True Friends Stab You In The Front (THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #54 Comic Review)
The Amazing Spider-Man #54
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Patrick Gleason & Edgar Delgado
Variant Cover Artists: Mark Bagley, John Dell, & David Curiel; Iban Coello; Paulo Siqueira & Rachelle Rosenberg; Gavin Goulden
After all the mind games, all the chaos, and all the destruction — not to mention a trip through Hell — Kindred has finally revealed his true identity to Peter: Harry Osborn. However, as Peter tries to reach out to Harry the way he has before, he finds out it won’t be that simple this time around, as he’s become a far cry from what he was as the Goblin. Through a rigorous battle, and a series of even more forced confrontations, Peter finds himself at the end of his rope. Harry incessantly tries to coax a confession out of him, but Peter can’t seem to completely remember. Just what exactly is Harry’s endgame, and how does it involve the rest of the Web Warriors, as well as MJ?
I’m not even gonna sugarcoat it, it’s becoming hard to talk about this run on ASM issue-by-issue, at least in the way I normally do. Each issue feels like nothing much happens, and unfortunately, this one is no exception, even with the shocking turn of events in which Peter and Harry battle. However, I do have a piece to say on this, and honestly it kinda sums up my feelings about the whole storyline up until now. First off though, I still very much love the art, as Mark Bagley rarely seems to underdeliver. The way he draws Peter and Harry has become so iconic that it honestly enhances the storyline, in no small feat due to the efforts of John Dell and Edgar Delgado. The shadows and colors are incredibly dreary and fit the tone so well, and almost reminds me of some of the stylings from Romita Jr.’s ASM art.
The story content, however, is a different nut to crack. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Kindred being Harry, and it certainly doesn’t help that the last issue felt like the real reveal, making the one in #50 feel like something that was tacked on at the last second for the tie-in issues. It also doesn’t help that nothing really happens, and nothing is said that we don’t already know. This issue unfortunately falls into those same trappings as well. While I think the tongue-in-cheek meta writing addressing Kindred’s identity is kind of humorous, and while there is some really cool stuff in the way they fight (one page in particular has a brilliant reference to another famous comic storyline), all of this still just feels like repetition that we already know. And ironically, the meta writing doesn’t help the fact that despite its self-awareness, the storyline is still underwhelming considering who it is behind the bandages and the torment of Peter Parker for the past two and a half years.
It’s no secret that the storyline is heading towards a full addressing of One More Day, as the last issue literally recreated the final scene from it and twisted it into the way many readers saw it. However, the future of Spidey doesn’t seem to be hinging on anything but that, and it’s all that Spencer seems to have lined up, considering every line from Kindred is a rendition of, “Ooh you did something bad, Peter, ooooh One More Day happened but I won’t say it yet ooooh.” There’s only so much set-up one can take before they assume that a finale isn’t entirely mapped out yet, and until the last issue, I’m inclined to believe as much. The only other possibility is them stretching out the One More Day stuff even more, and I don’t know if the book can hinge on that much longer.
All in all, even with the tie-in issues, Last Remains is shaping up to be one of the most disappointing Spidey stories in recent memory, mainly because of how much potential there was for it. I will save full judgment for when the story is complete, but I can say with full confidence that this wasn’t worth the two and a half year build-up. Every main issue just has the writing go in circles with no direction, seemingly waiting until the end to finally reveal stuff, and forgetting to keep readers engaged in the moment. Not gonna lie, I’m really kinda hoping that Spencer ends his run soon, because it started off nice by bringing back characters and addressing Peter’s odd writing for the past decade, but there’s only so much you can do with the past until you have to let it go and move forward. I genuinely hope for the best, but as Bring Me The Horizon once said, “I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you.”
Summary Genuinely fantastic art and fun battles do little to save this deteriorating storyline from its lack of direction and constantly going in circles until the final issue.