“Last Remains” has kicked into high gear of late in special .LR issues, and we enter part two in The Amazing Spider-Man #51. This story arc features Patrick Gleason on art as Nick Spencer continues his long-awaited Kindred story. It’s a horror story that mixes in the supernatural, key historical moments for Spidey, and the ever-present danger that Mary Jane may be next.
This issue is a bit longer than your conventional 20-page book told over four different scenes. It opens with Silk kicking Spidey’s butt, moves on to Doctor Strange picking Peter’s brain, jettisons into a magical realm, and ends on a nightmarish scene that has been teased and shown prior in earlier issues. It can be summed up as Spider-Man’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He’s getting his butt kicked by a friend, must feel the shame of lying to himself and a friend, get thrust into an uncomfortable realm, and close things out in utter horror. Kindred’s whole schtick is to make Spider-Man’s life suck, and this issue is proof of that.
The core of this book is about Spider-Man’s secret, which is something Kindred has hinted at for some time. We still don’t know what it is, but it’s the main crux of Spider-Man’s hardships. Those hardships are being propelled into a magical realm, which suits the powerset of Kindred, who seems to be able to do incredible things with the twitch of the nose.
Since the narrative is holding its cards close to the vest, it’s hard to know how to feel about Peter’s doubt and terrible secret. Is he just being hard on himself, or did he truly do something wrong? Is his desire to save MJ no matter what rooted in valid concerns, or is this all forced on his psyche due to Kindred? It’s hard to gather.
Gleason’s art is great, with multiple showstoppers in the issue. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man’s emotive eyes you’ll enjoy the volume and drama of Gleason’s work in a few select panels. In another, Black Cat gives Spidey a wink that’s filled with mischievous charm. In a scene where Spidey enters a magical realm, Gleason’s style switches to a sketchier and thinner inked line that separates it from the real world nicely.
Edgar Delgado colors feature some interesting choices made, like a more subdued color for a magical realm that makes it feel sullen. The final full-page splash plays with light well in a way that’ll send a shiver down your spine.
So far, “Last Remains” is an interesting story because it’s so different from the norm. Spider-Man is in a hellish nightmare of sorts, and deep down he knows it’s his fault, but can’t say why. While it can be frustrating to try to piece together what is going on, it’s hard to deny the general mood and atmosphere of this story suiting the spooky season and how it feels entirely different. For that, The Amazing Spider-Man #51 is an interesting foray into a dark place that is unusual and intriguing.
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