Review: Things Finally Start Coming Together In ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #51

by James Ferguson

Overview

Picking through continuity to tell a new tale and break a deal with the devil. How does this shape up?

Overall
7/10
7/10

Kindred has finally launched his attack against Spider-Man, turning the rest of the Spider family into monsters in the process. The wall-crawler seeks the help of Doctor Strange, but will the Sorcerer Supreme be able to stop these sinister forces? Things get ominous as “Last Remains” continues.

I have been lamenting about Amazing Spider-Man for a bit as it felt like writer Nick Spencer has introduced quite a few plot threads without tying any of them together. This issue gets a bit clearer, harkening back to the first issue, as well as another controversial storyline “One More Day.”

One aspect of this run that I love is the rekindled romance between Peter and Mary Jane. It’s something that just feels right. It brings out the best in both characters. Knowing that years ago in “One More Day,” the pair sold their relationship to Mephisto in exchange for Aunt May’s life. Since they proved that their love is stronger than that, what does that mean for the deal? We know the devil is untrustworthy, but what happens when he’s not the one who reneges on a contract?

This is presented in some interesting ways as Strange tries to get to the heart of Kindred’s attack. He’s stopped at every path because there’s something there blocking his way. It’s not outright said, but it’s pretty clear this is the deal with Mephisto. Seeing as how the villain has been popping up in Ghost Rider and Avengers, I’m curious if there aren’t bigger plans for the devil in the Marvel Universe.

I wasn’t clear on how Spider-Man knew this was a mystical attack in nature at first since we didn’t get a very sequential telling of events after issue #50. Things jumped around a bit. This chapter clears that up with a frightening scene with Silk. Artist Patrick Gleason really shines here and his work with the monstrous form of this character makes me desperately want to see him do a horror comic.

At first, Silk just looks a little off. It comes down to the eyes. They’re vertical slits, like those of a cat. Then as Strange pushes her, Silk explodes in an unsettling burst of flesh, horns, and teeth before slowly transforming back to her regular self. It gives us an idea of what we can expect of Kindred if this is his opening act.

In typical Spider-Man fashion, he carries a tremendous amount of guilt around. In this case, Kindred is trying to push him to confess to…something. The character carries the weight of not only what is happening to his friends, but just about anything that could go wrong in the world. It’s part of what defines him and it’s also frustrating as he doesn’t really know how to ask for help. Sure, he reaches out to Strange here, but there are some twists to it showing how he still tries to go on his own.

The shadows loom large in Amazing Spider-Man #51, contrasting with the bright energy of Strange’s incantations. Colorist Edgar Delgado drives home the mystical power with an electrified light. They swirl on the page in bursts of purple and blue. Letterer Joe Caramagna matches this with some creepy looking fonts. It’s clear we’re tapping into something otherworldly.

Things are finally starting to come together in Amazing Spider-Man. While there are some deep cuts, there are still a good amount of unanswered questions. This issue hasn’t redeemed the wishy-washy nature of the series to date, but it’s a step in the right direction. I am curious how it will continue to weave through existing continuity to tell this tale.

Amazing Spider-Man #51 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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