The Spider-Man Beyond Era is coming to a close with Amazing Spider-Man #93. This final issue has been six months in the making with over 20 issues, including tie-ins, making up this direction that started with Amazing Spider-Man #75. The Spider-Man Beyond Era has had its fair share of ups and downs but I’ve been invested the entire time. I truly want to see what Zeb Wells and the Beyond Board creative team have planned for the conclusion of this story that has centered around Ben Reilly. Will Ben Reilly and other key characters in Spider-Man Beyond survive this final issue? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #93.
Beyond Board: Kelly Thompson, Cody Ziglar, Saladin Ahmed, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Patrick Gleason, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, and Tim Townsend
Colorists: Bryan Valenza and Carlos Lopez
Ben Reilly as Spider-Man rampaging through Beyond Corporation headquarters in search for his missing memories. Seeing this Maxine Danger tells Marcus Momplaisir they are to scrub Spider-Man from the company.
Peter Parker as Spider-Man finally arrives at Beyond Corporation to search for Ben, with MJ reminding Peter that Ben isn’t being himself.
Elsewhere in the building Ben finds Maxine alone. Maxine reveals a special helmet that Ben could use on Peter to reclaim his missing memories. Before giving Ben the helmet Maxine places doubt in Ben that Peter will help him. Ben tries to attack Maxine, saying Peter is his friend, but she turns out to be a hologram.
In her secret location Maxine sees that Marcus completed wiping out Spider-Man from their records and leaves the company’s kill team to dispose of Marcus. As soon as Maxine leaves Janine Gobde appears and saves Marcus.
Elsewhere, Peter finally finds Ben. Ben immediately demands Peter put on the helmet Maxine gave him. Peter doubts the helmet will help Ben. This pisses Ben off, believing that Peter is keeping his life from him. Ben starts fighting Peter all over the building, using his suits abilities to gain the advantage in the fight.
In a special meeting room Maxine gets approval from the Beyond Corporation’s Board of Directors to liquidate the lowers levels after her Spider-Man project failed. Maxine says this only helps learn about their Project Purgatory efficiency. The board then turns against Maxine but fail to kill her as she turns out to be a hologram.
Meanwhile Marcus and Janine discover that Maxine has activated the scrub process that uses quantum-shifting polymers to destroy all evidence of her project.
At the lower levels of the building Ben has completely overwhelmed Peter. Ben deploys his Spinneret to capture Peter so he can put the helmet on him. Much to Ben’s surprise Peter is able to break free by using the code word to deactivate the Spinneret. Peter uses this surprise to destroy the helmet Ben is holding.
Pissed off Ben goes all out trying to kill Peter. In defending himself Peter throws Ben to a lower platform. The platform ends up being filled with the quantum-shifting polymers. Rather than jumping to safety Ben says he is already gone and lets the quantum-shifting polymers consume him.
As the building is blowing up Marcus finds Peter and helps him out of the building before it collapses.
Later Peter, thanks to Marcus saving him, recovers at the hospital.
Underground Janine searches for signs of Ben but only finds some radioactive substance on the ground. As she calls out to him Ben suddenly starts climbing out of some rubble with green energy coming out of his body.
A few weeks later MJ helps Peter continue his recovery. MJ convinces Peter that they should move in together again. As they decide this a mysterious being shows up outside the apartment calling out to Peter, saying “A road of blood led to you. Come with me.” The being then consumes the area in a bright light.
Months later Ben Reilly is in his apartment without the ability to recognize himself. Ben puts on a new purple and green costume that embraces his new energy powers, now going by the name of Chasm. End of issue.
Amazing Spider-Man #93 is a perfect summarization of the entire Beyond Era for the series. It completely rushes Ben Reilly’s story to a point you don’t fully get behind the narrative around his character. At the same time, it’s all the characters around him like Peter Parker, Janine Gobde, and Maxine Danger that lift the story to keep you compelled in the developments going on.
It is really an odd thing to write given that Spider-Man Beyond is a story while only lasting six month was told over the course of 23 issues, counting the special point issues of Amazing Spider-Man. That’s a lot of time given to develop the entire narrative for Spider-Man Beyond that makes it weird to say that Ben Reilly’s narrative was rushed. But that is the truth about how Ben Reilly was developed throughout Spider-Man Beyond.
