Kindred’s schemes have been looming in the background of Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man for the past year, and after the reveal of his name last issue, his presence has never been felt more. However, he’s not the only focus of this issue. It’s a celebration of a full year of Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man, tying up and pushing forward several plot threads that have been running since his first issue on the series. Featuring an all-star art team of the past, present, and future of this title, this issue is an excellent capstone for the first year of this run while still setting up a lot of future story arcs with great potential.
The main story of the issue features two parallel stories that join at the end, one featuring Peter tying up some loose ends from the end of Hunted, and the other featuring Mary Jane trying to have a nice, normal night out. Peter’s story is an emotional wrap up to the Lizard’s struggles that have been in the forefront throughout this series, drawn by Humberto Ramos. Curt is emotionally wrecked after having gone feral during the events of Hunted, and Peter has to convince him to not give up and to go back to his family, all while fighting a swarm of self-replicating killer robots. The conclusion of this plot thread allows Spencer to follow up on another thread that had seemed dropped from the first arc – Peter going back to college to make up for his plagiarized degree. This finally sets up a proper status quo for Peter after a very tumultuous year, and it’s a status quo rife with potential for future stories.
The other storyline is Mary Jane’s, which is the highlight of the issue, with art by Ryan Ottley. It kicks off with MJ and Carlie Cooper going to see a play after Peter was unable to come with them, and meeting the actress Melanie Daniels, who replaced MJ in her soap opera from back in her acting days. There are a lot of fun continuity nods and worldbuilding, but this fun night out takes a turn for the worse when the new Electro busts in to hold Melanie hostage for ransom. The day gets saved, not by Spider-Man turning up in the nick of time, but by MJ herself putting on a show and outsmarting Electro. This story is immensely satisfying to anyone invested in MJ as a character, as it provides her with her own agency entirely separate from Peter and her relationship with him. She saves the day not because she knows Spider-Man, but because of her own acting chops and personal history, and it’s a wonderful way to show just how far MJ has come, culminating in some incredibly mysterious setup for her own upcoming arc. The amount of agency that Spencer gives MJ is incredibly refreshing, and makes her upcoming direction incredibly exciting.
The rest of Spencer’s story is three scenes focused on setting up future arcs. The first – with Ryan Ottley – is for Kindred, as he hints at his future plans for Peter and his friends, which look to set up a major Spider-event in the future. Next is a scene by Kev Walker with Electro, which promises to set up the new Secret Six, a team that Spencer is extremely familiar with. This is poised to lead into an already solicited arc, but is still very exciting to watch unfold. The last little episode is drawn by Patrick Gleason and teases something that almost no one was expecting to play a role in this run – the future. This final story teases something major happening with Spider-Man 2099, which is a very interesting prospect and could drastically change the direction of the book going forward.
After Spencer’s main part of the issue, there are two short stories that are a ton of fun. Zeb Wells, Todd Nauck, and Rachelle Rosenberg do a fun team up story, while Keaton Patti and Dan Hipp do an absolutely delightful short comedy story that is best not spoiled. Everyone else on the issue does well with their parts, but Patti and Hipp absolutely steal the entire show to end the issue.
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