Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man has had its fair share of ups and downs. Just as Spencer looks to be hitting his stride a wall is hit with the direction he is looking to take Amazing Spider-Man. The last story arc involving Gog had some interesting elements but tried to do too much for its own good. Now it looks like after that side arc Spencer is ready to get back to the main plot revolving around Kindred continue to bring all sorts of horror to Peter Parker’s life. Kindred’s latest attempt to do this is to bring Sin-Eater back to life. The original Sin-Eater is a notable Spider-Man villain with his major role in the iconic Death of Jean Dewolff story arc. Let’s see what the villain’s return means for the series overall with Amazing Spider-Man #45.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inkers: John Dell
Colorist: David Curiel
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Carlie Cooper thinks back on her life starting with how she looked up to her father and when he was reported dead from a car accident she decided to become a cop to follow in his footsteps. From there she remembers the ups and downs in her relationship with Peter Parker and how she discovered her dad was actually alive and working with Mysterio. From there she dealt with more dark events including being turned into a Goblin. Eventually, Carlie was able to move on with the help of a support group, becoming friends with Mary Jane Watson, and returning to her job as a forensic investigator for the NYPD.
Elsewhere Peter Parker sits through a play alone. Peter thinks how this was supposed to be the big date that he was planning to take MJ on when she got back but she ended up having to go on a promotional tour for her movie.
As Peter walks through a festival his Spider-Sense suddenly goes off.
Overdrive speeds through and Peter quickly tackles a pedestrian out of the way of the speeding car. Peter then quickly changes into his Spider-Man gear in an alleyway.
Spider-Man is able to swing on top of Overdrive’s car and attempts to get him to slow down. Spider-Man notices that Overdrive is freaked out.
Just then Sin-Eater suddenly appears out of some mysterious smoke. Sin-Eater fires his shotgun at Overdrive’s car, destroy it. Spider-Man jumps off just in time to save some kids that almost get caught in the car explosion.
Spider-Man tries to see if Overdrive is okay and gets him out of the burning car. Spider-Man decides to take Overdrive somewhere safe in order to recover.
Inside a warehouse, Overdrive freaks out saying he didn’t want to hurt anyone. Sin-Eater reappears, which causes Spider-Man to remember all the things he did when Sin-Eater killed Jean DeWolff and almost did the same to Betty Brant.
Sin-Eater reveals he is still wearing Jean DeWolff’s badge which sets Spider-Man off. As they fight Spider-Man once again remembers how Sin-Eater got the police to kill him and how it caused Spider-Man to feel some guilt over how it all went down.
Sin-Eater then reveals he has been resurrected to rescue lost souls. Spider-Man calls Sin-Eater crazy for what he is saying. Sin-Eater then reveals to Spider-Man’s shock that Overdrive helped kill nine police officers in a recent shooting.
Overdrive tries to run away but Sin-Eater sees him. As Sin-Eater fires his gun Spider-Man tries to get in the middle of the bullet. The bullet Sin-Eater fired mysteriously goes right through Spider-Man and hits Overdrive through the chest.
Spider-Man checks on Overdrive. Overdrive says admits it feels good to be able to stop running before passing away.
Sin-Eater proclaims that he released Overdrive of his sin of being a coward and how he has once again taken someone else’s sins as his own. Sin-Eater then reveals that someone else will be making Spider-Man answer for his own sins soon enough. Sin-Eater then disappears in a cloud of smoke.
As the police close off the scene where Sin-Eater killed Overdrive, Spider-Man wonders what is lurking in the shadows that is coming after him. Spider-Man focuses on Sin-Eater’s return as wherever the villain is death follows him.
Back at the NYPD forensic lab, Carlie is shocked that the gunshot wound has completely disappeared from Overdrive’s corpse. Much to Carlie’s shock Overdrive suddenly wakes up and wonders what happened to him. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #45 is a much more focused issue than we have gotten. Nick Spencer keeps things simple by focusing on Sin-Eater’s return and what that means for Spider-Man. That helps give this story high stakes while being self-contained to Spider-Man’s world.
Spencer is at his best when he can keep his stories on Amazing Spider-Man as simple as possible. While there are definitely supernatural elements to “Sins Rising” given Kindred’s involvement that is not the focus. “Sins Rising” is much more about what Sin-Eater’s sudden return means for Spider-Man as we see many bad memories returning for our hero.
