When it comes to Spider-Man stories ‘Last Remains’ has been able to stand on its own by delivering unexpected challenges for Peter Parker. Everything Nick Spencer has done with this Kindred storyline has come across as a culmination of not just his run but other big Spider-Man stories. That is not an easy thing to accomplish since the stories Spencer has chosen to be key parts of ‘The Last Remain’ are among Spider-Man’s most controversial stories. Now after everything that has happened it looks like Spencer is getting to wrap things up for ‘Last Remains’ and show how it will impact the franchise’s future? Let’s find out what is next by checking out Amazing Spider-Man #56.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inkers: Andrew Hennessy and John Dell
Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg and Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Some time in the past Norman Osborn meets with Mayor Wilson Fisk. During the meeting Norman says he knows who Kindred is and because of that knows what Kindred will do. Norman and Fisk then come up with a deal that includes capturing Kindred by using the power of the Spot, who Fisk has captured since the time Hydra’s took over of United States (Secret Empire).
In the present, while Green Goblin and Kindred are fighting in the tomb Fisk activates his Spot powered device to capture Kindred.
Later at the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane, Norman has his team ensure that Kindred can’t escape the prison they’ve created using Spot’s powers. Fisk then shows up to pick up Kindred so that he can use the demon’s powers to his advantage. Norman says that for that to happen Kindred must be broken and no one can break Kindred like he can. Fisk agrees and leaves Norman to do what he has to before turning Kindred over to him.
After Fisk leaves Norman screams at his team to leave him alone with Kindred.
Once he is alone Norman drops his façade to honestly talk to his son inside Kindred. Norman apologizes to Harry as he admits that everything with the deal with Fisk was the only thing he could think of doing so he could ensure no one hurt Harry.
24 hours earlier we see that when Peter checks on MJ after the pumpkin bomb explosion that it was nothing more than a prop grenade and MJ was acting like it hurt. MJ then asks Peter to play along.
In the present, Norman explains how he was working with MJ the whole time so he made sure he was able to time everything to put everyone in position to use Spot’s powers to escape.
Flashing back 24 hours ago again, as Spot’s powers are covering the room Peter tells MJ to make sure Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Ghost-Spider, Madame Web, Silk, Spider-Girl, and Spider-Woman get to safety.
Back in the present Norman goes on to admit he knows that it is his fault for what Harry became. Norman goes on to say that even though he is still not sure what Harry’s endgame was with how he used Sin-Eater that it gave him the chance to see Harry through the eyes of a loving father. Norman then reveals that he knows this is a change within himself because while those that regained their powers after Sin-Eater killed himself again went on a rampage again.
It’s shown one person who has changed from his experience from being cleansed and regaining his powers was Overdrive, who thanks Carlie Cooper for saving his life and asks her out on a date.
Meanwhile, at FEAST, Aunt May is shocked to find a disheveled Martin Li pleading for help.
Back inside Ravencroft, Norman reveals that for some reason he has been spared from having his sins return to reclaim him. Norman believes that it is because he needs to help Harry. He then pleads with his son to help him understand what is really going on.
Back once again to 24 hours ago, Spot’s powers capture Kindred. Before he is fully taken Harry tells Peter and Green Goblin he did this to make them remember what they did. For Peter, Harry wanted to show his friend that he is the cause of so many people’s suffering because of his hubris. For Norman, Harry wanted his father to feel how much pain he caused. Before he is incased in Spot’s prison Harry cries as he says he wanted to show them how powerful their lies were because he loves both Peter and Norman.
Green Goblin tells Peter to put on his mask and leave before Fisk and the anti-vigilante guards show up.
Back in the present, Norman promises he will find out about the truth that Harry was talking about. Spider-Man (Peter Parker) suddenly shows up and demands to talk with Norman. End of issue.
The Good: As comic book fans we are understand that superhero lives are forever in a “To Be Continued…” status. But there comes a point when that is used as an excuse to stretch a story farther than it should be. And for Nick Spencer’s ‘Last Remains’ story he has officially reached that point with Amazing Spider-Man #56.
The one positive out of the writing was how MJ’s acting abilities played a big role in stopping Kindred. MJ came across as in control of the entire situation even when Peter Parker was freaking out. It made the moment she helped the rest of the Spider-Man Family leave be an even more rewarding moment from everything we have seen her do in both the main and tie-in comics for ‘Last Remains.’
