We still have no idea as to why any of this is happening as this series continues to walk in place. At least the art is good.
So it’s all built to this. Kindred, who has been revealed as Harry Osborn, has Spider-Man trapped in a cemetery, surrounded by the Spider Family, now called “The Order of the Web” by no one but the solicitation copy, with Mary Jane, Norman Osborn, and Kingpin waiting to make an entrance. After all this time, we are now at the big showdown. “Last Remains” concludes here and we finally get some answers, right?
Wrong. We are no closer to understanding why Harry is doing any of this. He keeps references sins that Peter has committed, but has been pretty tight-lipped as to what they actually are. It’s like a parent telling a child that they know what they did, but in this case, no one has any idea. It’s more akin to being yelled at by a stranger on the street.
The lackluster reasons writer Nick Spencer provides pull from super old issues of Amazing Spider-Man, when Peter first hooked up with Mary Jane, leaving Harry in the dust or when Peter didn’t put the Green Goblin away because Norman had amnesia. I don’t see how that’s any sort of justification for the havoc Harry has wreaked in Spider-Man’s life for the past two years. It’s petty.
The thing about this whole arc and Kindred in general is that there’s a good story here. It’s like Spencer just got a bunch of cool new toys and he’s playing with the box they came in instead. Think about this for a second. Kindred’s unearthly powers most likely come from Mephisto, the devil himself, who Peter and MJ did a deal with during “One More Day” to save Aunt May’s life and make Spider-Man’s identity secret again in exchange for their relationship. As part of that, since history changed, Harry Osborn was brought back to life. At the beginning of this series, they got back together. They reneged on their deal with the devil.
That’s a really cool idea. Harry could be acting as this emissary from Mephisto, showing what happens when you mess with the devil. Reality itself could be warped by this conflict. Instead, we get Norman Osborn yelling at his son and the Kingpin pulling in some vague deus ex machina that isn’t explained at all. What was any of this for? Remember Sin-Eater? Remember Mysterio? Why did any of this happen if it didn’t have any payoff?
The bright side of all this is the artwork. Patrick Gleason is incredible. Judging from his work in Amazing Spider-Man #55, I desperately want to see him do a horror comic. This book is super creepy with some pitch perfect framing that really ups the tension and scares.
My favorite sequence comes in a heated encounter between Spider-Man and Kindred where the former punches a hole right through the latter’s face. The villain is then fighting with this huge hole in his head, with the pieces around it framed like teeth. Kindred fights back with a horde of maggots descending across Peter’s face and I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
There are some shots of Kindred without the mask that fall a little flat. He loses most of his menacing qualities when he’s just plain old Harry, even if he is surrounded by giant centipedes. Granted, he is rather angry. Letterer Joe Caramagna drives home the pure rage that he’s feeling, although we still aren’t clear as to why he feels this way.
There are some flashes to the moments Harry references that colorist Edgar Delgado shades with a lighter color. This distinguish them from the present and also harken back to a simpler, more carefree time. It’s startling to see the contrast between the two time periods and how far these characters have come.
I keep reading Amazing Spider-Man because this is my favorite character and I hope to see some sort of pay-off for all the cool ideas that have been seeded along the way. Unfortunately, each issue has been a letdown as we’re left hanging wondering where any of this is going as more characters and concepts are introduced. That’s the theme of this entire series to date: Interesting ideas. No closure.