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Comic Book / Spider-Man: Reign

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Spider-Man: Reign is a four-issue comic book miniseries written and illustrated by Kaare Andrews.

Taking place 30 years in the future, Reign finds New York turned into a fascist state closed off from the rest of the world. Run by Mayor Waters and his merciless police force, "The Reign", the city is free from all matters of super-beings. Peter Parker is a now a washed-up old man mourning the loss of his wife, and most of his allies and rogues are either dead or gone.

And then, one day, an old "friend" appears at his door with a familiar package...

A sequel to the book was announced on August 9, 2023, with plans to release it in 2024.

Spider-Man: Reign provides examples of:

  • The Ageless: What Sandman has become (or perhaps always was, given how his powers work). Decades after Spider-Man's disappearance, he still looks exactly as he did in his prime (in contrast to the other members of the Sinner Six, who are all either decrepit old men or a legacy). It's implied that due to his powers, he's basically immortal so long as nothing kills him.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the Kingpin, who is kept alive via an intravenous drip for ten years and paraded out once a year in front of the mayor who eats a steak in front of him.
  • Becoming the Mask: Venom. He claims that Eddie Brock is still alive within him, but he clearly is no longer Brock or the symbiote: he is only Venom.
  • Big Bad: Mayor Waters, the man behind Reign. Except he's really just a puppet for Edward Saks, who is Venom under a different name.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sure, Peter's wife is still dead, a lot of people have died due to Reign, and crime has returned to pre-Reign levels in short order... but the city is finally free, Venom and the Reign have been wiped out, and it has Spider-Man, and other superheroes, to defend it. Peter regaining happiness after decades of misery is something of a happy ending as well.
  • Canon Foreigner: Mayor Waters is not an established Marvel character, and has no relation to any of Spider-Man's enemies.
  • Cerebus Callback: The comical Hypno-Hustler shows up, forcing the Reign agents to dance with his boom box... only for the batteries to die. He's shot to death immediately after.
  • City in a Bottle: New York is this thanks to the 'WEBB'. The intention is to protect New York from outside 'super terrorists' but it also prevents anyone from leaving. This is also as is so that Venom can spawn a symbiote army to enslave and slaughter the civilians easier.
  • Cool Old Guy: Although Peter is now a depressed old man, he still manages to effortlessly defeat his old foes (Venom and the Sinister/Sinner Six) in combat.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: One cover shows Peter in his heavily tattered costume, cradling Mary Jane's grave.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: For all the hype the Sinner Six gets, Peter easily trounces most of them. especially Mysterio and Scorpion, who are taken down with embarassing ease. The only ones who put up any real fight are Kraven and Electro.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Doctor Octopus has been dead for decades, but gave his mechanical arms, his "sons", one last command, to find Peter Parker and bring him to MJ's grave where he buried his original Spider-Man suit.
    • Eddie Brock is either this or has suffered Death of Personality—Venom claims Eddie is still in there but Eddie never makes an appearance as himself.
  • Dead Guy Puppet: Doctor Octopus does this to himself. He programs his arms (still attached to his corpse) to rescue Spider-Man after he dies and get him to reignite the age of superpowered beings.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Seen when Spider-Man foregoes the Darker and Edgier black costume in favor of the classic red and blues, all while singing a familiar tune.
  • Determinator: Spider-Man manages to plow through the members of the Sinner Six and still come back for more. He even survives an explosion.
  • Deus ex Machina: Referenced when Doctor Octopus arrives to rescue Spider-Man.
  • Disney Villain Death: Scorpion tells Spider-Man with his new tail, he can do anything. Spider-Man asks him if he can fly before kicking him out of a window.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Sinner Six are even older than Peter, but are just as vicious and cruel as they've always been, with the exception of Kraven, who looks younger and might be the son of the original.
  • False Utopia: New York is effectively crime free thanks to the impenetrable "WEBB" system that surrounds the city. It is also a fascist state with armed soldiers terrorizing citizens.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Spider-Man plows through the Sinner Six quite easily during their rematch and no longer holding back.
  • A God Am I: Big Bad Venom is likened to a Greek God, who requires sacrifice in order to be appeased.
  • He's Back!: When J Jonah Jameson is attacked by Reign officers, Peter dons his black suit’s mask and comes to his rescue.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Quite a bit.
    • J. Jonah Jameson, a constant thorn in Spider-Man's side, is the one who spurns him out of retirement and spreads word of his return.
    • Hypno-Hustler attempts to uses his abilities on the Reign officers to help Spider-Man.
    • Dr. Octopus programs his arms to rescue Spider-Man after he dies.
    • Sandman, after his daughter is killed by the Reign officers, gives Spider-Man the detonator to destroy the building and the symbiotes.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The story at first seems to feature two Original Generation villains alongside the Sinner Six, though it is revealed partway into the story that the mastermind of the plot is Venom.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Peter falls into a deep, long depression after accidentally causing the death of his wife Mary Jane.
