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REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #57

“[L]ike watching the bowling ball slowly roll back up.

Amazing Spider-Man vol. 5 #57

January 13, 2021

Written by: Nick Spencer

Art by: Mark Bagley

Recap

We open with Kingpin and Osborn hauling Kindred away. Kindred narrates that Spider-Man should enjoy the “happy ending.” Spider-Man and Mary Jane share a confusing reunion.

The Order of the Web then asks him what happened. He said, “I don’t know.” Spider-Gwen tells them all he’s holding back but Madame Web says they will discuss it later.

We cut forward to the end of the last issue. Spider-Man bullies Osborn, demanding answers. Norman says that he changed, but Spider-Man says that Osborn’s decision to trick him (by dressing as the Green Goblin and pretending to attack Mary Jane) shows that Osborn is “the same old lying monster.” Spider-Man adds that Osborn’s past rehabilitations have always failed or been fakes.

Norman asks Spider-Man to help Harry.

The Order of the Web says that they have to stop Kindred and also all the villains who got their powers back. They leave in a large panel, having been renamed just “The Order.”

We cut back to Ravenloft and Spider-Man said he would not help Harry because there is nothing left to help. He threatens Norman and warns Norman not go after Mary Jane. Then he attacks Norman while he relives the trauma of getting repeatedly killed by Kindred. Seeing Norman’s scared bleeding face, Spider-Man pulls back and jumps out a window. We get a close-up of Kindred smiling, explaining that he’s “right were [he] want[s] to be.”

We cut to Carley Cooper examining the corpses that Kindred had gathered for the dinner. Carley looks at the list of bodies and is surprised by something. She pulls off one of the sheets with shock. She leaves a voice message with Mary Jane that there is an extra body and makes a shocked/horrified face and drops her phone. We see one of the Kindred millipedes

Spider-Man enters his bedroom looking sad. Mary Jane asks, “This sin’t over, is it?” Spider-Man, still looking said says, “No, it isn’t.”

Review

This review was late so I had time to make a pointless analogy.

The last issue was a fun reset. It had the thrill of the bowling pin machine knocking down the pins and setting them up again. This issue was a boring continuation of that reset—like watching the bowling ball slowly roll back up. (Apparently, it’s called a “ball return.”) Come on, come on, come on. I see the pins! Let’s start knocking them down!

Basically, we find out what Spider-Man was doing. But Spider-Man’s guilt, trauma, and buried secrets means that we have to stay out of his head. Either the narration would reveal the secret or the narration would be unnecessarily cryptic. So we have all this distance from the main character. The whole point of Spider-Man is that he’s more identifiable for reasons that no one can ever adequately explain. So it’s a less fun book. This could have worked if Spencer gave us . . . someone else. But instead we have a Norman issue and then this issue narrated by a deliberately mysterious Kindred.

I like how Spencer already quit on “The Order of the Web.” In fairness, I kept forgetting the name, too. I really did believe it was the Sisterhood of the Travelling Web. Oh, and “the Order?” Definitely sounds like a wrestling stable or a forgettable thriller. Maybe a Seinfeld episode.

This issue reminded me that Julia Carpenter is always wrong. I wonder if the Greeks hated Cassandra as much as spider-writers hate her.

The Carley Cooper subplot was barely a hint. I guess it might be Kindred who is the extra corpse? Even though he remains in the block of black ice? One thing I forget I have asked you, humble reader. What’s the story with Kindred’s centipedes? It often seems like there are maybe one or two large ones, but that their size is highly variable. And then maybe many small bugs? Do you know? I do not.

Also, this reminds me . . . , What happened to the support group Mary Jane was in? I expected them to turn evil more quickly because all support groups in Marvel Comics eventually do.

Finally, this is the second issue in a row where the villain was laying a cunning plan all along. Last issue, Norman was tricking everyone. This issue it’s Kindred. I think we’ve had a few more of those twists. They’re not doing it for me.

Anyway, I am not looking forward to more sad, scared, angry Peter.

Grade: B-. A good enough companion to the previous issue . It almost feels like this is material that was cut from a larger book, and it lacks any independent value. 

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