Nick Spencer has gone all in with “The Last Remains” event being focused on the rivalry between Spider-Man and Kindred. The main Amazing Spider-Man series has been completely focused on building the dynamic between these foes as Kindred continues to drop hints about his true identity to Peter Parker. Things took an unexpected turn in the last issue as Peter sacrificed himself in order to save his friends in The Order of the Web and New York City. Kindred showed that he happily took up Peter on his offer as a sacrifice by snapping his neck. Now with Spider-Man seemingly dead what will happen next in “The Last Remains”? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #53.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: John Dell
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: Over at Liz Allen’s apartment Kindred sneaks into Normie Osborn’s room. As he looks at Normie sleeping Kindred remembers how he could sleep through anything as kid when he was just Harry Osborn.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker suddenly wakes up back in his room at Aunt May’s house. Peter does not get what is going on as Aunt May mentions that Peter is going to be late for a party. Peter rushes out to figure out what is going on.
As Peter goes through his day he starts remembering what happened and goes to Harry’s place for the party Aunt May mentioned.
At the party Peter is surprised to see Flash Thompson there. When he looks around Peter notices MJ in the crowd and calls out to her.
Harry suddenly enters the apartment with Carlie Cooper with everyone yelling “Surprise.” (Confirming we are back at the end of One More Day for the first event in the Brand New Day era that started at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #545.)
Back in the real world Kindred eventually leaves Normie’s room.
When he goes through the door Kindred enters his own dimension where he has placed Peter’s body on top of a casket.
Back in the dream Peter tries to get to MJ but gets stopped by Harry, who introduces him to Lily Hollister and Carlie. MJ ends up leaving before Peter can get to talk to her.
Harry then wants to start a toast but Peter wants to go talk to MJ. Harry then mysteriously breaks the fourth wall and tells Peter to remember what he said next. Peter suddenly starts realizing what is going on as a wicked smile appears on Harry’s face.
Kindred then uses his powers as Harry says “Speak of the Devil and he appears.”
Peter wakes up in shock as Kindred tells him that it never gets easy coming back to life. Peter still can’t believe what he discovered about Kindred. Kindred says he knows Peter is disappointed but that he needs to accept reality as they have a lot of work to do.
Peter cannot say a word as the shock has overtaken him. Seeing this Kindred says it does not matter who he is but what he wants. Kindred then removes his mask so as Harry Osborn he can scream “Gotcha” in Peter’s face. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #53 is the most straight forward chapter of “The Last Remains” event that we have gotten so far. This was all about Peter Parker coming to terms with who Kindred is. That reveal is something we as the reader had confirmed for us when “The Last Remains” started. Because of that Nick Spencer made sure to have Peter learn the truth as we head into the conclusion of the story.
One aspect of his run that I will continue to applaud Nick Spencer for doing is embracing a large portion of Spider-Man’s history. How well doing that has worked out for Spencer has varied, as we’ve seen with the strong reforging of Spider-Man and Black Cat’s relation to how lackluster Kraven the Hunter’s “Hunted” event turned out. Taking this type of risk could’ve been the undoing for whatever plans Spencer had. But to Spencer’s credit even when things did not work out as intended it is clear what parts of Spider-Man’s history that he is using to enhance the stories he is telling.
Which we see most clearly with how Spencer fully embraces the events of the controversial One More Day storyline as the foundation for why “The Last Remains” is happening. This is a massive risk to take as there are very few, if any, Spider-Man fans that look back at that the implications of that storyline as a good decision. Even the start of Brand New Day has its own set of controversy with how it was developed.
But it is that exact risk that Spencer is taking that makes actually revisiting One More Day such a fascinating way to add to what is going on with Harry Osborn’s transformation as Kindred. As we see with how Peter was taken back to the party that happened at the end of One More Day, there is something that happened that day that made the events of “The Last Remains” possible. That is something that is still not clear, which adds a cool mystery into what is really going on with Harry Osborn and his transformation into Kindred. Because last we saw Harry, he was still a normal family man who didn’t have any sort of villainous tendencies. What exactly triggered Harry to become Kindred and discover the whole deal with Mephisto drives greater interest into what will happen in the final chapters of “The Last Remains”
Spencer adds an interesting layer to the whole Harry Osborn/Kindred character arc by having him visit Liz Allen and Normie Osborn. Up to this point we have seen the focus of Harry as Kindred be on how big of a monster he has become. This is the first time we are seeing the regular Harry appear. What that means for these final two chapters will be interesting to find out.
The surprise in Peter’s face as he discovered what was going on and who Kindred really was worked perfectly. Peter was understandably shocked by finding out that his best friend was the person that has been causing all the crazy and bad things that have happened in his life. Spencer used Peter’s shock well with how Harry as Kindred continued to play mind games by calling out Peter for suppressing knowing the truth. This could very well be true as Peter likely never wanted to think that his best friend could be possible of any of this. Peter’s silence in the final two pages made the ending with Kindred taking off his mask to reveal Harry’s face be very effective.
Bringing in Mark Bagley to draw Amazing Spider-Man #53 was a fantastic choice. Bagley is a classic Spider-Man artist and he went in on his history with the franchise to give the emotional depth of how the flashback to One More Day/Brand New Day factored into “The Last Remains.” Bagley’s art style brought out how we were revisiting such a major event that caused “The Last Remains” to happen. The way he drew both Harry Osborn and Kindred helped tell the story through the art without the need of dialogue.
The Bad: As much good as there is with Amazing Spider-Man #53 the fact is we don’t get much plot development in this issue. The only thing that happens is Peter learning who Kindred is. Outside of that we don’t move very far from where we were at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #52. Which is a shame because there are so many sub-plots to “The Last Remains” that Spencer is simply leaving the complementary tie-in issues deal with.
As we get further into “The Last Remains” that choice is starting to make it look like Spencer took the cheap route by not at least showing the full impact this story is having. In the process he does make “The Last Remains” feel like a small story, which is not when you read the .LR issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Which is all a major disservice to how Spencer himself has built this Kindred story to be a big event.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #53 is all about the big reveal of Peter Parker finding out who Kindred really is. From that perspective Nick Spencer did a great job building up that reveal by using controversial events in Spider-Man’s history to create a strong foundation for why this revelation had such an impact on Peter Parker. Unfortunately not much else happens in Amazing Spider-Man #53 as Spencer has left all the other sub-plots of “The Last Remains” to be told in the tie-in issues.
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