The end of Nick Spencer’s Spider-Man epic ‘Last Remains’ is almost here. But before we get to the end of this big storyline there are a few players in Kindred’s plot that still need to be put into position to get ready for that conclusion. More specifically, we still have to see how The Order of the Web, Mary Jane Watson, Norman Osborn, and Sin Eater will end up when we get to Amazing Spider-Man #55. That is where the Amazing Spider-Man .LR issues have come in as they have told the story of these characters within the ‘Last Remains’ arc thus far. Where will all these characters end up when Amazing Spider-Man #55 begins? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR.
Writers: Nick Spencer and Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Federico Vicentini and Takeshi Miyazawa
Inkers: Federico Vicentini, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Scott Hanna
Colorists: Marcelo Ferreira and David Curiel
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We open with events from the past when Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) took Mary Jane Watson to the George Washington Bridge, the exact spot Gwen Stacy died. (This event happened in Spectacular Spider-Man #200.) When Mary Jane tells Green Goblin she is not afraid to die Harry takes off his mask and says he wasn’t going to hurt her because he loves her.
Harry breaks down talking about how Peter Parker (with the line about Peter being MJ’s husband left in) set up his dad to kill Gwen and he knows nothing he can say will convince her of that. MJ asks Harry why he brought her there then. Harry admits that it was to promise MJ that he’ll never do what Norman did to Gwen because he treasures their history and friendship. When Harry mentions how innocent they used to be MJ brings up how they weren’t so innocent as they all had pain in their lives they tried to hide. She then asks Harry to take her home.
In the present, Norman Osborn has brought MJ to the cemetery where Kindred is holding Spider-Man at, which is the same cemetery the deceased members of the Osborn family is buried in. Norman and MJ then have a back-and-forth as MJ still remembers everything Norman has done even with his current forgiving persona.
Elsewhere, Kindred (Harry Osborn) taunts Peter as they see this scene between MJ and Norman. Kindred then reminds Peter that those two aren’t the only ones he has “invited” to their location.
In another part of the cemetery The Order of the Web (Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, Ghost-Spider, Silk, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, and Madame Web) are confronted by Sin Eater. Sin Eater tries to convince all the members of The Order of the Web to let him cleanse them all. The Order of the Web turn down the offer and charge right at Sin Eater.
Sin Eater is able to punch Ghost-Spider and sends her flying. Sin Eater fires his shotgun but Spider-Woman is able to dodge the cleansing bullets. Though Spider-Woman is able to hit him Sin Eater grabs her and starts absorbing her powers. Spider-Girl interrupts the process by nailing him in the back of the head with a large stone.
Recovering quickly, Spider-Woman tells the others that Sin Eater just used Morlun’s powers on her. With this knowledge The Order of the Web fight Sin Eater together.
As that happens Kindred continues to taunt Peter about how The Order of the Web do fight just like him as they do everything they can to stop Sin Eater even though it is futile.
Seeing that Sin Eater is still overpowering them Madame Web offers herself to be cleansed by Sin Eater. Sin Eater does not hesitate and shoots Madame Web with his cleansing shotgun.
Sin Eater immediately absorbs Madame Web’s powers. Madame Web’s powers causes Sin Eater to see everything that is going to happen. Since he can’t control it the vision Sin Eater has is also seen by Spider-Man, Ghost-Spider, Silk, Spider-Woman, and Spider-Girl.
Being overwhelmed with all the knowledge he has been given by using Madame Web’s powers Sin Eater realizes that he has just been used and lied to by Kindred. Not being able to take it anymore Sin Eater commits suicide with his shotgun.
Sin Eater shooting himself with the cleansing shotgun causes all the powers he absorbed to be released back to their original users, including Madame Web. Madame Web wakes back up and immediately tells everyone to run.
This warning turns out to be too late as Kindred uses his demonic centipede to capture all of The Order of the Web. Kindred smiles and tells The Order of the Web they are already too late.
In the forest area near the he cemetery Norman meets up with Mayor Wilson Fisk’s anti-vigilante task force. Mayor Fisk appears and tells Norman that his plan better work. Norman wickedly smiles that MJ or no one else knows their plan that he guarantees will work.
Norman then then reminds Mayor Fisk that when it is all done that he gets Kindred. Mayor Fisk agrees. End of issue.
The Good: As the last issue before the finale of ‘Last Remains’ Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR does everything it needs to do to set the stage for an epic conclusion. There is no wasted panel to be found in this issue. The focus of how Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR creates even greater tension over how ‘Last Remains’ will end is what makes this stand out so well.
As with its other .LR tie-in issues Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR did a very good job managing how much time every character not named Peter Parker and Harry Osborn are used. By developing The Order of the Web, Mary Jane Watson, and Norman Osborn’s role in the story are there is a bigger sense of how ‘Last Remains’ is truly a culmination of the Kindred story Nick Spencer has been telling since he started on Amazing Spider-Man. All the previous storylines involving all these characters are used well to enhance the events we are seeing take place between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn in the main chapters of ‘Last Remains.’
