“Last Rites” begins with more questions than answers, but at long last we learn who is behind Kindred’s mask.
Kindred has been pulling strings in the shadows of Spider-Man’s life for some time. The centipede-clad villain knows all about Peter Parker and has a deep connection to Norman Osborn. After committing his most heinous act yet, his identity is revealed. What does he have in store for the webhead? “Last Rites” begins here.
Although we found out who is under the mask, we still know next to nothing about Kindred. As a reminder, this character was introduced way back in Amazing Spider-Man #1 and here we are 50 issues later and he’s just as much of a mystery as ever. While we get a big reveal, it only raises more questions.
The Sin-Eater has taken up a good amount of pages in Amazing Spider-Man lately and it feels for naught after this issue. I honestly wonder what the point was of shoe-horning in this obscure villain from the wall-crawler’s past. If we had any idea as to what Kindred’s real powers were, how he got them, or how they worked, that might make things clearer. As it stands, writer Nick Spencer leaves us with more confusion than clarity.
The real shining star of Amazing Spider-Man #50 is artist Patrick Gleason. This is a fantastically illustrated comic. Although we don’t know a lot about Kindred, the threat he poses to Spidey is shown in exquisite detail. He unleashes an attack that is suffocating in nature. It surrounds Spider-Man and his allies, snuffing out any hope they may have after escaping from the Sin-Eater’s horde. Gleason drives this feeling home with a dynamic layout and some super creepy imagery.
Think of the words evil, hate, and anger. How do they represent themselves visually to you? That’s what’s on display here. Gleason has this gnashing entity full of teeth and spikes. It’s absolutely horrifying. Colorist Edgar Delgado gives this an ethereal tone with an almost translucent quality. This draws the eye as it contrasts with the shadows that loom all over.
Kindred’s voice is one of gravelly terror. Letterer Joe Caramagna invokes an eerie sound in the scratchy word balloons, adding to the overall frightening aspect of the character.
The narration in the first few pages of Amazing Spider-Man #50 echo some of the things I’ve been saying about the series as of late. “I know this has been…frustrating.” “Rough start, I know.” “Clearly, I am off my game.” I’m hoping that now that we’re finally getting to the heart of this story that’s been percolating for ages that some of the many loose ends will start to come together. As it stands, it looks like it’s leaning into shock value for no real reason. It’s super hero torture porn. Since no time has been spent developing Kindred as a villain, his actions come across as hollow and mean for no reason.