The biggest thing that held the narrative around Ben back was that in those 23 issues his character was never fully developed. A key reason for that is you never got the connection between Ben and his supporting cast during this period. There was so much concern about getting the connection between Ben’s Spider-Man and Beyond Corporation’s business over that this key element of what makes Spider-Man such a great franchise was lost.
In not drawing on that connection you don’t end up ever being on Ben’s side when he comes into conflict with Peter Parker. Your reaction to Ben’s freak out is just like Peter that the whole breakdown Ben goes through comes way too fast. Ben comes across as an annoying brat throughout his rampage that you never get on his side. Which is not the full intention of this arc but it is just how Ben comes across, especially with how he goes from hating Maxine Danger to fully trusting that she is helping him.
While Ben’s arc did not live up to expectations Peter Parker’s part of the story worked well. Wells did well to combine Peter still being in a state of recovery with Ben’s advance Spider-Man tech to really push Peter in the fight. The entire time you could see that Peter was not necessarily fighting back. Instead he was defending himself to buy time to get through to Ben. Everything Peter said to Ben backed up what Peter told MJ earlier that he was looking to help his brother. Which is where the heartbreak comes from Peter failing to save Ben.
This is where the one element of Ben’s arc did build some interest. There was an unexpected nature behind Ben turning into Chasm. From the looks of it Ben’s spider powers seem to not be his main powers and instead is powered by the quantum-shifting polymers. The design by Patrick Gleason was what really made this turn to becoming Chasm work much better than Ben’s previous villain turn as Jackal.
That said Ben’s arc did help build investment in all the other characters featured in Amazing Spider-Man #93. Maxine Danger in particular was the standout as Zeb Wells maximizes the screen time that he provides to her. Every action Maxine takes from manipulating Ben to try to get the two Spider-Mans to kill each other to getting one over on the Beyond Corporation Board of Direction was very calculative. She was never not in control of the situation in front of her. Its exactly how you create a compelling antagonist that is elevated by the time the story is over, leading towards Maxine being an even bigger threat whenever she shows up next.
The more surprising character that I was compelled by in Amazing Spider-Man #93 was Janine Gobde’s arc. When Spider-Man Beyond started Janine was the most underdeveloped character for a long period. It wasn’t until the last half dozen or so Amazing Spider-Man issues that Janine’s character development really ramped up. And to the credit of the Beyond Board all of that character development made for Janine’s big hero moment as she saved Marcus Momplaisir and continued to show loyalty to Ben great steps forward for her character. Moreso than Ben, Janine really benefited from Spider-Man Beyond as she really stepped into her own to be more than just a love interest. She is at least set-up to have an equal amount of importance to whatever narrative is being built around Ben Reilly moving forward.
Moving past Spider-Man Beyond, Wells does a good job teasing what his Amazing Spider-Man run will be now that he is taking over. Building the tease around Peter and MJ’s relationship is a strong hook to get fans into finding out what Wells has planned for the franchise. Because just as things are looking up an unknown twist happens that could change everything. Given Wells previous Spider-Man work there is a trust built up that fans should stick around for what comes next in Amazing Spider-Man.
The artwork duties in Amazing Spider-Man #93 were appropriately split up for Patrick Gleason, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, and Tim Townsend. Rather than switching back and forth between all the artists Gleason was assigned the main story with Pichelli, Bagley, and Townsend working on the back-up teaser stories. This is the best way to use multiple artists as Gleason was able to find a good flow with the main story concluding the Spider-Man Beyond arc. While Pichelli, Bagley, and Townsend were able to focus on getting over the emotions all the characters felt in the aftermath of how Spider-Man Beyond concluded.
When all was said and done while Ben Reilly’s arc in Spider-Man Beyond left a lot to be desired the writing for Peter Parker and all other characters involved in the story lifted the ending to this era up. Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, Sara Pichelli, Mark Bagley, and Tim Townsend all worked together to keep the reader invested in what happens next in this series after Amazing Spider-Man #93.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10