Starting out by using content from Spectacular Spider-Man #200 added to how important Mary Jane Watson is to this story. The exact pages that were used was what made all of this work as well as it did. Through those pages from Spectacular Spider-Man #200 we got a reminder of how important MJ is to the franchise. She is not just Peter Parker’s love interest. MJ is someone who has a deep connection to the franchise that goes beyond that. This includes MJ’s friendship with Harry Osborn, which dates back to as far as her relationship with Peter.
Nick Spencer and Matthew Rosenberg used those pages from Spectacular Spider-Man #200 to enhance how important all of MJ’s dialogue was. She is well aware that she cannot trust Norman Osborn no matter how much he says he has changed. MJ is way to familiar with Norman’s history to ever trust him. Which helped emphasize the reason she even allowed Norman to take her to the cemetery was not because of him but because she wants to help Harry. There is a connection that she has with Harry that MJ believes can help in what is going on.
This makes the ultimate role MJ will serve in ‘Last Remains’ the biggest wild card in the entire story. Because we have seen how Harry as Kindred has gloated to Peter that everything is going as he has planned. But we saw in those pages of Spectacular Spider-Man #200 that MJ can break through and speak to Harry the person. The set up to this key fact was well told as it could be something that Harry in his transformation into Kindred possibly forgot.
What makes this even more interesting is that in the flashback neither the editors nor Spencer and Rosenberg removed the reference to Peter and MJ being married. This is another example of Spencer bringing back into play all of Spider-Man’s continuity moving forward. It could all point to whatever Kindred has been doing to Peter up until now has been to bring back what ‘One More Day’ and ‘Brand New Day’ removed from continuity back into still happening. Which creates even more questions as to what Harry’s true endgame is as Kindred.
The battle that The Order of the Web have with Sin Eater did a great job in wrapping up the villains plot line. While it is disappointing that this payoff did not happen within the main chapters of ‘Last Remains’ it was well told none the less. The shock in Sin Eater’s expression as he learned how he has been manipulated from the start was very fitting. Sin Eater’s pure belief that he was revived to serve a greater purpose to save the world from sin only for that to be a lie made his suicide an even more powerful turn. It was sadly the only way his whole arc could end after how he went about “cleansing” so many people.
The way Madame Web factored into this turn by Sin Eater also came across as very rewarding. Finally after seeing Madame Web act in her usual vague ways for so many storylines we get some payoff to that act. The moment that she gave herself over to Sin Eater’s cleansing procedure came across as her stepping up as the hero she previously was, rather than the all-seeing Oracle she normally is. This action creates greater interest in what Madame Web will do after ‘Last Remains.’
With Sin Eater’s suicide causing the release of all the sins and powers he accumulated in himself it’ll be interesting to see what the consequences of all this will be. We already got a hint that this will have large ramifications on the Marvel Universe as Norman Osborn met up with Mayor Wilson Fisk right after turning back to normal. This is a team-up that will not be good for anyone. Especially as it seems that Norman did have plans already in place to use the events going on with Kindred to his advantage to gain more power. What those plans are could begin to plant the seeds for an even bigger storyline than ‘Last Remains’ down the road.
The artwork by Federico Vicentini and Takeshi Miyazawa was well handled. Both artists did a good job keeping the pacing of Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR going forward with how they split up their respective pages. There wasn’t a time were you noticed when the switch between Vicentini and Miyazawa happened. The action with Sin Eater and The Order of the Web helped as those scenes made good use of the speed of the Spider-Man Family against the overwhelming power of Sin Eater.
The Bad: There is no doubt that Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR is a must-read if you are reading ‘Last Remains.’ So much happens in this issue that you are left wondering why Nick Spencer couldn’t have added a little more of this type of content in the main chapters of ‘Last Remains.’ Those thoughts standout with all the scenes involving Mary Jane Watson and Norman Osborn. Those two characters are such key pieces to ‘Last Remains’ that there is no excuse they haven’t appeared in the main chapters of this story. Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR just places a bigger spotlight on that fact as we head into the conclusion of ‘Last Remains’ in Amazing Spider-Man #55.
On a minor nitpick point, it was odd that there was no Editor’s Note for the flashback scene from Spectacular Spider-Man #200 that opened Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR. Marvel is usually good about having an Editor’s Note when it comes to referencing major story beats like we get here. It would’ve been helpful if the exact issue was mentioned to give readers a better idea of what to read to get a full context of this story.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #54.LR accomplishes all it set out to do in bringing all the players in the ‘Last Remains’ to where they need to be for the finale. Everything that goes on here comes across as important to the greater story Nick Spencer is telling in ‘Last Remains.’ That will be good for readers that are reading these tie-in issues alongside the main ‘Last Remains’ story but could hurt those that are not when reading the finale in Amazing Spider-Man #55.
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