The “Sins Rising” story arc has been a good one, and this week we’re onto part 3 in Amazing Spider-Man #47. Can Nick Spencer and Marcelo Ferreira make Sin-Eater relevant? How will the public react when they realize they love a killer? And what will Spider-Man do to sway them? This week’s issue is all about a cult forming around Sin-Eater, which is more or less how modern society seems to be going, but as a fully functional comic book story, is it good?
This issue functions with a few scenes opening where we left off in reporter Norah Winters’s car. It’s a bit of a fake-out, but Sin-Eater is good at that: he’s shot Spider-Man in the chest without killing him, and he appears nearly out of thin air when he needs to. This opening leads to a rousing montage of people believing Sin-Eater’s hype and getting on board with his brand of justice. It’s a frightening thing to read in our tribal, cult-of-personality political climate. That fear and darkness is what hovers over this story arc and Spencer does a good job making it feel poignant and well-timed.
Following the first half of the book are some key scenes where Spider-Man learns a new truth about Sin-Eater (or at least gets convinced he may not be a killer), and then a full-on confrontation. Ferreira’s pencils, along with Roberto Poggi’s Inks and David Curiel’s colors, make that confrontation come alive. It’s cool to see Sin-Eater’s powers at work and Spider-Man tries his hardest, but you believe he can’t win since the art backs that up. The framing of the action is exciting, with plenty of blows landing and hurting Spider-Man. There’s a lot of psychological fear in this story arc and the art team capitalizes on it through good choices in splashy color behind panels and the heavy inks that drench Sin-Eater.
This issue doesn’t quite come together perfectly, though. The problems begin with a scene where Spider-Man is told information not even hinted at until now, which feels cheap. It seems out of nowhere and misleading to even have this detail in the comic. This leads to Carlie Cooper talking about her father, a cop who turned out to be a bad one. The sentiment and point of her dialogue are heartfelt and important — she tried to reach him and help him change, but some people can’t be saved — but it’s written in a way that’s drawn out, hard to follow, and overlaid on a page that’s not very interesting to look at. Simply put, the idea Spencer is presenting is good, but it’s just not all that interesting to read.
This leads to further problems in its ramifications and point in the comic. Nor does it give any grander meaning to the story arc, since it’s not adequately tied to Sin-Eater visually or thematically. I spent a lot of time thinking about how this dialogue meant anything to the arc, and while I believeI’ve gathered what he’s saying, I think most will miss the point.
Amazing Spider-Man #47 is a good third part, but it has its problems. I found the roundabout way of finding the resolution that some people can’t be saved frustrating, even if it is a good point to make. The overarching idea of this arc — that some people want to be bad and do terrible things for what they think is a good cause — is a sound one, especially in a time where cultish behavior seems rampant. Unfortunately, it’s not quite gelling perfectly, but I respect the effort and the art.