I’ve never yearned for a reboot before, but after referencing the worst Spider-Man storyline in recent memory, it’s worth asking for.
Kindred’s mysterious plans for Spider-Man have put the wall-crawler side-by-side with his worst enemy against Sin-Eater and his horde of obsessed followers. He’s fought the Green Goblin tons of times, but now he’s fighting to save the guy’s life in an odd twist of fate. Meanwhile, other members of the Spider Family watch from afar as this is a pivotal moment in Spider-Man’s life that will have ramifications for all of them…but to what end?
The oversized Amazing Spider-Man #49 (aka Amazing Spider-Man #850) is presented as chapters, each handled by a different artist. I’m not usually a fan of switching up artists in the middle of a book, but at least in this case, there are the chapter breaks to have a clean hand over. Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos, and Mark Bagley all have history with the web-head so the artwork looks pretty solid through and through, although Ramos’ forms are a bit too lanky. It’s as if the characters are made of Silly Putty that’s been stretched out too far.
Although I’m still not invested in the Sin-Eater’s crusade, his transformation has been an interesting one to watch. He literally transforms into a monster in this issue after absorbing the powers of the Juggernaut. The design is a bit strange as his body essentially morphs into that of the classic X-Men villain even with the helmet, even though Cain Marko’s head remains the same size under that thing. This adds to his grotesque nature as his muscles bulge with sickening veins. His neck is completely gone. His head is now a big pimple on top of his shoulders. His mouth is stretched across his face in a twisted grimace. It’s gross.
Inkers Cliff Rathburn, Victor Olazaba, and John Dell capture all the unsettling details in this look without missing a beat. You can just imagine the Sin-Eater’s flesh being rough like sandpaper and hard as a rock.
Spidey and the Green Goblin make for a strange pairing. They run into some difficulties in this team up, however at the end of the day, they’re both super smart and think up an elaborate plan to stop the Sin-Eater in his tracks. This leads to a few interesting segments, one of which involves quite a lot of webbing. Letterer Joe Caramagna captures all of the “thwips” in different angles to create an almost claustrophobic experience.
As the other Spider heroes watch on, kept invisible by the machinations of Madame Web, they appear translucent. Colorists Nathan Fairbairn, Edgar Delgado, and David Curiel give them a haunting quality that works well with the ominous cloud hanging over this whole endeavor.
While the action is great and the weight of the tremendous responsibility saddled on the wall-crawler’s shoulders is true to form, writer Nick Spencer commits a cardinal sin later on in Amazing Spider-Man #49: He references “Sins Past.” This is easily the most reviled Spider-Man storyline in the past twenty years if not longer. It’s a super gross concept that Norman Osborn somehow seduced Gwen Stacy, leading to the birth of two Goblin-infused children. To make matters worse, this is referenced in the creepiest way possible, with Norman leering after Ghost-Spider in a super uncomfortable manner. The whole thing is just disgusting.
This leads me to think that Kindred’s true identity will probably be Gabriel, one of the aforementioned Goblin children. Look, ret-cons can be fun and they can lead to some interesting new concepts. Look at what’s going on right now in the Hulk and X-Men comics. Stuff like “Sins Past” are best left forgotten. There’s no redeeming that, despite any great ideas writers may have. Let us all forget about that for now.
This issue was supposed to be a big deal and lead us to what I hope is the reveal of Kindred’s identity, it instead left a gross taste in my mouth. It takes away any anticipation for the rest of this arc and this run entirely, although, that has been waning for some time. I have never longed for a reboot more than after reading this book.
Amazing Spider-Man #49 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.