Peter Parker Spider-Man #56-57 (2003): Reborn; series ends

We start with Sandman being reborn on the beach…

Hm.  Okay.  I thought this arc was titled “Reborn” because it was the final story of the series and we were going to see Spider-Man get relaunched.  But no.  It’s Sandman.

Also: Gross.  How does Sandman have blood?  He’s made of sand, man!!

There’s a new Sandman, too: A baby.

Then later a female Sandman appears as well.  By now you’ve probably figured it out: Sandman has manifested different versions of himself—a hero, a villain, a baby—and in the end he needs to unite his psyche again.


And that’s how the series ends.

Spider-Man is unnecessary to this story and, frankly, it would have been much better if he weren’t in it at all.  Sandman has been a confusing character ever since he joined The Avengers, and this could have been a way to begin explaining why he is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and there’s really no articulated reason for these shifts.  Instead, we get a “fractured psyche” story that’s not as good as the many other fractured psyches we’ve seen (e.g., Venom, both Norman and Harry Osborn, etc.).

The final story for this series is well-drawn and, sadly, not that well-written.  The concept sounds interesting at first, until you realize you’ve seen it before, several times, and done better.  Heck, we’ve seen it before several times in actual Spider-Man books.  Zeb Wells matures into a very good writer, but at this time he’s still got growing to do.

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