Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Marcio Menyz
Cover Artists: Arthur Adam & Alejandro Sánchez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Times have been tough for Peter Parker. He went through a lot while facing off the Kindred threat and has endured various losses along the way. And now it seems Peter’s taking a bigger hit than ever before. But New York is not without a Spider-Man, as Ben Reilly shows in Amazing Spider-Man #76.
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This is the second chapter in the Beyond storyline for Amazing Spider-Man and it is what the cover and synopsis say it is. This is Peter Parker being put out commission so Ben Reilly can take over as Spider-Man for however long Marvel wants him to stay. The comic does have a great heartbreaking opening with Ben Reilly getting Aunt May and MJ to come to the hospital. It’s a wonderfully well-done awkward moment as Ben has to pretend to be someone he’s not, and considering his history, that’s rough.
The art by Patrick Gleason is great as he illustrates the characters well which is enhanced by the colors provided by Marcio Menyz. The pages are framed well and used to visually convey the danger that Peter’s in and the anxiety that Ben is in. The comic does a fine job illustrating the terrible condition Peter’s in, the sheer anxiousness and aggravation his loved ones are in while they wait. Not to mention, the art always looks good for every shot of Ben Reilly as Spider-Man.
Eventually the comic does get to the awkward and unenviable position of Ben having to explain what happened to MJ, who is rightfully angry with him since the minute he shows up, Peter gets badly wounded. Plus, he keeps going back and forth between his loyalty to Peter and to the Beyond Corporation. The same company who are clearly shady, if their primary agent is not making it any clearer with how he’s drawn. Total red flags there. But Zeb Wells does a great job writing all of the character interactions between Peter, Ben, and the immediate family. He gives each of them an identifiable voice that fits with recent characterization and delivers on the story’s emotional beats.
However, the part that will leave people divided is how Ben ends up becoming Spider-Man and what it means for Peter. Personally, it just seems like a quick move to get Peter out of the picture for a while so Ben can take over for this Beyond storyline. And considering the state Peter is in by the end of the comic, I don’t think he’ll be active for a while, so we’re stuck with Ben Reilly as Spider-Man for the time being. Hopefully, they make him a cool and compelling Spider-Man.
Brief spoilers. So, the comic does have Ben Reilly pick up the trail of the U-Foes again in the last few pages of the comic, but doesn’t spend that much time on them as Ben surprises them and goes in shock-and-awe with some of his new gadgets. If there are any answers behind their attack in the previous issue, it’s likely to be in the next issue, ’cause it’s not here.
Amazing Spider-Man #76 is the issue fans have been dreading. This comic holds nothing back showing the critical state Peter is in after the fight with the U-Foes. It continues to contrasts the lives of both Peter and Ben, as they both deal with the important matter of who gets to be Spider-Man. This is the comic’s main focus and the writing and art do everything they can to emotionally pull at readers’ heartstrings. With Peter down, and Ben Reilly taking over as Spider-Man, the Beyond storyline will have to bring its A-game.