The penultimate issue of Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man is out this week. It features Kindred, Mary Jane, and Spider-Man (though as is tradition in this series, he’s kind of a side character), as well as definitive answers! Well, as definitive as a few retconned flashbacks can be, but even still, this issue changes things. That’s an exciting element of this final story arc since so much history has been tackled up until this point. More importantly, though, is Amazing Spider-Man #73 good?
This issue opens with Spider-Man battered and beaten by the various supervillains he’s been fighting in the mini-event Sinister War. Truth be told, this issue is more about Norman and Harry Osborn and the long history they’ve been mucking around with in Spider-Man’s life. It’s pretty convoluted, and for that reason, this issue does well to try to straighten the very crooked line of Spider-Man’s life they’ve tampered with.
Spoilers ahead for Amazing Spider-Man #73.
As the preview reveals, Kindred continues to mess around with anyone he’s in the room with, and this time he’s showing Mary Jane his true face as Gwen Stacy’s. Or is it? The seemingly endless teasing of who Kindred is continues even in this issue after Kindred has admitted to being Harry multiple times. Ignoring the teases, this issue digs into key moments in Harry’s life and how much of it never happened how we were told originally. That goes for his death, but also two key children Norman Osborn sired with Gwen Stacy.
As a comics reader who got into Spider-Man around the time Peter’s parents returned, this issue hits pretty hard. It adds new details to that event that changes some of the contexts. It also goes a long way in showing how Harry isn’t just the son of Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin, but a major villain who has played Spider-Man and his father. This issue also touches on other key moments in Harry’s trials over the years, further retconning or adding new detail to straighten the crooked line.
If you’re okay with retcons of this nature, you’ll probably enjoy this issue well enough. It can feel like Spencer is messing with history to add cheap stakes and surprises to the narrative, but this is superhero comics so any story can and will change. One negative to this issue, in particular, is how Mysterio is used. He’s used not once, but twice to explain away what characters thought or saw at the time. Of course, when these comics originally came out the writers intended for the things to be true, so the use of Mysterio here is feels pretty cheap.
The issue ends with a Doctor Strange scene that pretty much accomplishes nothing, or at least no more than the previous scenes with Mephisto. Again, there are elements in this story arc that read like we’re limping into a finale that could have wrapped up months ago.
This issue continues to juggle four artists with Ze Carlos, Carlos Gomez, and Marcelo Ferreira on pencils and Alex Sinclair on colors. Once again, key scene changes and cuts to montages help split up the artist’s work so it’s never jarring when the style changes.
Amazing Spider-Man #73 isn’t a bad issue…as long as you can stomach the retconning and the ongoing teases of Kindred. It continues to play the usual story beats we’ve seen since Kindred’s story first kicked into gear, making portions of this feel rote, but the flashback reveals are meaty and connect with very important moments in the Osborn backstory. Sadly though, this continues to read like it’s not Spider-Man’s story at all, but a means to fix the kinks in Green Goblin’s past.
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