As we get closer to Ben Reilly’s huge return as the Amazing Spider-Man in Issue #75 as part of the Beyond era, I wanted to take a look at Nick Spencer’s last big event for Pete. Can this mishmash of various Sinister Six teams fighting leave a huge impact in the grand scheme of things? I’m betting no, but who’s to say.
For context, I originally hopped onto Spencer’s run around the #850 landmark and the Sins of Norman Osborn one-shot. I had a fun time with both of those but Last Remains quickly lost my interest, although I do love the Order of the Web’s involvement. That’s to say I’ve heard all the critiques with this run being too drawn out, not getting to the point with Kindred in time and not making any lasting resolutions to One More Day.
If I’m being honest though, I think I liked this issue. Is it a top-tier Spider-Man story for the ages? No, and I wasn’t expecting it to be. Is the craft from a comic storytelling perspective really that good here? Also no. What it does do is have fun; it’s just teetering on that goofy 90’s Spider-Man animated series vibe. Mark Bagley and the colorist Brian Reber are able to pull off some impressive stuff here with the various teams crashing the film premiere. Everyone wanted to go all out here.
Some other positives here include some of the interpersonal relationships. Pete gets to support MJ as she walks the red carpet and it’s a genuine feel good moment. Carlie Cooper & Harry get some interesting back-and-forth interrogating as they have their own mystery to figure out, then whatever is going on in Mysterio & Vulture’s feud. Now it’s time…to address the octopus in the room.
Technically the return was in Amazing Spider-Man #70, I get that, but this felt the most insulting. I am of course talking about Doc Ock, formerly known as the Superior Spider-Man. We get a brief moment of Pete reflecting on the events of Superior plus Mephisto actually being in the issue. Something more artistic could have been done here rather than starting with a punch to Vulture from one of his arms. He’s doing his whole spiel you’d expect. I hope the later issues of this event will have any ounce of reflection from him.
The Kindred and Mephisto & Strange moments were just flat-out boring. You would want to see the various villains fighting because that’s the promise of the event; instead we get this mystery almost laid out to Pete but not quite just so it can be dragged out bit more. I am intrigued by what the second issue is going to bring with the smaller Sinister Six groups showing up at the end but again, I’m also dreading those pointless Kindred speeches and Mephisto/Strange talks. I’ve always felt Strange just gets tacked onto Spidey stories for no reason and this is no exception. If the meat of the event can just focus on the action and let Bagley do his thing, this can be a decent one.