Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man came to an end. With that ending came the culmination of everything that went behind what One More Day and Brand New Day built. That is at least what it felt like as Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man #74 concluded. Now with the entire Kindred Saga and Osborn Legacy wrapped up it is time for a fresh start for the franchise. This fresh start for the franchise will come curtosy of the new Spider-Man Beyond Brain Trust made up of Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells. What places will the Spider-Man Beyond direction take the franchise? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #75.
Beyond Board: Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells
Writer: Zeb Wells (Spider-Man: Beyond and Kafka); Kelly Thompson (Love and Monsters)
Artist: Patrick Gleason (Spider-Man: Beyond); Travel Foreman (Love and Monsters); Ivan Fiorelli (Kafka)
Colorist: Marcio Menyz (Spider-Man: Beyond); Jim Campbell (Love and Monsters); Edgar Delgado (Kafka)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While he sleeps Peter Parker dreams of spending time with Aunt May and talking with Uncle Ben. The dream turns into a nightmare when Uncle Ben’s appears missing his face.
Peter wakes up dripping in sweat. While he cleans himself up Peter reflects on everything that happened recently including Harry Osborn’s death (Amazing Spider-Man #74).
Not ready to talk to his roommate, Randy Robertson, about Harry’s death Peter decides to change into his Spider-Man costume to clear his mind.
Peter suddenly spots someone else swinging around in a Spider-Man costume and chases after him. Peter tries to stop the other Spider-Man but is tied up by a robot spider, giving the other Spider-Man a chance to escape.
The next morning at Empire State University Peter is approached by Ben Reilly. Ben asks to talk with Peter.
At a café, Peter calls out Ben being the mysterious Spider-Man from the previous day. Ben admits that is the case. Ben then reveals that he is working for the Beyond Corporation, who has been making several acquisitions as of late that include Roxxon Energy Corporation, Brand Corporation, and Parker Industries. Peter says that Parker Industries is gone. Ben reveals that Beyond Corporation bought out the remaining trademarks Parker Industries that include the trademark on the Spider-Man name.
Peter tells Ben that he is Spider-Man and that Ben can’t buy that. Ben reminds Peter that he has all the memories Peter does and that those memories are real to him. Peter wonders if Ben is asking him to share the Spider-Man name. Ben says he is not asking for permission as Beyond Corporation made him an offer to be their Spider-Man with a massive salary, which he accepted. Ben pays for the check and tells Peter he will see him later.
Ben swings his way to Beyond Tower, the headquarters of Beyond Corporation located in the Lower East Side. There Ben meets up with Janine Godbe (formerly known as Elizabeth Tyne and Ben’s love interest during the Clone Saga). Ben and Janine show happiness being back together.
Marcus Momplaisir, one of the Beyond Corporation employees, enters the room to tell Ben that Chalmers wants to see Ben in R&D to buff his suit up with radiation shielding before tonight.
Back at Peter’s apartment, Mary Jane Watson asks Peter how he is doing. Peter admits he is still hurting from Harry’s death and all the other stuff. MJ understands as she is also still hurting from what they went through.
After hugging Peter reveals that he met Ben Reilly. MJ is not happy hearing this as nothing good comes whenever Ben appears.
Before they can continue talking Peter gets an alert of a supervillain attack at Empire State University. Peter quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume. MJ tells Peter that at some point he will need to give himself time to properly process everything that has happened. Peter understands but says he can’t do that today and swings towards Empire State University.
At Empire State University, the U-Foes (Vector, Ironclad, Vapor, and X-Ray) attacking Empire State University. When Peter as Spider-Man shows up he finds out that Ben as Spider-Man, who was warned of the attack earlier by the Beyond Corporation, has already started fighting the U-Foes.
The Spider-Men decide to work together to fight the U-Foes and are able to work well enough together against the villains. Seeing that they are outmatched Vector tells Vapor and X-Ray to do a combo move. Vapor and X-Ray work together to create a massive radioactive explosion.
As the dust settles from the explosion X-Ray celebrates the success of the combo move. Ben’s Spider-Man suddenly punches straight through X-Ray’s head and knocks him out.
When Ben is about to go after the rest of the U-Foes Peter starts uncontrollably coughing and throwing up. As Ben checks on Peter the U-Foes use this opening to escape.
Ben admits to Peter that he didn’t realize that Peter’s Spider-Man costume did not have radiation protection. Peter says that he was able escape the brunt of the blast thanks to his Spider-Sense but his insides were still infected by radiation. Peter then passes out in Ben’s arms. End of main story.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #75 is exactly what it was marketed to be. It is a fresh start for the franchise with all the groundwork being put into place by Zeb Wells and Patrick Gleason along with their Beyond Board partners Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, and Cody Ziglar.
As much as Amazing Spider-Man #75 is a fresh start for the franchise it does not mean everything that has previously happened is being rewritten or forgotten. Right out of the gate Wells and the Beyond Board establish how everything that has happened in the franchise will count. That starts with addressing how Peter Parker has been traumatize through what he experienced during the Kindred Saga and Harry Osborn’s death. With how important of a character Harry Osborn is to the Spider-Man mythos having his death carry a heavy weight on Peter and Mary Jane was a decision that I greatly appreciated.
Further references to the Clone Saga, Superior Spider-Man, and Parker Industries eras for the franchise drives home how everything in the characters history will matter in the Spider-Man Beyond direction. It continues the thread that Nick Spencer shined best at during his run by not avoiding Spider-Man’s history, even the messy ones.
