KINDRED is making his play for Spider-Man in "Last Remains" part two! Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk has been possessed - and only Dr. Strange can help!
Kindred has Spidey feeling all kinds of messed-up... but he may just have an ace up his sleeve.
Guilt is the driving force behind Spider-Man. That guilt over Uncle Ben’s untimely demise has forever defined the hero’s actions since – for better or worse. He’s overcome it to become a hero, and a better man, but it will always be there. But throughout the years, there have been so many other incidences that have compounded his guilt: the deaths of George and Gwen Stacy, the loss of Harry Osborn, the many lives he couldn’t save while swinging around making wisecracks. And those incidences have served to compound Spidey’s guilt, whether he realizes it or not. What writer Nick Spencer has been steadily building toward throughout his run, and the subplot of Kindred has been all that guilt manifesting and catching up to Peter in the biggest, gnarliest way possible.
Kindred, striking last issue through possessed versions of the other various and sundry spider-folk, knows exactly what lurks in the heart of Spider-Men. (Him being a former friend of Spidey’s will do that.) And Kindred is using that to his advantage – thus, striking at the core of Spider-Man, in a way that hits home in the deepest way possible. Despite all the good he does, Peter Parker will never be able to shake that feeling that he’s a negative impact on those around him – and that includes Silk, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, and Miles Morales. What sort of normal lives might they have had if they hadn’t gotten mixed up in his shenanigans?
By using Spidey’s staunchest allies against him in this manner, Kindred strikes directly at the heart of the hero. Fortunately, Spidey’s no slouch in the battlin’ foes department – so off to Dr. Strange he goes for help. There’s an offset chemistry between the two very, very different heroes, one that plays off of their very divergent personalities and approaches to combating evil. Spidey wears his heart on his sleeve and often follows his gut instinct; Strange keeps his emotions close to the vest and always has a multi-step plan. Spencer plays them off of each other masterfully. But the most interesting part of the story is the nod to Spidey “having made a deal” when Strange tries to utilize a mystical doodad to help him… Spencer has slowly but surely working toward getting Spidey and Mary Jane back together on a permanent basis and undoing the damage wrought by “One More Day.” Could he be dropping a hint toward a permanent fix and return to pre-Mephisto goodness…?
Throughout “Last Remains” part two, there’s a pervasive sense of dread, in part by virtue of the very nature of Spencer’s story, but also because artist Patrick Gleason sells the tone just right. For an artist who leans a bit toward the cartoonier side, he really nails the inherent darkness of “Last Remains” without wallowing in it or hitting the reader over the head. He also expertly nails the trippier, psychedelia of Spidey’s eventual trip through a mystical headspace, just for added variety. With colorist Edgar Delgado at his side, Gleason absolutely nails a huge range of artistic real estate, with nary a weak or even questionable panel to be had. (Bonus: he pulls off something in one panel I’ve never seen before in a quarter-century of reading Spidey: Spider-Man’s mask eyes completely blacked out to illustrate that his actual eyes are shut underneath. It makes no sense, but works completely for effect.)
Readers will likely be divided on whether or not they enjoy this issue, in that it does skew toward the “serious Spidey” range of stories typified by the legendary writers like J.M. DeMatteis. Readers wanting something with a bit more of a lighthearted will perhaps be left in the cold. But no matter – this is seriously well-written, expertly-plotted sequential art. If you’re a lapsed Spidey fan, or regular reader – this is definitely a great time to jump in. The water’s fine!
Amazing Spider-Man #51 hits all the right notes, start to finish. Art, story, and dialogue combine pretty much flawlessly to deliver a chilling tale that gets right to the heart of Spider-Man as a character, and use that heart against him relentlessly!
Amazing Spider-Man #51: The Doctor is In
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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