It seems we've reached the calm before the storm in Nick Spencer's Amazing Spider-Man run. Norman Osborn's Green Goblin is on his way back, issue #850 will be here soon and the mystery behind who or what Kindred is will undoubtedly be solved in the coming months. But before we can get to any of that, Spencer wants both Peter and the readers to jump back in time and take a look at an older Spider-Man villain, The Sin-Eater.
To call Stanley Carter one of the more interesting or unique characters in Spidey's rogues' gallery just isn't accurate. Simply put—it never felt like he fit in a Spider-Man book. He doesn't have a particularly interesting origin, his costume is woefully bland, he doesn't have a personal connection to Peter beyond one particular murder, he rarely shows up in media outside of comics (and when he does it's not with the mask and gun), and his appearances in said comics are nothing to write home about. Heck, his biggest claim to fame is being a footnote in Eddie Brock's origin story just before Venom arrived.
Sin-Eater is a serial killer with a shotgun, a green ski mask and split personality disorder. Nothing more. It would fit nicely in a Punisher book, but not here.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude looks to fix that as Spencer tries to cram some pathos and internal struggle into Carter before he sets him loose in the next issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. And for the most part, he manages to pull it off, making Carter re-tell his original killing spree. Long-time readers will be rewarded early on, as you'll get the nagging sense in the back of your mind that something is off about this recap
Once Carter figures out what's going on the comic kicks into high gear, especially when artist Guillermo Sanna twists his classic style into distorted swirls of blood-red and black. Carter's illustrated inner turmoil feels straight out of a horror film and it shows that Spencer definitely wanted the chance to play around with this character.
And yet for all the tortured religious upbringing and haunting imagery, Spencer doesn't quite stick the landing on bringing this all back around to Spider-Man. We see a direct callback to panels from when Carter initially killed himself while Peter was still in the Black Suit, but if you asked me right now why Carter is about to turn his shotgun on Spidey, I couldn't give you an answer.
No amount of beefed-up origin stories can get around the fact that Sin-Eater would make a better villain for Daredevil, Punisher or another of Marvel's grittier heroes. Thankfully, one of Spider-Man's most colorful villains is set to return, as well.
Published by Marvel Comics
On July 22, 2020
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Guillermo Sanna
Colors by Jordie Bellaire0comments
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Ryan Ottley and Nathan Fairbairn