CBR's exclusive preview for The Amazing Spider-Man #30 revealed that Spider-Man's newest villain, Kindred, has some history with Norman Osborn. What that history is, however, is a complete mystery, and will likely remain that way even after the issue's release. But guessing at the villain's identity may provide a few clues as to how these two are linked.
Since Nick Spencer first took over the writing duties for Amazing Spider-Man, Kindred has had a haunting presence behind the scenes. The villain's name was only recently revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #25. From the get-go, fans were wildly guessing as to who this new villain could be. A grotesquely resurrected Alistair Smythe? Gabriel Stacy, one of Norman Osborn's long lost children from the "Sins Past" story arc? There are more than a few viable answers, yet the truth still eludes readers.
The mystery is enough to make you want to pull out your hair. But Amazing Spider-Man #30 is here to provide a few more clues. The biggest takeaway from the preview is the language Kindred uses while talking to Norman. It's as if he sincerely knows who Norman is -- as if they'd spent a lifetime together. The most important line is how Osborn apparently always made Kindred "feel powerless," and furthermore, "Whether the mask was on or not." That all of this is happening in an Absolute Carnage tie-in is surprising, but nonetheless potent.
Ideally, Kindred was formerly a rival of Osborn's--perhaps a costumed adversary. To Kindred, it feels like so much time has passed since he and Osborn butted heads. These connections present yet another intriguing hook to Kindred's identity and have fans scratching their heads even more than before. In the face of these new details, a few notable possibilities to the villain's alter-ego have popped up, some sensible, some nonsensical. There's also one potential answer that fans may be overlooking, but let's save that for last.
Some fans are pointing fingers at Carlie Cooper. Considering Spencer took the liberty to reintroduce this character, there's a slim chance Carlie could be the one pulling Pete's strings. And yet, at the same time, this is also perhaps the most unlikely option.
Though Carlie spent a brief time as a goblin-themed villain, she doesn't have nearly enough history with Norman Osborn to make all these connections. Also, she wouldn't know nearly as much about Pete as Kindred does. And, frankly, it's hard to imagine Spencer would have all this build-up just for Kindred to be Carlie Cooper. It would be a lackluster reveal.
Harry is perhaps the most obvious choice. He has all the history, most of the knowledge, and could likely figure out getting powers one way or another. He's also got a fair bit of motivation behind wanting Peter and his loved ones dead; despite being best friends, Harry is often seen in Pete's shadow. This conflict has come to a head in the past, but perhaps now Harry's ready to take things more seriously.
But Harry being an obvious choice is the biggest problem with this theory. Were this to be true, fans would likely see it coming miles away. It's too easy of a trick for Spencer to use. It would also be poorly conceived, to say the least. Still, it's a possibility, though perhaps fans should cross their fingers this isn't the answer.
"A" Gwen Stacy
Some fans are also guessing Kindred could be Gwen Stacy, whether it be one version or another. Despite being dead for decades, Gwen has a fair amount of history with Norman, thanks in no small part to "Sins Past". Though fans might not take kindly to Peter's lost lover targeting him so violently, Gwen could arguably have a valid reason to act against him. As for her powers, it would likely have something to do with her resurrection. Unless, of course, this is an alternate version of Gwen from some other dimension. Then all bets are off.
The biggest problem with this theory, though, is that Kindred is seemingly confirmed to have a masculine pronoun. That and Gwen never had a history with Norman from behind a mask. Those angles throw some small yet substantial wrenches in the Gwen Stacy theory. Still, this reveal could have a palpable impact on readers, should it come to pass.
Peter Parker from "One More Day"
Now, this is a colossal-sized "if", but it seems like no one has thought of this yet: what if Kindred is actually a different version of Peter Parker? Perhaps he's the version that never was, on account of the canonical Peter Parker having wished him away during the events of the controversial "One More Day" arc. It's as far-fetched as fan theories go, but when you take everything into account, including these first few pages of Amazing Spider-Man #30, it starts to sound more and more likely.
The idea goes that when Peter Parker made his deal with Mephisto all those years ago, he essentially erased whatever his future would have otherwise been had he not made that deal. Now, that "could have been" Peter Parker has manifested in the fiendish, grossly-empowered form of Kindred, and he's here to make Peter pay for throwing his life away. Only Peter Parker would know everything Kindred seems to know. This also most directly explains the ties between Kindred and Osborn. Who has a more dramatic history with Norman than Peter?
Nick Spencer's run as a whole has largely been about fixing and addressing Spidey-related mistakes and grievances of the past decade. Getting Peter and MJ back together is a huge slap in the face to "One More Day." But perhaps that story is more closely tied to Spencer's run than fans are aware. This is a crazy idea, but it easily explains a lot and would make for an excellent final reveal. Fans will still have to wait for some concrete answers down the line, but at least there are a few options to keep them guessing until then.
Amazing Spider-Man #30, by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, Nathan Fairbairn and VC's Joe Caramagna, goes on sale September 25.