The big Kindred-centric event, “Last Remains,” kicked off in a big way as the villain turned all of Spider-Man’s allies against him. Because of that Spider-Man has turned to the one person who could help him out in this supernatural crisis that Kindred has brought on by visiting Doctor Strange. With how we know that Kindred is Harry Osborn it’ll be interesting to see if Nick Spencer does really plan to go all in on the supernatural aspect of this storyline. Doctor Strange can help us dive further into that as everything about Harry Osborn as Kindred seems to be tied to the deal with Mephisto from “One More Day.” Will Spencer tap into even more Spider-Man storylines for this event? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #51.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Kindred controlled Silk attacks Spider-Man and Doctor Strange inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. Having a hard time combating Silk’s speed Doctor Strange uses one of his spells to restrain her.
Kindred speaks through Silk, saying that everything they are doing is just the opening act to the main event happening later. Kindred then talks directly to Spider-Man, once again addressing him as “Pete.” Doctor Strange picks up on Spider-Man knowing Kindred. Spider-Man says he didn’t know who Kindred was originally.
Kindred fires back by saying that Spider-Man did know but was running away from the truth but now that he has control of Madame Web there is no more running for Spider-Man. Kindred tells Spider-Man that the only way to make things stop is to confess what he did.
As Kindred continues to yell for Spider-Man to confess Doctor Strange works to banish Kindred from Sanctum Sanctorum. Kindred suddenly grows more powerful and breaks free from Doctor Strange’s spell.
Spider-Man pleads with Kindred to stop and let his friends go safely. Kindred in Silk’s body tells “Pete” that he is right in that they should settle things in person and Spider-Man already has an invitation to do so. Before leaving Kindred-Silk tells Spider-Man to not take long.
Once Kindred-Silk is gone, and after a silent moment, Spider-Man admits to Doctor Strange that he isn’t 100% sure who Kindred is but he knows from what happened at Ravencroft (Amazing Spider-Man #49) that this is his fault. Spider-Man goes on to say he knows that he is out of his normal realm of crimefighting but needs to do something to save his friends because its his responsibility. Spider-Man says he will not take Doctor Strange saying “No” as an answer.
Doctor Strange agrees to help and immediately researches how they can use the fact Kindred has control of Madame Web to their advantage. Doctor Strange figures out they can use the connection with The Web of Life and Destiny that connects the Spider-Family to find Kindred.
Doctor Strange then brings out the Hand of Vishanti and uses it to help Spider-Man enter the Astral Plane. Through the Astral Plane Spider-Man is able to make direct connection with The Web of Life and Destiny.
Before Spider-Man can find everyone Doctor Strange breaks the spell. Having detected something during Spider-Man’s Astral Plane visit, Doctor Strange says he will need to do research on something he saw and does not need Spider-Man’s assistance to do so. This pisses Spider-Man off which just gets him kicked out of the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Doctor Strange starts to get things in order and suddenly notices that the Hand of Vishanti is gone.
Elsewhere Spider-Man meets someone on a rooftop.
Flashback to much earlier, Spider-Man thinks back to how before going to Doctor Strange’s place he recruited Black Cat to help him out.
In the present, Black Cat shows Spider-Man the Hand of Vishanti that she was able to steal while Spider-Man distracted Doctor Strange with his freak out earlier. Spider-Man thanks Black Cat for her help. Black Cat, remembering Doctor Strange’s incantation, helps Spider-Man tap into the power of the Hand of Vishanti.
Spider-Man then suddenly warps through the Astral Plane and ends up in his own dreamscape. As he explores the area Spider-Man comes across Mary Jane Watson, who says her answer is “Yes.” Kindred then suddenly attacks Spider-Man and the Astral Plane version of MJ. Spider-Man then suddenly sinks through the ground.
After spending sometime in darkness Spider-Man bursts out of a grave. Spider-Man notices an odd building and goes inside.
After going through the building he eventually makes it to the special dinner scene Kindred has created with the corpses of Gwen Stacy, Captain George Stacy and others in Peter Parker’s life that have died. End of issue.
The Good: No matter how many characters get involved in “Last Remains” at the end of the day this is a story about Spider-Man and Kindred. Nick Spencer makes that clear with his work on Amazing Spider-Man #51 showcasing that. Even as other characters get involved your attention stays on the war that Harry Osborn as Kindred is waging on his former friend, Peter Parker.