At the same time, Wells and the Beyond Board make sure to put in a lot of work to keep both new and long-term readers informed on what they need to know with this Spider-Man Beyond direction. They do so in a manner that keeps Amazing Spider-Man #75’s story moving forward. Every character is given their own voice even when having moments of exposition.
That is best seen with the first conversation Peter Parker and Ben Reilly have in Amazing Spider-Man #75. The entire conversation is a big information dump on what the reader needs to know about these characters and the Beyond Corporation that is behind this new direction. It is all done in a way that Peter and Ben’s respective voices aren’t lost in all the information. They have a back-and-forth that you assign each character their own voice as they talk the way you expect them to with this type of conversation.
This leads to how the Beyond Corporation is built up as a mysterious organization work very well in this introduction. Ben throws out some big-name companies in Roxxon and Brand that Beyond Corporation has been acquiring. This along with buying the remaining Parker Industries trademarks immediately makes you question what Beyond Corporation’s true endgame is in making Ben their corporate Spider-Man. Even if Ben doesn’t question it you, like Peter does, have these red flags with every word Ben utters about the Beyond Corporation.
The conversation between Peter and Ben also further helps to differentiate these two as distinct characters. Because even as Ben puts over how he has the same memories of Peter’s life prior to being Spider-Man it does not mean they are the same person. The backing of the Beyond Corporation has pushed Ben to go in an even more different direction as he has gone completely corporate. Even the attitude he carries himself with is not how you expect Peter, Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, or other Spider-Man Family members to act.
Adding to how Ben’s character is established in Amazing Spider-Man #75 is the way both Peter and MJ respond to his re-appearance. It was refreshing that Ben suddenly being back to his classic look and working as Spider-Man does not negate everything he has done in recent history. Because afterall, Ben was the one who orchestrated the entire Clone Conspiracy event that positioned him as a major villain. Ben can’t just erase those evil actions he did, which both Peter and MJ show they won’t let him get a simple pass on.
While a major part of Amazing Spider-Man #75 was about establishing Ben Reilly’s character as the new Spider-Man again there is also groundwork for what is next for Peter Parker’s character as well. As previously mentioned, we see throughout this issue how Harry’s death carries a heavy weight on Peter and MJ. This recent event looks to open the door for Peter to reassess his own future. Even when he attempts to put that to be “tomorrow’s” problem it is clearly something Peter is finally going to have to address. If the Beyond Board do go all in with exploring Peter moving forward with his life we could finally see Peter Parker actually grow up rather than perpetually stuck as the loser guy in his mid-20s that Marvel loves to position him as.
What throws a major wrench in Peter’s future plans is what happens to him during his and Ben’s fight against the U-Foes. We see that Peter in not having the same radiation protection Ben had that he has become gravely sick from Vapor and X-Ray’s combo attack. It seems like the attack tapped into the natural radiation in Peter’s body that gave him his Spider-Man powers. This places a major question mark in what will happen with Peter as he deals with this horrible injury. Gleason’s artwork for this final reveal really elevated this moment as seeing Peter progressively get worse creates even greater concern for the character.
The battle with the U-Foes also throws more questions as to the Beyond Corporation’s goals. Because as we saw earlier in Amazing Spider-Man #75 it did seem as though the Beyond Corporation knew Ben would be going up against the U-Foes and provided his Spider-Man costume with the necessary protection. The way Marcus Momplaisir approached Ben about this preparation did appear as though there is more than meets the eye with what happened at the end of the main story for Amazing Spider-Man #75.
Speaking of Marcus Momplaisir, it is interesting to see how he is being positioned as the front facing employee of the Beyond Corporation. On top of his appearance in the main story for Amazing Spider-Man #75 we also see him recruit Dr. Kafka to help Ben Reilly on behalf of the Beyond Corporation. What bringing Dr. Kafka on board to work on helping Ben is another building block as another sub-plot involving the Beyond Corporation is established.
The other back-up story involving Misty Knight and Colleen Wing was an interesting way to start integrating Ben’s Spider-Man into Marvel’s superhero community. Both these characters aren’t appearing in other comics right now so I’ll be interested to see if this is the start of something bigger for them. Especially considering Devil’s Reign is right around the corner a team-up between Spider-Man, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing could be a major part of that upcoming event.
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #75 does a lot well to put over the Spider-Man: Beyond direction. The one thing I am not completely sold on is Ben Reilly as the lead character for this series. Ben’s corporate Spider-Man routine is something that could grow very old quickly. This is not helped by how the entire supporting cast so far established for Ben aren’t balancing out his character. Both Janine and Marcus are characters that won’t give him a reality check, instead they are more incline to push him to go deeper into being Corporate Spider-Man.
One of the things that makes Peter Parker such a great character is that he has a supporting cast that balances out the type of hero and person he is. Ben doesn’t seem to have that as everyone he has surrounded himself comes across as enablers for the worst parts of his character. Creating a better balance with characters that can provide Ben a different perspective will help his long-term viability as a lead character.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #75 kicks off the Spider-Man Beyond direction off on a great note. Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, and the Beyond Board are able to create a fresh start for the franchise that utilizes Spider-Man’s history in a welcoming way. Now with it looking as though Ben Reilly will be the lead Spider-Man for this series moving forward I’m interested to see what direction Amazing Spider-Man goes from here.
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