I can’t remember the last time a comic book run has made me go back and forth between enjoying and disliking how things are developing the way Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run has gone. Specifically since Spencer has gone all in on Kindred no longer hiding in the shadows the way things have been going in Amazing Spider-Man has been all over the place. The story involving the return of Mr. Negative and Wilson Fisk setting his plans involving the top crime bosses in New York is an example of how the quality has been all over the place. On one hand the continuation of Fisk returning to being Kingpin is fascinating, but the return of Mr. Negative left a lot to be desired with how it was executed. But even than the question is how will Peter Parker respond to Harry Osborn being Kindred? We haven’t gotten a full response to that. Let’s see if Amazing Spider-Man #60 starts clearing that side of the narrative up.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inkers: John Dell and Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
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: Peter Parker wakes up screaming after once again having another nightmare about Kindred. Mary Jane Watson walks in the room and tells Peter to get dressed as they have a place to be
Later MJ takes Peter to the condemned theater where MJ got her big break as an actress. She gets them inside and walks Peter to the stage. MJ places a spotlight on Peter. She tells him that there is something deep in his subconscious that he want to let out and now is the time to do that.
Peter is not sure about this. MJ reveals that after Gwen Stacy died she went to see a therapist and they ended up suggesting using the stage to get out how she felt bad that she was not able to say goodbye to her best friend. Peter tries to talk her out of making him do this but MJ says this is something he needs. She then asks Peter to close his eyes.
Closing his eyes Peter focuses on everything Kindred said until he finally taps into something inside himself. When Peter opens his eyes he pictures Harry Osborn as Kindred in the front row waiting to hear him say something.
Peter admits he has been confused about everything Harry has done as Kindred has left him questioning why Harry couldn’t just explain things to him. He goes on to say now he is starting to understand his responsibility in all this. Peter goes on to talk about how he has taken on being Spider-Man to atone for his past selfish choices. He goes on to talk about how people around him still pay for his superhero life as Spider-Man and that he is maybe living in the hell that Harry said he wanted to show him.
Peter goes on to talk about how his personal life has gone not being married, having no kids, and still barely able to make ends meet. He goes on to say that he wants to break this cycle and that’s why when he saw Harry as Kindred locked up in Ravencroft he beat the crap out of Norman.
Peter then breaks down and says he lied about being done with Harry and Norman because Harry is still his best friend. Peter goes on to say that he will confess anything but just wants Harry to tell him what that confession is.
MJ gets back on stage and gives Peter a hug. Peter thanks MJ as that did help him.
Peter then says he’ll miss MJ when she gets back on her promo tour. MJ reveals that she is permanently staying in New York to be with Peter and will work things out with the studio to have the premiere of her movie be in the city. Peter says MJ is amazing and kisses her.
Peter then realizes he is late for class and takes off.
Once she is alone MJ calls out Mysterio, knowing that he was listening in to most of that. Mysterio wonders what Peter will think when MJ reveals she worked with him on her big return. MJ says she’ll tell Peter the truth eventually but first wants to know what Mysterio’s connection to Kindred is. Mysterio says that some things are better left not being known as they are all on the road to Hell.
Elsewhere Doctor Strange barges into a poker room. There Doctor Strange finds Mephisto and demands to know what is wrong with Peter Parker’s soul. End of issue.
The Good: Now this is more of what I’m talking about. Nick Spencer finally gets back to what he does best by having Peter Parker start to realize his responsibility in the events of Kindred. This is a major element in this whole Kindred Saga that has been missing. So I’m glad that Spencer is finally delving fully into Peter’s role with Amazing Spider-Man #60.
In placing a focus on Peter Parker with Amazing Spider-Man #60 Spencer was also able to bring back Mary Jane Watson into the fold in an important way. While MJ did return for during “Last Remains” that was more of a guest appearance role. With Amazing Spider-Man #60 she does feel more like a permanent member of the series and we see through her relationship with Peter why MJ is such a key character in this franchise.
Throughout the first two-thirds of this issue Spencer gives you a good idea of how important it is for Peter not to be alone. When he is by himself dealing with things Peter is at his weakest. But when he does have people like MJ that he can turn to just talk about what is going on we do see him get better control of himself. Which all goes to highlight how Spider-Man is at its best when we see the supporting characters, like MJ and Aunt May, are part of the stories unfolding.
This also goes to highlight why it was important for Harry Osborn as Kindred to isolate Peter from everyone in his life. As see through Peter’s entire monologue living such an isolated life away from others in his life is hell for him already. Even as Peter knows he has taken on the responsibilities as a superhero by choosing to be Spider-Man he does want to break the cycle of pain he has been through since he was a teenager. That self-awareness of how we are in a constant cycle of Peter dealing with the “Parker Luck” the character is so known for is a great thing to deal with. For the first time in a while we get how Peter is now looking to move forward rather than going through the motions of fighting against not catching breaks when trying to balance his life as Spider-Man.
MJ being there to help get this out of Peter showed the strength of their relationship. MJ once again showed how she is the rock in Peter’s life as she knew only Peter could find the answers to what happened with Kindred. MJ admitting to going to a therapist after Gwen Stacy’s death was a good way of having her open up more to Peter so that he can feel comfortable getting out his own feelings about what went on in the “Last Remains” arc.
MJ talking to Mysterio after Peter left was an interesting angle to circle back to her ongoing series that ended last year. Spencer once again teases us with the fact that MJ knows much more about what is going on with Kindred than she has revealed to Peter. And it is not just the fact that Mysterio is working for Kindred. It does look as though MJ is getting to the point of admitting what she knows about the events of the One More Day and Brand New Day relaunch. That all makes the arc that MJ will now be on as she is back in Amazing Spider-Man more intriguing that even what Peter is going through.
The interest in the connection to One More Day and Brand New Day further increased with Doctor Strange confronting Mephisto at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #60. With Doctor Strange straight up calling Mephisto out on something being wrong with Peter’s soul was a great hook to end on. Even as someone that greatly dislikes One More Day I can’t help but feel invested in what this all means for the future of the franchise. Spencer could do some very big things with how this major event is brought into play with how the entire Kindred Saga ends up wrapping up.
Mark Bagley once again delivers his consistently strong artwork with his work on Amazing Spider-Man #60. Bagley is completely at home drawing a Spider-Man comic. Even as this is a comic book that focuses mostly on Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, the art does a great job in complementing what is being said. There is a sense of action to the way Peter in particular goes through a wide variety of emotions as he taps into his own subconscious that Bagley does brings to life in such expert fashion.
The Bad: While this was one of the better Amazing Spider-Man issues by Spencer it wasn’t without its faults. The one that stood out most was the ties to the Amazing Mary Jane series. Spencer keeps it vague enough that you do feel as though there is a massive amount of information that is missing if you did not read Amazing Mary Jane. This is where I wish Nick Lowe dropped an editors note to let readers know to read Amazing Mary Jane to get more context into what MJ and Mysterio were talking about.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #60 was a strong return to form to what Nick Spencer does best with his run on this series. The focus on Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson made the progress in the ongoing Kindred Saga much more compelling. While some may not like the fact that One More Day and Brand New Day are being brought back into play Spencer has done enough to create investment in at least giving these plot elements a chance to be explored within this ongoing story.
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