Mark Bagley being on art duties for Amazing Spider-Man #56 was definitely another big win. His artwork makes you feel at home with how he draws Spider-Man’s world. He gets across what the characters are feeling at every moment in this issue. That made the turns we see happen throughout Amazing Spider-Man #56 at least hit on a visual-level.
The Bad: I probably sound like a broken record by now but it has to be said. Nick Spencer did not treat this as a six-part story. Spencer made the decision to make the Amazing Spider-Man .LR tie-in issues vital to understanding ‘Last Remains’ developments. That in turn made ‘Last Remains’ was in fact a story that took place over the course of twelve issues, and still counting after Amazing Spider-Man #56 ended with another “To be continued.”
With that in mind, it is unacceptable that in the twelfth chapter of the ‘Last Remains’ story we are still spinning in circles with what the hole point of this Kindred story is about. Even if Spencer is calling this twelfth chapter of ‘Last Remains’ a post-mortem that is not what Amazing Spider-Man #56. This issue is just a combination of how Spencer has been structuring the ‘Last Remains’ story in the main and .LR issues of Amazing Spider-Man. That is made clear with how this issue had about the same page count of the main and tie-in issues combined.
On top of that all Spencer does is spend 30 pages explaining to the reader how Kindred was captured. We don’t learn anything new about what the endgame of ‘Last Remains’ was about. It was all the same thing that Harry Osborn has repeated since first appearing as Kindred.
The whole flashback structure that Amazing Spider-Man #56 took on was just a way to unnecessarily extend this story. There was no point to having the way Kindred was captured take up the entire issue. We should have gone from Norman Osborn and Wilson Fisk’s deal directly to how Kindred was captured and then focus on the present day.
By going with this flashback structure Spencer just creates a comic book that is just boring. It almost felt like Spencer had enough content for a regular 20-page comic book story that he was forced to stretch into 30. It all just limits how much of an impact Spencer was intending to because we are no closer to Kindred’s endgame than we were when Amazing Spider-Man #50 started.
The boredom that sets in with ‘Last Remains’ is best shown with how, after all his talk about remembering their lies, Harry Osborn as Kindred still didn’t get any farther with his plan than when he began. This is after having Harry as Kindred spend twelve issues of vaguely bringing up events like ‘One More Day’ and ‘Brand New Day.’
Which brings us to what the whole point of Kindred killing Peter Parker was to begin with. If there is no visible change in Peter from these death and resurrection other than being lost about his best friends’ actions, there really was no point. All those deaths that Spencer subject Peter, and by extension the reader, to experience was nothing more then senseless gore like you would see from a Saw movie. For a death and resurrection to mean something we should see some change in the character who experiences that. That is not what Spencer shows to happen for Peter.
And that is really one of the saddest things about this whole ‘Last Remains’ experience. Outside of the first two chapters of ‘Last Remains’ Peter Parker has been nothing more than an audience member to Kindred’s plot. Peter stopped being an active part of this story after his first death. He was just there to react to Kindred’s plot and when officially learning Harry was behind it all. It makes the final page where Peter, as Spider-Man, angrily confronting Norman Osborn fall completely flat.
Speaking of Norman Osborn, the whole reveal about what Norman’s team-up with Wilson Fisk was nothing more than a last-minute addition to the ‘Last Remains’ story from the very first panel. At no point did this whole team-up feel like an organic part of the story. Instead, it all just came across as Spencer realizing he wrote himself into a corner with how to end the story and this tie-in to his poorly received Secret Empire story was the best he could come up with.
That just speaks to how rushed all the developments Spencer has had Norman Osborn go through. At no point does Spencer even convince us that Norman is changed. There is no reason given for us to side with the character for even one line of dialogue. Maybe if we actually saw more development from this version of Norman before his last-minute appearance in the previous issue it Norman’s arc would’ve been more impactful. But it was not and that just further speaks to how bad ‘Last Remains’ was structured between the main and tie-in issues.
Overall: What started out as an exciting culmination of Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man up to this point has disappointingly turned into major let down. After being given twelve issues, and still counting, to tell his big ‘Last Remains’ arc all Spencer could do is find the most boring way to stretch out the end of this story. The extra pages that were given to make Amazing Spider-Man #56 an oversized issue just added to the boredom Spencer creates in this “post-mortem” chapter. Luckily, we did get Mark Bagley’s wonderful artwork to look at throughout Amazing Spider-Man #56. So, there is at least that one positive to take away from all this.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter. You can also watch the fun and silly videos Kevin is making over on his TikTok.