The reading experience for “Last Remains” has been very interesting. Nick Spencer and Marvel have decided to split this big Spider-Man event up into two different series. First in the main Amazing Spider-Man series we are getting everything from Peter Parker and Kindred/Harry Osborn’s perspective. Then there are the Amazing Spider-Man .LR issues that have been telling the story from the perspective of The Order of the Web, Norman Osborn, and other characters that Spencer has gotten involved in “Last Remains.” But as “Last Remains” has developed we are seeing how all these different angles to the event play off one another. Will that continue with the latest chapter of “Last Remains”? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #52.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After thinking of how Kindred manipulated events in his life by using Mysterio and Sin-Eater, Spider-Man is finally face to face with the villain. Kindred, who is still addressing Spider-Man as “Pete,” tells him that he wants Spider-Man to face the truth and this dinner is an intervention.
Kindred then shows Spider-Man how he has gathered the corpses of Georg Stacy, Jean DeWolff, Marla Jameson, Flash Thompson, Gwen Stacy, and Ben Parker to take part since they we’re all a family. Seeing that Spider-Man is getting angry, Kindred says that is natural to lash out when faced with such truths like being responsible for killing everyone.
Spider-Man punches Kindred while calling him a monster. Kindred counters by having his centipedes attack Spider-Man. The centipedes are able to hold Spider-Man down on the dinner table.
When Spider-Man questions who he is Kindred says that is the wrong question to ask because all that matters is who he has becomes since his body could be one of the corpses around the dinner table.
Spider-Man uses his webs to knock down part of the roof on Kindred. This gives Spider-Man the opening to fight back against Kindred. Kindred laughs off all the attacks and tells “Pete” to give him his best shot.
When Spider-Man punches Kindred through the gut. Kindred says that this should show Spider-Man that there is nothing left to fight and this is over. Kindred then overpowers Spider-Man and slams him through a mirror.
The mirror ends up transporting Spider-Man, without his mask on, outside of the Sanctum Sanctorum. When he recovers Spider-Man sees people running away from the chaos the Kindred turned demonic versions of Madame Web, Spider-Woman, Silk, and Spider-Girl. Kindred mocks Spider-Man about how his allies demonic forms are just a physical manifestation of Peter’s sins. Kindred points to how the demonic versions of Ghost-Spider and Miles Morales have turned on each other, with Ghost Spider getting ready to throw Miles off the George Washington Bridge.
Spider-Man breaks down and pleads with Kindred to stop this. Spider-Man goes on to offer himself in place of his friends. Kindred accepts the deal and uses his powers to turn Miles, Spider-Woman, Ghost-Spider, Madame Web, Spider-Girl, and Silk back to normal.
Just as he is able to breathe a sigh of relief that his friends are okay Kindred mentions their deal and immediately snaps Peter’s neck. End of issue.
The Good: There always comes a point in any event where a specific chapter is all centered around how it will end. Amazing Spider-Man #52 is that type of issue. Everything about this comic book is built around what decision Peter Parker will have to make as Kindred has thrown him against a corner. That ending we do get launches us into dark void where all we can think about is how things will turn out.
Where Amazing Spider-Man #52 is most successful is getting across how we are truly at the endgame in this rivalry between Spider-Man and Kindred. Nick Spencer has done everything he can to make this a payoff worthy of the 49 prior issues of his run leading into “Last Remains.” And by keeping the focus of the main story for “Last Remains” focused on Spider-Man and Kindred we do get the full idea that we are in the endgame now.
The fact that you can get through Amazing Spider-Man #52 so quickly speaks to how Spencer is not messing around anymore. While Kindred does continue to play his mind games in order to break Spider-Man, in terms of story pacing this issue moves very quickly. Spencer knows he has built Kindred as this ultimate Spider-Man villain. Now it is all about how Spider-Man can deal with such a demonic force.
Adding in how Kindred just continues to get under Spider-Man’s skin by literally showing him the corpses of Georg Stacy, Jean DeWolff, Marla Jameson, Flash Thompson, Gwen Stacy, and Ben Parker was sickening. This along with Kindred’s taunts that he could be one of those corpses helped elevate not only the anger Peter feels as Spider-Man but you as the reader feel as well. There is such a connection with these bodies that you do feel a hate for how Kindred is desecrating all their bodies. In the process you feel more of a connection to how pissed off Peter is throughout the fight with Kindred.
It was all a strong set-up of how Kindred was able to get Peter to his breaking point as we got to the second half of Amazing Spider-Man #52. Because we see with the first half how Kindred just completely dominated their fight. The second half was just about breaking Peter mentally and spiritually with how he turned all his friends and allies against the city he swore to protect. Peter’s shocked expression along with how people where running scared of the demonic versions of Madame Web, Spider-Woman, Silk, and Spider-Girl was all a strong visual. Then having the visual of Ghost-Spider Gwen Stacy about to kill Miles Morales was the nail that completed how Kindred broke Peter.
All of this made the only decision that Peter could come up with even more effective. You could feel how Peter was at the end of the line. There was nothing more he can do but offer himself in the place of his friends. Kindred gleefully accepting and honoring the deal made the moment he snapped Peter’s neck even more heartbreaking. It’s a moment of dread that just leaves you unsure of what will happen next.
Patrick Gleason deserves as much, if not more credit, for how effective of a story that Amazing Spider-Man #52 told. This was absolutely a visual showcase as Gleason’s artwork really pushed how pissed off Spider-Man was and how Kindred came across as absolute monster. The second half of the issue is especially carried by Gleason’s artwork as he gets across how helpless Peter is as Spider-Man to stop Kindred by normal means. All the visuals of the demonic versions of The Order of the Web attacking the city got over how big of a decision Peter had to make in order to save his friends and the city.
The Bad: As engaging as Amazing Spider-Man #52 was we have reached the point where how Spencer has decided to split the story with the tie-in issues is impacting “Last Remains.” Especially when you see the demonic versions of The Order of the Web again you are reminded of how there is this entire other part of the story that is missing. Sure that may be incentive to buy the .LR issues but it does come across as Spencer and Marvel trying to nickel and dime you out of money to get the full story that “Last Remains” promised.
From a story problem not having more involvement of The Order of the Web made their impact on Amazing Spider-Man #52 come across more like guest appearances. The biggest example of that was seeing Gwen Stacy’s Ghost-Spider about to throw Miles Morales’ Spider-Man off the bridge. There was no build up to how Kindred used his powers to turn the demonic versions of The Order of the Web against each other. Its just said in one quick throwaway narration box and that’s it. It would’ve been more effective if Spencer actually showed more of what the demonic versions of The Order of the Web have done other than beat up Peter in the lead up to Amazing Spider-Man #52.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #52 is built around the impact of the final page. How we get there is done extremely well by Nick Spencer as we are finally given the first face-to-face meeting between Spider-Man and Kindred. How this meeting breaks down and leads to the decision Peter Parker is forced to make leaves us in a place of uncertainty with how things will turn out. It is that uncertainty that drives greater interest in the final chapters of “Last Remains.”
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