When it was announced that Nick Spencer would be ending his run on Amazing Spider-Man with the 74th issue it was only a matter of time before Marvel announced the next creative team. That is what they did as Marvel announced a whole new direction for the franchise that will start with Amazing Spider-Man #75 called Spider-Man Beyond. This is a major direction for Marvel’s most iconic heroes. Let’s dig into what Spider-Man Beyond will be about, the creative team, and what it could mean for the Spider-Man franchise future.
WHAT IS AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BEYOND?
Before getting into my thoughts on the new direction for Spider-Man let’s look at the details released thus far. From the information Marvel released along with the announcement we know that the creative team for Amazing Spider-Man will be Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells. With multiple creators working together, starting with Amazing Spider-Man #75, the series will be moving back to releasing three times a month.
Before Amazing Spider-Man #75 release, the official start of the new Spider-Man Beyond direction will first be shown in the Free Comic Book Day 2021: Spider-Man/Venom comic book releasing on August 14th, 2021. This one-shot for Free Comic Book Day 2021 will include writers Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, Ram. V., and Zeb Wells working alongside artists Patrick Gleason, Bryan Hitch, and Greg Smallwood. Given the names on the Spider-Man/Venom one-shot we could expect Zeb Wells and Patrick Gleason to work together on a story since they are part of the Amazing Spider-Man Beyond team.
The other major detail we learn from the announcement is that Ben Reilly will be returning to take the mantle of Spider-Man with the Beyond Corporation backing him. With the announcement on Marvel.com Spider-Man Editor Nick Lowe said the following on the new direction:
“The whole point of working on Spider-Man is trying to put new unliftable weights on top of him—physical, metaphysical, emotional, psychological—and seeing if he can lift them. But what if that weight truly is too heavy? What if someone with the exact same skills and formative years could do better? Ben Reilly is back and, with Aunt May and Uncle Ben’s lessons in the back of HIS mind as well, he’s here to step in where Peter Parker failed. Can he accomplish things the original Spider-Man never could? These questions are what sold me on this story.” – Nick Lowe speaking with Marvel.com
THOUGHTS ON AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BEYOND CREATIVE TEAM
When looking at who Marvel assembled to be the new Amazing Spider-Man team its clear that they want new voices heading up one of their most iconic comic books. That is not to say there isn’t experience in this new creative team. Zeb Wells wrote issues of Amazing Spider-Man as part of Brand New Day Brain Trust in the late 2000s. Saladin Ahmed is the current writer of Miles Morales: Spider-Man, where he has written Peter Parker’s character, most recently in the current Clone Saga arc going on in that title. Then there is Patrick Gleason, who handled artwork for several story arcs during Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run.
Working together for this new creative direction from the beginning Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells’ names are all part of the selling point for Amazing Spider-Man. This being the case there are some Brand New Day vibes being given off from the Spider-Man Beyond direction. Like Brand New Day, we see that the Spider-Man Beyond creative team are wasting no time in making a statement right out of the gate by bringing Ben Reilly into the fold.
I am familiar with the work of everyone involved except Cody Ziglar, who is new to comics. Personally I’m a fan of the work Thompson, Ahmed, Gleason, and Wells have done. Wells wrote some of the best Spider-Man stories during Brand New Day, with Shed being my favorite of his. Thompson has also done a lot of great work with Marvel with her current run on Black Widow being one of the best comic books the company is currently publishing. Ahmed’s run on Miles Morales: Spider-Man has also been solid and have enjoyed how he has dove into the community aspect of Miles’ character, something I hope that he brings into Amazing Spider-Man’s supporting cast. And then there is Gleason, whose artwork has always been impressive and has experience writing superhero comics with DC Comics and Marvel.
All in all this is a very strong collective creators that Marvel has assembled. Being on Amazing Spider-Man will further help establish all these names with Marvel fans as this is the most mainstream comic book the company has. I’m as excited for them to start this run as I am for them all to get further recognition.
WHAT DOES BEN REILLY’S RETURN MEAN?
There is also a lot to be intrigued about the return of Ben Reilly as Spider-Man. We saw with his return during Dan Slott’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy event in his Amazing Spider-Man run that the current Ben Reilly is not who we remember. He had a much bigger edge as he went through sever trauma due to how Miles Warren brought him back. And most recently Ben returned in Iron Man #6 as part of the heroes working with Tony Stark to stop Michael Korvac.
With that in mind Marvel does not go out of their way promoting Ben’s return as Spider-Man to be fully heroically driven. The details we get about Ben with him being backed by the Beyond Corporation gives off the vibes that he’ll be following down the footsteps of Otto Octavius’ Superior Spider-Man era. That is most shown when it is talked about how Ben “is determined to be the best version of Spider-Man there ever was.” Phrasing it that way doesn’t point to Ben being a hero like Peter Parker and Miles Morales are as Spider-Man.
This brings us to the Beyond Corporation that is helping Ben in his return to being Spider-Man. The Beyond Corporation is a company that was introduced by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen in there Nextwave comic book series that ran from 2006 to 2007. There the Beyond Corporation was shown to have ties to the Multiverse. This could mean that we could see Ben tied to the greater Spider-Verse that has tied all of the characters who have shared the Spider-Man and Spider-Woman names across the Marvel Multiverse.
HOPES FOR AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BEYOND
Everything about what the Amazing Spider-Man Beyond direction is still a mystery. We can only speculate what will happen. That includes the fate of Peter Parker, who is heavily being teased as being in danger based on the promo art by Patrick Gleason that shows Mary Jane Watson holding a battle damaged Peter as Spider-Man. My biggest hope out of all this is that Marvel and the new Amazing Spider-Man creative don’t go with the route of killing off Peter Parker. That is always a lazy way of replacing a character with someone else.
My hope is that if the new Amazing Spider-Man creative team intends to go with Ben as the new Spider-Man that they don’t kill off Peter Parker. Instead they should use this as an opportunity to finally allow Peter to grow up. Its long been time for Peter to stop being stuck being a perpetual loser who can never get passed his early to mid-twenties. We’ve seen what it would be like for Peter to actually grow up, most recently in Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows and Spider-Man: Life Story. Its time to explore that in the main Marvel continuity as he builds a life with Mary Jane Watson and career using his science and engineering skills.
Additionally, with Peter having created such a strong legacy as Spider-Man this is the best time to explore what it would mean for him to step aside to let Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Ben Reilly and the other members of the Spider-Man Family fully take the spotlight. The new creative team could even have Peter act as a mentor for the younger Spider-Man Family members like Miles, Gwen, and Anya. This is something we haven’t actually seen from a hero who passes on his mantle since they normally die or are too old to carry on as a superhero. Have Peter become a mentor and carry on what Stan Lee said about who Spider-Man could be:
“What I like about the costume is that anybody reading Spider-Man in any part of the world can imagine that they themselves are under the costume. And that’s a good thing” – Stan Lee said in an interview with Newsarama, the article is not currently available on that website but the quote was saved by Marvel.
Overall, I am hopeful for this upcoming new Amazing Spider-Man Beyond direction. Marvel has assembled a fantastic creative team with Kelly Thompson, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, and Zeb Wells. Here is to seeing what the future holds for the Spider-Man franchise starting with Amazing Spider-Man #75.
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