Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man has been doing a lot for the past year. Beginning by bringing Peter and MJ back together, the run has tied up plenty of loose plot threads while moving consistently forward. Underneath every story, however, has been an ominous bandaged figure, who knows Peter’s identity and who has nearly all of Peter’s enemies in New York under their thumb. This looming figure has been a mystery for the entire run so far, and the threat has been growing in the background, to the point that this figure was in Peter’s home with MJ sound asleep during the events of “Hunted.” This issue finally reveals something about the figure, although there is still very much shrouded in mystery.
This issue is framed as some well-deserved R&R for Peter after he defeated Kraven in the events of “Hunted.” Beginning with Peter relaxing with MJ on one of New York’s more recent attractions, The Vessel, the issue initially seems to be a light romp. However, it quickly switches tracks to Mysterio in a therapy session in an asylum. As his therapist pressures him to get over his fear of the bandaged figure, claiming that the it is most likely a figment of Mysterio’s own imagination, Mysterio becomes more and more terrified at the prospect of saying this figure’s name. This does a great job setting up how terrifying this bandaged entity is, as centipedes begin to fill the room and a nursery rhyme starts echoing. Spencer does an excellent job with the horror elements in this scene, as the figure kills Mysterio before addressing Peter himself, and telling him his name. Peter wakes up, confesses the visions he’s seen to MJ, before revealing the name of this mysterious figure: Kindred.
While not very much is revealed this issue, it is an excellent tone setter for what this upcoming arc is promising to be. Kindred is truly terrifying, as he breaks through a door to confront Mysterio the reader can feel the dread he causes. The scene of Mysterio’s therapy is shrouded in shadow, as his therapist’s face can never be clearly seen, and panels of Peter writhing in his sleep are interspersed throughout the session. Kindred’s appearance is terrifying, as he breaks through the door after some creepy children’s chants. His dispatch of Mysterio is equally terrifying, as there’s just enough blood on panel for the brutality to come across, but the art focuses on Kindred’s face, and his smile.
Ottley’s art is a major reason why this issue works. Kindred’s appearance is terrifying, and the mood set throughout the issue has a lot to do with the art. The shadows over the therapist, and the change in color when the centipedes start entering the room, do an excellent job setting the tone. Fairbairn’s colors alongside Morales and Rathburn’s inks accentuate Ottley’s pencils incredibly, resulting in a gorgeous, evocative final product. There really aren’t enough words to describe how perfect the depiction of Kindred was; this antagonist is being set up to be a terrifying foe for Spider-Man, and more importantly, for Peter Parker.
Spencer is known for his humor, and this issue does not disappoint. The strength of the humor comes from the jokes not detracting from the tone, either. Spencer knows exactly when to be funny and when to drop the façade and dive into darkness. This issue is an excellent showing from Spencer, Ottley, Morales, Rathburn, and Fairbairn, and sets up an incredibly tense confrontation in the near future.