Having that focus for “Last Remains” is both a blessing and a curse. On the good side of things Spencer is able to drive home how Harry Osborn as Kindred is like no other threat Peter has faced in his time as Spider-Man. That is further established with how Doctor Strange is quick to change from willing to help Spider-Man to saying he has to do research about Kindred without Spider-Man’s involvement. That flip in Doctor Strange’s outlook makes how serious we need to take Kindred to be elevated.
Having Kindred speak through a demonic version of Silk added to how unnerving the villain is. The entire time we see him talk through the demonic Silk it feels like Spider-Man is up against a villain out of a horror bad guy. Setting all of that up made the ending of Amazing Spider-Man #51 that much better as you don’t know what Harry Osborn endgame is. As a reader you feel as much as in the dark as Spider-Man in everything that is going on.
Through all of this Spencer does a good job building Spider-Man up. The reveal that he went to Black Cat for help before going to Doctor Strange’s place was very cool to see. It immediately establishes how Spider-Man does understand that he can’t just go about things like he normally does. If he is going to be able to overcome the threat of Kindred he will need to get help from his allies.
Which gave greater weight to the responsibility that Peter feels over his friends, The Order of the Web, falling under Kindred’s control. Everything Peter says to Doctor Strange came from an honest place because he knows that this all happened because Kindred is coming after him. Adding that bit of honest made the eventual reveal that he did this to also give Black Cat the opportunity to steal the Hand of Vishanti without Doctor Strange noticing was a good move.
The two trips through the Astral Plane to get to Kindred was an unexpected direction for “Last Remains” to take. While unexpected they both worked to continue to play into several major aspect that will likely play a role in how the story goes. The first is The Web of Life and Destiny is something that once again comes into play. We know that Peter is at the center of The Web of Life and Destiny so this is possibly Spencer’s way of establishing how this connection can possibly help fight against Kindred.
The other major aspect the trip through the Astral Plane was the inclusion of Mary Jane Watson. We saw in Amazing Spider-Man #50.LR that MJ is now back in New York City. MJ is one key element in this whole Kindred saga that we haven’t seen much of since the villain manipulated things so she would leave the city to restart her acting career. So far there is no clear indication that Kindred’s current plot involves MJ so she could end up being a wild card in all of this. That would be a very interesting way to develop MJ’s importance to the story as she is someone that also has a close connection to Harry.
Once again, Patrick Gleason delivers strong artwork throughout Amazing Spider-Man #51. Gleason has adjusted his style well to match the world of Spider-Man compared to other work he has done. Especially with all the horror vibes we get from everything Kindred does Gleason gets over how unsettling this entire story is. Creating such a aura around the story makes your concern for Spider-Man and his friends to grow with each passing page.
The Bad: The one spot where Amazing Spider-Man #51 does fall short is how the rest of the players in “Last Remains” are treated. One of the fears I had with the fact that Marvel gave Spencer tie-in chapters in secondary Amazing Spider-Man issues was that it would create an excuse for The Order of the Web and others to not be developed in the main “Last Remains” storyline. Amazing Spider-Man #51 shows that will very much be the case as all the sub-plots are being developed off screen. That does not make for the best reading experience as Spencer and Marvel are asking the reader to spend even more money on get the full experience of this storyline.
That is best shown with how we see MJ in the Astral Plane. Unless you read Amazing Spider-Man #50.LR MJ’s appearance won’t hold the same weight that I mentioned above since you would not know she is back in town. Without that context the real weight of MJ’s appearance isn’t felt.
It was also odd that the only member of The Order of the Web that Kindred has Spider-Man and Doctor Strange fight is Silk. There is no explanation given why Kindred doesn’t use the others. They are just forgotten pieces in the story as Spencer is working these main issues knowing he can tell their sub-plots in another comic.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #51 does a very good job moving the plot forward with the main two players of “Last Remains.” Nick Spencer firmly establishes the unsettling nature of Kindred, who has gone all in on the horror movie villain vibe. The way Spider-Man tries to combat that by seeking out close allies to help him out show that Peter Parker knows he is up against a villain like no other he has faced. That all set the stage well for how there is still a sense of unknown with where this story will end up, especially with the hook ending of this issue.
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