Are you reading Spider-Man Reign? If not, you should be. This mini-series is breathing a life into the character of Spider-Man that has not been seen for years. Freed from the ties that mire Spider-Man in his current continuity, Spider-Man Reign takes Peter Parker to a place that is both upsetting and riveting.

Set far in the future Reign slips us into a bleak New York City where none of us want to live. This is a closed society that does not take well to foreigners, or even to those that are willing to speak against the status quo. It has been decades since the people of New York have had to deal with those in costumes and they would like to keep it that way.

The desire to protect the city is so great that the mayor, who has become the dictator of the city, creates a net around the city to keep all the citizens in and keep every else out. But all does not follow his plan.

An old Jonah Jameson knows that something is wrong in the city and he comes down from the mountain to tell everyone about it. As is often the case in situations such as these only the children and the slightly off-balance believe him. But can he find a hero to stand up for them all?

Sort of.

Enter an old and decrepit Peter Parker. He is alone and seemingly without any of his powers, or even any hope. But is this the case? Can he save the city? And who is he really saving it from?

Spider-Man Reign takes us to a place that we have not been since Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns". An old character that has lost everything must stand up for himself and his beliefs. An old enemy must be beaten for the world to be a better place. But most of all he has to believe that there is a reason to fight, that we all deserve to be saved.

Will Peter Parker triumph over his despair? That is not yet known. We have to wait for the last issue to find out.

Until then I think we should all be satisfied with what so far has been a well-crafted story that continues to develop. The characters are engaging, but disconnected enough from the characters that we are familiar with to offer us a new perspective on them. Will they will mean as much to us as they have in the past? That is for you to decide.

The art of the book is startling. The overall look is very dark, but interspersed with images of such clarity that the reader is rocked back in the seat. If you are looking for art that soothes, look someplace else. This is art that overwhelms and pushes the story into every facet of your brain.

With this staggering art and well-crafted story, Spider-Man Reign is a mini-series that deserves to be treated with the highest respect.

Spider-Man Reign
Written by: Kaare Andrews
Artists: Kaare Andrews with Jose Villarrubia