Marvel Comics has been hyping the return of Sin Eater for a while now — longer than intended since the pandemic put things on hold — but that story gets an official start this week in a special one-shot. Who is Sin Eater, how does his story cross paths with Spider-Man, and why is he a threat to Peter Parker now more than ever? Find out in Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude.
If you’re familiar with Nick Spencer’s run on Spider-Man, you might find a few familiar things in this issue. One is a callback to old comics, and another is solid crime drama writing. It’s certainly not a Spider-Man story though, so if you’re expecting the character you might be let down.
This is a helpful read if you’re unfamiliar with the Sin-Eater character. It catches us up to speed before diving into the all-out battle taking place in the main series. There are a few things I didn’t know about the character that not only humanizes him, but establishes he isn’t just some dude with a gun.
There are interesting themes here (some familiar if you’ve been paying attention to pop culture) but ultimately this is a tale about a man whose mind is twisted up and he does terrible things. There’s some semblance of a good person inside Sin-Eater, but it’s likely long gone or it will be very hard for him to find redemption. Which is where I had a problem with this book.
For all the tragedies shown from this character’s youth, there is a lot of anger, obsession, and violence when he’s an adult. Not enough is done to show how the supernatural element affects the character,, nor if there is anything worth saving. There seems to be the suggestion of a duality in the character, but it’s never shown to the reader in a believable way. We’re simply told. The final few pages seem to suggest there’s a victim in this man’s body but I didn’t buy it.
Art is by Guillermo Sanna with colors by Jordie Bellaire, and it’s good at capturing the darkness and shadows that permeate Sin-Eater’s life and back story. Sin-Eater has walked a nightmare kind of life and you can gather that darkness via the visuals. The grungy look and feel are also quite reminiscent of 100 Bullets with a striking use of color where needed.
This is a case where you can see there are good pieces put forth and a solid idea behind it all, but it doesn’t come together in a believable or satisfying way. I want the Sin-Eater to be dark, complex, and unique, but from what is presented it’s grasping at straws.