It's clear that Spider-Man: Reign echoes a post-9/11 world, if not a blatant observation of the Bush Administration following the terrorist attacks and the war against terrorism. Much like the promises of a madman from Texas to make our country safe, Mayor Waters promises New York protection from super-terrorists. The only cost for this freedom is the citizens' freedom and civil rights - the guy even goes as far as canceling the electoral process until his job is done (which, I wouldn't have put it passed Bush to do the very same thing). So while making a Utopia, Waters manages to create the ultimate Dystopia. And who can save the city from itself? Why none other than the friendly neighborhood florist.
Peter Parker finds himself as an elderly man working at a flower shop. His glory days are over. He is a widow. Retired from fighting crime. Slowly awaiting death. On the night he is fired, he witnesses a teenager beaten by the Reign - a military police force that now holds the law in New York. Helpless to come to the aid of the teenager, Parker turns his back on the scene and goes home, where an old friend comes to see him. Even the aging J. Jonah Jameson can put aside old grudges against his former employee and scandal maker. Jonah urges the retired hero to take the mask again and save the city from those in charge because he fears that something much darker lurks in Waters' shadow. Something only a spider can overcome.
Kaare Andrews brings us the Marvel equivalent to The Dark Knight Returns, showing us that no matter how old we get, a hero still lives within us all. It's probably the best graphic novel I've read this summer - outmatching The Age of Apocalypse arc. The art is haunting and the storytelling echoes with genius - the character voices just pop into the reader's head (I wasn't even trying to give them voices, it just happened). Let's not forget that this by far the most political graphic novel I've read since Watchmen. It's a must for Spider-Man fans everywhere and a great read for those literary nuts out there (myself included).
Until next time, keep on huntin'.