Welcome to another addition of The Marvel Rundown! It’s a pretty exciting week, what with all the X of Swords crossover goodness and the launch of Kieron Gillen and Jacen Burrow‘s much-anticipated Warhammer 40K miniseries. Today’s feature is Amazing Spider-Man #50, where Nick Spencer and Patrick Gleason finally tell the story readers have been waiting to read for ages… who the hell is Kindred, and what does he want?
That’s coming up, along with some quick reviews, in this week’s Marvel Rundown!
Amazing Spider-Man #50
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Patrick Gleason
Colours by Edgar Delgado
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Patrick Gleason and Morry Hollowell
For such a flagship character, and with a pretty impressive line-up of artists who have worked on this book since its relaunch two and a half years ago, Amazing Spider-Man feels strangely… under the radar. Nick Spencer has a penchant for smaller, more comical tales and his occasional visit with blockbuster storytelling mostly leaves me unsatisfied, what with their flat stakes and unimpactful endings. Under his watch, Amazing Spider-Man has had some pretty fun, small-scale stories to be found in it, but once in a while it takes itself pretty seriously and almost instantly loses all sense of momentum and tension. This is one of those times.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with the book, the big bad of this run is Kindred, a mysterious, centipede-adorned skeleton baddie who has a real obsession with Peter Parker. His motivations haven’t been clear, but his identity is clearly something Spencer has been having fun teasing. It hasn’t been that fun to read, though. After more than two years of teases this story has become quite tedious, which is why I was excited to read this latest story, “Last Remains.” It seemed pretty clear to me that we’d finally learn Kindred’s true identity… but I didn’t think we’d learn it in this issue, nor in the way in which we learned it.
Before the story even started in earnest, it’s deflated for me. I won’t spoil anything, but the Kindred twist isn’t even presented to Peter. It’s presented to the reader. For something that both the reader and Peter have been struggling with for years, I thought it would have made perfect sense for both of us to know who Kindred is but now we’re way ahead of our protagonist, who for the entire series up to this point knew as much as the audience did at any given moment. There’s an argument to be made for the merits of such a strange storytelling decision, but all I know is that I’m not even that excited to read on anymore. And this isn’t just a gut reaction; I’ve read through this numerous times over the course of a few days. I’m done processing it. I’m just curious to see what Kindred has been planning, and why he’s doing this.
It also feels strange to be jumping from one big story over to another without any breathing room in between as has been the norm for this series. Heck, the last issue was an 850th issue extravaganza and that was last week! There was a lot of material in this issue that I felt would have been better served being included in the last issue, especially since #850 had no less than three short stories by other creators. It’s just such a bizarre schedule the Spider-office operates under.
But enough of that. Onto the craft. This issue heralds the return of Patrick Gleason to the book, who I think is a welcome addition to the team. Colourist Matthew Wilson isn’t returning, however. Whether or not this is a good or bad things is something I’m struggling with. On the one hand, Wilson is obviously one of the best in the business. On the other, I found his work on this series to be a bit too busy. Those early Gleason pages in that Doctor Doom story from last autumn were just drenched in colour, and shone like neon off the page. As I said, it was a bit too busy for me.
Instead, Edgar Delgado jumps in and I don’t know if this is any better. Instead of highly saturated colour, Delgado aims for a more muted approach to these pages. It’s a little easier on the eyes but Gleason’s expressive linework doesn’t come through due to this muted approach. Strangely enough, Delgado’s colours make Gleason’s pages look more like something Doug Mahnke would do, which is interesting since they were rotating artists on that Superman series from a few years ago, and they even shared an art studio for a time. I guess I never really noticed how closely their art styles were until this issue. Nonetheless, this is still a gorgeous issue with some pretty cool moments in it.
Final Verdict: As you can tell, there’s not much for me to say given how tight of a rope I’m walking on when it comes to Kindred spoilers. Ultimately, I’m giving this a BROWSE. If you’ve been dying to know who Kindred is, then obviously pick this issue up. If you’re on the fence, then I suggest spending the money that you would on this eleven-issue arc on something else because I can’t think of a more exhausting time than reading “Last Remains.”
- Captain Marvel #22
- A new starting point for our cosmic Avenger, we pick up after the events of Empyre, Captain Marvel has found out she has a Kree half-sister who is now the Kree-Skull Accuser, her relationship with Jim Rhodes/War Machine is moving forward and she’s been reinstated in the US Air Force, so of course, the universe has to shake up her world. Without spoiling the story I like where Kelly Thompson has taken Carol, mixing up the status quo but in a way that isn’t too much for a new or casual reader, great for a nice arc makes me wonder how long this can last. —GC3
- Hellions #5
- Maybe you’ve heard there’s this thing going on called X of Swords, a multi-dimensional tournament where the champions of Krakoa vs. their counterparts from Arakko, it’s sort of a big thing with the X-Men. And the Hellions had nothing to do with any of it until Mr. Sinister convinces the Quiet Council into authorizing a covert mission to steal the enemy swords before they can be retrieved by the Arakkoans, forcing a forfeit. Adding to the danger of the mission, Mutants currently can’t be resurrected, putting final death back on the table, whatever that means for comics. Zeb Wells has created the X-Men’s version of the Suicide Squad mashed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy led by an evil Deadpool making for a quirky bag of crazy nut buckets fun. —GC3
- Immortal Hulk #38
- The Leader’s assault on Banner and his gamma-powered compatriots continues. At this point it’s almost impossible to gush over just how much Al Ewing and Joe Bennett have been knocking it out of the park on this book. Readers unfamiliar with Hulk lore might not recognize a certain character who makes an appearance here, but those who do will certainly appreciate how Ewing, Bennett, and co. are tying together all aspects of the Hulk’s history as part of their ongoing epic. If you’re not reading Immortal Hulk, you need to change that immediately. —JG
Next week, X of Swords continues with Excalibur and X-Men issues, Christopher Cantwell and Cafu‘s next issue of Iron Man graces our eyeballs, and Daredevil!