  • It's All About Me: Venom blames Peter for bringing him to Earth from the Beyonders world during the original Secret War and then abandoning him, and says that everything that has happened has been Venom's revenge. Venom ignores that the reason he was "abandoned" was because he's a PARASITE who literally tried to fuse with Peter and wouldn't take no for an answer, then spent years murdering his way across New York.
  • Killed Offscreen: While Mary Jane's death is heavily implied throughout most of the story and is eventually revealed in a flashback, the death of Dr Octopus takes place entirerly off-screen. They dont even mention how he died, presumably either natural causes due to his age or having been terminated by the goverment. There's also the complete absence of the Vulture, who has almost certainly died of old age. His spot in the new version of the Six is given to the Scorpion.
  • Last Request: As Mary Jane is dying in her hospital bed, Peter is apologizing for being the cause of her illness and telling her how much he loves her, while trying ignoring police sirens and gunshots outside. Her last words have haunted him for years: "Peter, please... go...go..." Years later, her ghost (or his hallucination thereof) finally reveals she wasn't chastising him, but was trying to say "Go get 'em tiger!" one last time. She was always proud of his choices and never blamed him.
  • The Lost Lenore: Mary Jane has died long before the story begins but is one of the most integral characters to the story nonetheless.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: The nameless little girl reveals herself to Sandman as his daughter by turning into cement.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Venom serves as this to Mayor Waters.
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • Kraven the Hunter (presumably the second) infects Spidey and himself with a noxious gas that brings their fears to life. Spider-Man, however, notes that he has been facing his fears the entire story, and as a result is so bored with them that he curbstomps Kraven.
    • Mysterio tried the same thing by pretending to be MJ, and got knocked out with a single punch.
  • The Nameless: The little girl who joins the rebellion is never given a name. She dies before Sandman can ask her. It's implied that her name is Susie based on Sandman's narration.
  • Old Superhero: This version of Peter Parker is now in his 60s-70s.
  • Pastiche: A deliberate one for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. See Shout-Out.
  • Poisonous Person: Peter is this as a result of the radiation in his blood. It ends up killing his wife.
  • Posthumous Character: Mary Jane is now deceased, due to Spidey’s radioactive…body fluids.
    • Doctor Octopus is also long dead.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Sandman dies after giving the detonator to Spider-Man.
    • Also with Doctor Octopus who saves Spider-Man after he dies.
  • Retired Badass: Peter Parker is a senior citizen and hasn't been Spider-Man in well over a decade. Yet he still is able to effortlessly mop the floor with 2 elite Reign officers in his underwear. Literally.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Mayor Waters does this once things turn sour. He doesn't get far.
  • Shout-Out: The news anchor is named Miller Janson, a reference to the creators of The Dark Knight Returns.
  • The Snark Knight: When Peter gets back in his reds and blues, he also resumes quipping, though a lot of them are quite a bit darker and more mature than his usual stock. Case and point, when Mysterio causes him to see images of Mary Jane:
    Spider-Man: Do NOT dress up like a dead man's wife. Not unless he pays you to.
  • Straight Gay: The nameless girl implies this by claiming she doesn't like boys.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Spider-Man and his villains are the only supers that appear in the story, others are not even mentioned, making it unclear if they even exist in this particular universe. The closest thing we get to a mention of other Marvel characters is when Doctor Octopus's corpse makes a reference to Norse mythology .
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted. Spider-Man being an old man now, can no longer afford to fight super-villains with kid gloves like he did in his prime. The Sinner Six learn the hard way in round 2.
  • Walking Spoilers: Sandman's daughter and Venom's entire existence count as two rather large spoilers for the story.
  • Walking Wasteland: Downplayed in Peter's case. It's stated that the spider bite that gave him his powers also made him radioactive. Not to the point where people just drop dead around him but radioactive enough that being in constant proximity and physical contact with him can lead to illness or death. Unfortunately for Mary Jane.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Venom refers to himself as "The one responsibility (Spider-Man) shirked."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Venom's Motive Rant attempts to paint himself as this.
    Venom: You were always talking so much about responsibility and power. You didn't want them anymore, Peter. So I took them both. Something wrong? Not enjoying my little gift? Surprise, surprise! It was so easy to find someone like Waters. Together we did what you could only dream of! We saved this city from itself! Jealous?
    Spider-Man: This... this whole thing... is about me?
    Venom: Yes! That's it! My whole existence is about you! Why would you ever think that, Peter? Could it be because you brought me here, lured me from another world and left me to die!? Look at me, Parker! I am the one responsibility that you shirked! You brought me to this city and made me its prisoner!
    Spider-Man: I never though—
    Venom: No, you didn't. How could the "world-revolves-around-my-existence" Peter Parker!? I was lonely, Peter. So lonely. So finally, I made arrangements to have some friends over for dinner. And they are having you for dinner. All of you.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Sandman's daughter is shot by the Reign in her cement form. He scoops up the pieces and tries to get her to reform. He initially thinks she succeeds and then...
    Sandman: I look down at the hand I'm holding and it's no longer cement. None of the little bits are either.