Its that impact that really hits home in what makes Amazing Spider-Man #45 such a good read. You understand that Spider-Man feels great unease with Sin-Eater’s return. Even though you would think that Spider-Man should have no problem defeating Sin-Eater that is not the case. Sin-Eater has an aura around him that takes Spider-Man off his game.
To Spencer’s credit, he does a lot of work in making sure readers understand why Spider-Man is so off his game through the thoughtful flashbacks to “The Death of Jean DeWolff.” Spencer picks the right moments to have Spider-Man remember the events of “The Death of Jean DeWolff” that enhances the story as it progresses. You get to understand that there are layers to what Sin-Eater as a villain from the past represents for Spider-Man’s history. It gives you a whole different vibe to Sin-Eater in comparison to the rest of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery.
Spencer uses that history to make the returning Sin-Eater even more compelling in his new supernatural form. Getting the power boost from Kindred that allows him to teleport to wherever his targets make him even more dangerous. Along with his dialogue about freeing people like Overdrive from their sins and taking them for himself, Sin-Eater comes across as being on a whole new level.
The use of Overdrive was also well handled throughout this issue. Spencer does a good job using the back-up story from Amazing Spider-Man #39, which showed the events where the death of nine cops that Sin-Eater referenced, to add to what Overdrive’s arc is. You understood that Overdrive was remorseful for his role in the killing of the nine cops as that was not what he signed up for when taking that getaway driver job. Seeing how he suddenly returned from the dead at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #45 creates a lot of questions of what this means with the Kindred storyline.
Speaking of, Spencer does a much better job in making Kindred a villain that is manipulating things from the shadows in Amazing Spider-Man #45. Without naming him Spencer makes it clear that everything from Peter’s failed date with MJ to the meeting with Sin-Eater was all part of Kindred’s plan. He is forcing Peter to play a chess game that Peter isn’t aware is being played. This is definitely the most interested I’ve been in the Kindred plot as Spencer is starting to be much more focused on the storytelling of the villain’s plans.
It was great to see Mark Bagley back to drawing a Spider-Man book again with Amazing Spider-Man #45. This was some of Bagley’s best main Marvel Universe work I can remember as the Ultimate Spider-Man influences aren’t as prevalent. Which is a good thing since this is an older Peter Parker and Marvel Universe. Bagley certainly nails the emotions Peter feels throughout this issue, especially as he thinks back to how the hopes for a date with MJ were dashed. The action was also well done to make each blow thrown by Spider-Man and Sin-Eater come across as impactful.
The Bad: As happy as I am to see Carlie Cooper back in the fold the opening to Amazing Spider-Man #45 featuring her origin story felt completely out of place. The opening few pages felt like it was supposed to be material for a back-up story from a previous Amazing Spider-Man issue. Spencer did not do a good job of having the telling of Carlie Cooper backstory flow naturally into Spider-Man’s story. Hopefully why Spencer chooses to do this is cleared up in the next issue because Carlie is a great character who can add a lot to this and future story arcs.
This also speaks to the greater problem Spencer is starting to have with his run on Amazing Spider-Man. Which is his inconsistency with which issue of Amazing Spider-Man has a back-up story and which does not. If Spencer and his editor plan on doing more back-up stories it would be much better for the series as a whole if they were more consistent. Having one issue feature a back-up story and then go four or five issues without one throws off the momentum of whatever intentions they have.
What happens here with the Overdrive story. It is easy to forget that the backstory to where we find Overdrive in this issue happened in a back-up for Amazing Spider-Man #39. It would’ve been much better if that back-up story happened much closer to Amazing Spider-Man #45. But since we don’t even get an editor’s note on when the killing of the nine cops happen you are sort of left wondering when and where that event happened.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #45 is one of the better issues Nick Spencer has written on this series in quite some time. Spencer showed a great understanding of what Sin-Eater’s return means for Spider-Man and how the villain’s return affects him in such a drastic way. Having Mark Bagley on board for this issue also helped with the tension that is felt with this clash between Spider-Man and Sin-Eater. This is definitely the most interested I’ve been in an Amazing Spider-Man story this year.
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