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Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Guillermo Sanna
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Joe Carmagna
Cover Artist: Ryan Ottley and Nathan Fairbairn

Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude is a one-shot from current Amazing Spider-Man writer, Nick Spencer. Spider-Man mostly sits out of the frame in this one, however, as Spencer tells the life story of one of Spidey’s darker villains, Sin Eater. While the intention is to inform readers about the primary antagonist in Spencer’s upcoming ASM arc, this book can be read on its own without much context or future commitment.

On the surface, this looks like another ASM book from Spencer and Ottley. However, flip open to any random page and you’ll think you’ve opened Bendis’s Alias or a Brubaker/Phillips book. The images are stark, and when you take a closer look at the words they don’t make the book much happier. Spencer leaves behind most of the lighthearted humor readers are accustomed to from his Spider-Man dialogue and favors a tale that’s closer to a grim crime thriller than a superhero story. It certainly shows off his versatility as a writer, considering how well he’s able to do both.

Despite Ottley’s work gracing the cover, the interior art team has a style significantly less cartoony than Ottley’s typical stuff. Sanna tends to use thick lines and zooms in on the details important to the story, doing a lot with a bit less. Bellaire follows that example by using only a few muted colors on most pages, emphasizing the grittiness of the book’s tone. It combines well, and though jarring at first compared to the recent ASM arcs I’ve read, I really appreciated its use to tell the story.

This book is good to read for anyone who is eager for the upcoming Sins Rising arc of Amazing Spider-Man. However, it also steps out of the superhero comfort zone and uses a lot of mature subjects and a bit of surrealism to give the tortured backstory and recap of a villain that hasn’t been seen since the ’80s. If any part of the previous sentence appeals to you in the slightest, this comic is worth picking up. While the book certainly encourages readers to continue on to ASM, it isn’t required to appreciate the story.

Review by Andrew Fellner