(Image Source: Marvel / Leinil Francis Yu)


Published in 2006, Spider-Man: Reign is largely remembered for two reasons. The first is how it borrowed the base concept of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and applied it to Peter Parker. That is to say a retired superhero comes out of retirement to save the day. The second is how it used radioactive semen to kill Mary Jane Watson. Few wanted a sequel, yet Marvel has seen fit to publish Spider-Man: Reign 2.

The tone for Spider-Man: Reign 2 is set immediately on the first page. It is here that Kingpin, kept in a starved state for many years, turns to cannibalism and eats Mayor Waters, the villain of the original Reign series. Sometime later, Wilson Fisk is the Mayor of New York City and the effective King of what remains of civilization.

(Image Source: Marvel / Kaare Andrews)

Cut to sometime later and Peter Parker is broken out of prison, where he was kept in a virtual reality meant to simulate his perfect life. His savior is the daughter of Black Cat, Kitty-Kat, who is as flirtatious as her mother and appears to be underage. (Comparisons to the Catgirl of Dark Knight Strikes Back are inevitable and likely intentional.) She works on behalf of a third party, who wants Spider-Man to save the world. Again.

(Image Source: Marvel / Kaare Andrews)

Writer/artist Kaare Andrews presents no original ideas in Spider-Man: Reign 2. The effort to homage Frank Miller crosses the line into parody. There are many scenes that are unintentionally funny in their efforts to be grimdark. Ironically, the parts that are likely meant to be funny (like an elderly Peter Parker web-swinging in his underwear) are more sad than mirthful.

(Image Source: Marvel / Kaare Andrews)

This might be forgiven if the ugly story didn’t extend to the artwork. Unfortunately, Andrews also mimics the worst excesses of Miller’s art in modern comics. Throw in some muddy colors, and it is often hard to tell the characters from the background in some scenes.

Ultimately, there is little to recommend Spider-Man: Reign 2. Fans of the original series will likely be pleased with it. However, it is hard to imagine any other audience for this book. It is mean-spirited and bleak, serving only to see how much more suffering can be inflicted on Peter Parker before he cracks forever.

Grade: 1/5.

Spider-Man: Reign 2 is now available at comic shops everywhere.


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”}]] With ugly art and an uglier premise, there seems little reason for this sequel to Spider-Man: Reign to exist.  Read More