Review: Spider-Man Reign

Published on February 8th, 2011

So this week for Trade Tuesday I really wanted to review a Spider-Man book. Why? Because Spider-Man is awesome, so I went through my books and found Spider-Man Reign. I bought this book a while ago and for some reason I never read it. Probably because I was trying to catch up on Invincible and Walking Dead. I can’t believe how long I let this book just sit because it is amazing, one of the best Spider-Man stories I have ever read. If you you’ve never heard of this story it’s about our pal, Peter Parker set about thirty years or so into the future. Written and drawn by Kaare Andrews who does a fantastic job on this book.

spider-manreignThe book starts off in a future New York that is under tyrannical rule under Mayor Waters who has been able to keep New York safe from any and all super-villains, but has also outlawed super-heroes and uses his fighting force called The Reign to keep the citizens under control. At least until the mayor unleashes the WEBB system that will create an artificial barrier around the city, in theory to keep its citizens safe. We then join Peter Parker as an old man working in a flower shop, until he’s fired for screwing up someone’s order. Peter then slinks home with some flowers he took from the shop for Mary Jane who appears to have some sort of mental disorder. Peter is then visited by a decaying J. Jonah Jameson who attempts to make amends with Peter so that he’ll work with Jonah to bring New York back to the land of the free. Peter is not pleased to see the old man and decides to close the door in his face. Jonah is able to leave a package for Peter and leaves. Outside Jonah gets into trouble from The Reign, Peter opens the package and finds his old camera that also hides his old black costume mask. Jonah is getting his ass handed to him until Peter shows up in nothing but a pair of boxers and his mask. Peter beats up the police and sends them on their way, he then goes up to Jonah and punches him in the face.

With Spider-Man back Mayor Waters decides to unleash his new version of the Sinister Six (Sinner Six) which includes his original foes, but now they have bombs strapped to them so that Waters can control them. Peter returns home and attempts to get MJ to pack some clothes so they can escape before Peter is arrested for being a masked vigilante. After an appearance from The Hypno Hustler, Peter decides to put on his black costume and get out of retirement. Peter is forced to fight the Sinner Six, but he’s been out of the game for so long he can’t defend himself against them so well. He is eventually rescued (sort of) by Dr Octopus’ tentacles that are still attached to the Doctor’s decaying body. The tentacles bring Spider-Man to his family members’ graves including Ben, May, and Mary Jane who has really been dead the entire time.

The tentacles dig up Mary Jane’s body and Peter is forced to relive how she died from cancer that was brought on by radiation exposure that came from Peter’s body. Peter faces his demons and eventually emerges from the coffin in his classic costume that he had buried with MJ when she died.

Spider-Man then faces off against the mayor that has been secretly working with Venom for years to get rid of the super-powered population. The only thing the mayor had to give Venom in return was people to eat, and now that the WEBB is activated the entire population of New York is one big buffet for Venom to absorb and turn into his own army. Spider-Man sneaks into the building and slowly takes out the Sinner Six one by one. Peter takes out 5 of the 6 and then faces off against Venom, Peter ends up on the top of the building ready to meet his maker. Then Sandman appears and offers Peter the detonator to the bombs after realizing that his own daughter was killed in the Venom fight. Peter detonates the bombs attached to the Sinner Six which destroys the building and all the Venom symbiotes.

New York then returns to normal. Jonah takes back the Daily Bugle and goes off on the sudden crime wave, but with Spider-Man out of retirement things are looking up.

I loved this book. There’s just so many great things about this, the writing was incredible, at first I thought MJ’s mind had gone and she just couldn’t respond to Peter, but then when you realize that she’s dead and Peter is just insane with guilt, it gave me a Holy Shit moment. If you don’t feel sad while reading this book, you are made of stone. There’s also this whole side story with Sandman’s daughter that does a great job of making you understand how awful the city has become. The whole thing is kind of surreal and after I realized that Mary Jane was dead, it made me start to question what else in the book may also just be in his head. And the art compliments this story perfectly. Andrews does a phenomenal job on making Peter look decrepit and incapable of being a super-hero. In the end this story is about hope, and there’s no better character to portray hope than Spider-Man. I highly recommend this book to anyone, it doesn’t matter if you like Spider-Man or comic books at all, this is just a great story and the fourteen dollars it costs to get this book from Amazon is absolutely worth the price.

Ken Zeider