Nick Spencer and Marvel Comics have launched a compelling story in Amazing Spider-Man called “Sins Rising.” There is nuance, complexity, and real moral stakes in play here that are messing with Spider-Man. Sure, he can lift a car or even a building, but Spider-Man is at his best when he’s morally pushed. In “Sins Rising” part 2, out this week, Spencer and artist Marcelo Ferreira explore the concept of justice by way of society, and it’s not pretty.
This issue is built a little differently, opening on interviews with people who attended an event that is attacked by the Lethal Legion. The reactions of the attendees are a big part of why this book works, as their perspective on the attack is important. Spencer is clearly exploring the general public’s perception of violence and right and wrong. It’s in the audience’s reaction and thoughts after the event juxtaposed with Spider-Man’s take that’s so interesting. Spidey is always looking out for the little guy, but also wants to save everyone. What happens when he’s in the minority when it comes to villains getting ruthlessly murdered?
That’s a question the reader can answer themselves thanks to how Ferreira draws the violence. Sin-Eater shows up at one point to enact his justice and the book ensures the violence as brutal as possible while not showing anything graphic. It’s in the reactions of the characters being killed, or the dead eyes of Sin-Eater as he blows bad guys away, that this is most felt.
Colors by David Curiel and inks by Roberto Poggi keep the book looking quite dark, which suits the horror story style of Sin-Eater. This is quite frankly one of the darkest Spider-Man comics I’ve read in a while.
There is also an underlining mystery of sorts in regard to what is happening to those Sin-Eater kills. This aspect plays into the final seven pages as Norah Winters attempts to figure out what happened to the victims. This chunk of the story is overly wordy and focuses too long on the victims, losing sight of Spider-Man and his take on everything. I can’t say I really care about these characters and it’s also rather shoehorned in to see Norman Osborn. If you missed Ravencroft you’ll likely feel a bit confused by his presence, too.
The book essentially stalls out as we wait for Norah to do her research. The lack of use of Spider-Man is a failing I’ve found in this series, and it continues here. Even in the fight sequence, he’s taken out quite quickly. It’s almost as if he’s a bystander in his own title a lot of the time, and it shows in these final few pages.
Another problem is Sin-Eater himself. Right now, he plays the part of bogeyman, showing up out of nowhere to wreak havoc. That’s all well and good, but there isn’t even a hint as to what his deal is, nor has there been a moment for Spider-Man to do much thinking on it either. It’s not clear what his deal is, and if he is just a puppet, that’s a hard thing to care much about. The book walks a fine line between Sin-Eater being a supernatural entity and a callback to a real person that Spider-Man tussled with before. It needs to pick one or the other to achieve a resolute purpose.
I’m liking the “Sins Rising” story so far, and this issue integrates a clever story mechanic that works well with the goals of the book. That makes Amazing Spider-Man #46 a recommended read on its own merit and as part of a larger story. That said, the last chunk of the book is dry, overly wordy, and decidedly lacking in Spider-Man. It’s a rocky second chapter, but I’m hopeful this long-awaited story pays off.