For better or worse, we’ve all been hanging on the edge of our seats for a conclusion in Amazing Spider-Man. But now that the Kindred story is over, where do we go from here? According to Amazing Spider-Man #58’s solicit, “the seeds that he’s planted along the way for the next start to bloom”, which means work has been done for this latest story arc to build off of. How does this play into Nick Spencer’s year-long run? Find out (or don’t!) in this week’s issue!
This issue opens with Spider-Man reliving the hell Kindred put him through as he faces his demons, before literally facing Mister Negative’s demons. Cut to May Parker helping Martin Li get his strength back. It’s a good smash cut and it adds proper tension to the narrative since May is likely in danger being around Mister Negative aka Martin Li.
Juggling two other major plots, Spencer is effective in how he’s moving the Kindred story along. The true mission of Kindred remains in question, but it’s interesting to see the fallout of his actions. What he’s done to his family is natural and believable. There are good callbacks to previous issues, like the recent Web of Venom: The Good Son, which build on Spidey history that’s rock solid. “Juggling” is an appropriate word for this issue since it’s tossing a few familiar threads in the air and some of them are coming down on top of each other in surprising ways. The cliffhanger seems to suggest there’s a pairing we’ve never seen before, for instance, which is exciting.
This issue works so well thanks to how it spends its time with characters outside of costumes. Peter is trying to help others as Peter, the same as May, and it’s these relationships Spencer is building on. These are relationships with long histories–which this issue visualizes in quick montage flashbacks — adding to the depth of what we’re reading. That element might go over new readers’ heads, but it’s done well enough where readers can see this is a story about people and how they are affected by those who wear masks.
Marcelo Ferreira opens this book with some excellent Spider-Man action. Inked by Wayne Faucher with colors by Morry Hollowell, the use of shadow and light is exceptional. The tears in Spidey’s costume look great and you can get a sense of the man under the mask, too. This is truly a dark tale, which you can see in how eyes are cast in shadow or how emotions run high. The intensity of emotion is shown across various characters, which aid in creating a sense of drama in a book that is light on action. Again, Ferreira does well with these scenes. Quick cuts to flashbacks work well as they hover literally over Peter’s mind and integrate amongst panels via dissolve.
If the Kindred story has been a frustrating one for you, or at the very least drawn on too long for you, you’ll need to separate yourself from it to enjoy what is on the page here. The character seemingly won’t leave the minds of these characters as they ponder what he’s done to them or think about the man under the mask. Still, Kindred’s presence hangs over this issue in a way that can feel frustrating. The character is literally in a box, unable to be removed from the narrative. His presence seems to be on every page due to the choices in a darker color and heavier inks. It’s not clear why Kindred must remain a focus save for his ties to family, but his smirking face seems to suggest a plan is still taking place. From that, the reader is still left wondering what he could be plotting, which is at this point tiresome.
Amazing Spider-Man #58 is a good start to the “Negative Space” story arc, tying closely to the family aspect of the characters. The relationships Peter has with these characters are the lifeblood of the issue, just as they were what made the original Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s runs so appealingly. That aspect is captured well here.
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