Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Spider-Man: Reign #2

By Jason Mott
February 13, 2007 - 13:15

Building off of the events of issue number one, with Reign #2 big things could be happening. Set in a dark, totalitarian future, Spider-Man: Reign is the classic “hero comes out of retirement” story. Having re-donned the web-slinger mask in issue one, Peter Parker grapples with his guilt over the loss of his wife, Mary Jane, while combating the duality of the Spider-Man persona. To make matters worse, The Reign (an oppressive, governmental regime) has released several of Spider-Man’s old nemeses in the hopes of rubbing out the wall-crawler and forcing the populous of New York to depend even more on its already stifling government.

The writing in Reign #2 is several steps above where it was in issue number one. While issue number one came off feeling very “stock” and “done too many times before,” issue number two begins to develop along its own lines. In this story, Andrews takes advantage of all the things that make the Spider-Man character unique. Peter Parker’s largest mental obstacle in Reign is his inability to let go of his guilt over the loss of loved ones in his life, which has been the character’s defining characteristic since his inception. Also, Andrews takes a clever turn in making this future Peter Parker’s Spider-Man costume a duplicate of the famous alien symbiote costume. The genius of Andrews plan begins to show when we see how separate and distanced this future version of Peter Park is from his Spider-Man persona. In a very real sense, there are two personalities at work here, and what better way to reflect that than to resurrect the image of the alien symbiote?

The artwork of Reign #2 also seems to be coming into its own just as the writing matures. While issue number one was in no way lacking in the art department, it was plagued by a sense that it was mimicking or, at least, giving a respectful nod to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. However, issue two separates itself from the shadow of that classic comeback story by using a mixture of old-fashioned pencil work and state-of-the-art computer altered coloring. The end result is something different and special. The panel layout of this issue is exceedingly easy on both the eye and the mind. At no time are there any confusing “panel leaps” to jar the reader. Not only are things smooth and navigable, but there’s even room of a little artistic flourish. Almost dead center of the issue is a beautiful “white space” spread that removes the panel lines and tosses the reader into the depths of Peter Parker’s fractured psyche. After a sluggish start, the momentum of Spider-Man: Reign is building nicely. Hopefully, by the end of the series, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will join the ranks of Batman and Superman and prove to fans of “the comeback story” that it can still be done.

Overall: 8/10. Wall-crawler on the rise.

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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