Comic Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #74
Writer: Nick Spencer with Christos Gage
Artists: Marcelo Ferreira, Mark Bagley, Zé Carlos, Dio Neves, Carlos Gómez, Ivan Fiorelli, Humberto Ramos
Nick Spencer’s three-year run on Amazing Spider-Man ends mostly satisfactorily as the Kindred story arc finally reaches its explosive conclusion.
Following the major revelations of ASM #73, in which Nick Spencer retconned my least favorite piece of fiction ever created, ASM #74 attempts to wrap up the lingering questions and story threads surrounding the villain(s) Kindred. Considering the sheer number of moving parts and characters featured throughout the arc –the Osborns, Kindred, Doctor Strange, Mephisto, and Spidey himself, not even counting the ridiculously large cast of villains featured in Sinister War –it’s not the cleanest ending, but it more or less gets the job done. There are definitely some satisfying moments between Peter and Harry in the final battle with Kindred in what is essentially an issue-long fight scene.
Honestly, I’m relieved that this absurdly lengthy arc has finally finished. Kindred’s presence has been a prominent aspect of Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man since his first issue in 2018, and by this point, both Spencer and Kindred have earned a long rest from the series. While I wasn’t thrilled by the back-to-basics, poor/jobless student Peter approach of his earlier issues, I enjoyed Spencer’s work once he hit his stride with later arcs, and I was frankly overjoyed by his decision to use Kindred as a means to retcon the travesty that is the Sins Past story of the early 2000s. At the same time, after years of buildup and mystery, I’m glad that the Kindred arc has wrapped and that the series is heading in a different direction with a new focus, as the final pages of this issue tease the return of Ben Reilly as Spider-Man. I’m excited to see Ben back as Spidey, and while the solicits for the issues to come suggest that Peter will be taken out of the crime-fighting game at least temporarily, I’m hoping for at least one good Spider-Men team-up.
This is a massive issue at about 80 pages, so it’s no surprise that the art team is absolutely massive. I’m generally not a fan of mid-issue (or even mid-arc) art style changes, but given the page count, it’s understandable. I’ve always found mid-issue style shifts pretty jarring, and that’s still the case here, even more so given the inclusion of a page from Spectacular Spider-Man #200. I still enjoyed much of the middle section, especially the two consecutive sections drawn by Mark Bagley and Zé Carlos. The vast majority of the page count is devoted to all-out action between Spider-Man and Kindred, and at the very least it all looks dynamic with a clear and consistent sense of motion and impact.
Amazing Spider-Man #74 delivers an extravagant conclusion to Nick Spencer’s ASM run and his massive Kindred story. Though the finer details may not all have been sorted out perfectly, the scope and ambition of Spencer’s story comes through in this final issue, as well as those leading up to it. The Sins Past retcon is, to me, the biggest draw of this issue. Anyone interested in that, and of course in the resolution to Spencer’s story threads before the reintroduction of Ben Reilly should be more or less satisfied by the final reveals dropped in this action-packed finale.