It feels like the most obvious cop-out choice, and to me, it reduces this story to yet another Peter vs. Harry battle from the 80’s and early 90’s. If this was the plan all along, I feel like it should’ve been revealed a year ago during Absolute Carnage. However, surprisingly, this story is still gripping me. The tension between these two characters is so strong, and despite the reveal from a couple issues ago disappointing me, it’s still genuinely exciting to see these two finally going head-to-head. This entire issue is dedicated to this first battle between them, and it does that so well, along with being absolutely morbid when it comes to all the literal skeletons in the closet. Also, Peter as a character is so strong in this issue, especially towards the end. He’s been tormented by this demon for so long, that he’ll do anything to make him stop hurting his friends. It legit got to me seeing Peter get this emotional, and I’m mostly excited to see where things go for him next.
The writing, while definitely strong enough to keep me engaged, has left quite a bit to be desired, and raises questions for me about the run overall. This story so far has been genuinely balls-to-the-wall insane and morbid, and I genuinely love that stuff. However, I’m starting to wonder if Spencer really had a solid, detailed plan for this run to begin with. Everything with Kindred’s identity gives me so many mixed feelings, especially because this issue raises even more questions about who the demon really is, so I’m genuinely confused as to whether this is all part of the plan, or if this was decided at the eleventh hour. It’s very clear that the endgame for all of this has to do with One More Day, as many previous issues — including the ones in Last Remains — have made this known, but I don’t know if the road to it was paved in completion. Time will tell, and I’ll reserve judgment until the whole story is over, but I’m preparing myself for more confusion and possibly more disappointment.
Overall, this issue was definitely a thrill ride that I’ve wanted to see since the start of this run. It’s brutal, raw, morbid, and the page it ends on is definitely going to live in infamy (no spoilers, obviously). However, I’m still finding myself at a weird place with this storyline. I really love the tone, the stakes, the absolute unleashing of all the build-up, but I still can’t get over the fact that it’s just Harry underneath the bandages. There’s definitely probably an explanation for it, and I’m sure it’ll make sense within the realms of the lore, but it doesn’t help the fact that it’s still the most obvious person it could be disguised as the big bad. Again, I’m not so certain that the ink is dry on this, but for now, I don’t know if the road to undoing the biggest mistake in Spidey’s history will be all that worthwhile when all is said and done.