Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Color Artist: Nolan woodard
Cover Artists: Arthur Adams & Alejandro Sánchez
Peter has been hurt and it looks like he’s going to be down and out for a while. But never fear, there is still a Spider-Man to protect New York. No, not that one. Or any of those other ones. It’s Ben Reilly! And he’s got the backing of the Beyond Corporation to help him. Together they’re going to tackle the super-hero business “right”, and it all starts in Amazing Spider-Man #77.
So, Ben Reilly is Spider-Man for the time being, a super-hero working for the Beyond Corporation. This comic attempts to answer some questions about the Corporation, showing what kind of experiments its staff get up to, and Ben’s work life in the company. As you can tell by the previews, it involves a lot of training with some mercenary super-heroes fans will know. However, it also skips over some obvious questions like “Why is the Beyond Corporation in the hero business anyway?” Although it’s possible the series is saving that for later. The focus here is to show what Ben’s daily life is like at the Beyond Corporation and kick of the “Beyond” storyline.
The comic gives a brief rundown of not only Ben’s life but also the workplace of the Beyond Corporation. We see Ben’s dynamics with everyone in the workspace, the coworkers, the staff. It establishes Ben’s struggles and challenges as a hero trying to balance his new work life, super-hero life, and personal life. Some of which are classic elements to have for a solid Spider-Man, whether it’s Peter or Ben.
The comic even shows his dynamic with the company’s head of super-hero development, Maxine Danger. Who comes off like a classic, stuck-up witch. Everything about her sets off red-flags all across the board from her design to her facial expressions, and especially her dialogue and how she treats Ben. Again, it’s likely this is all setup to show how shady the Beyond Corporation is and will end up being a big reveal in this “Beyond” storyline. But we’ll see.
I’m not familiar with Kelly Thompson’s writing, but she clearly goes for a general quirky tone from start to finish in this book. Everyone and everything in this comic is “quirky” and “eccentric” in some extent, readers’ mileage will definitely vary on this. Ben is far more juvenile, jokey, and unsure of himself than he was in the last two comic issues, best demonstrated with the dialogue in his narration boxes. But the comic does try to strike a balance between the humor and heart in Ben, especially by the end.
The comic does skip over a couple of things that it should’ve answered or addressed, like the U-Foes for starters. It never picks up from Ben’s last fight with them, nor does it elaborate on what they were doing attacking Empire University in the first place. Especially given their status as members of Alpha Flight by the time The Immortal Hulk concluded, and their fight was the very thing that put Peter in the hospital. This comic just skims over that and leaves it be, expecting readers to just roll with it for now.
Amazing Spider-Man #77 is the start of the “Beyond” storyline and it’s a weird one. There’s a general tone of quirkiness in the characters from Ben Reilly to the staff of the Beyond Corporation. Fans of Kelly Thompson may like this, but mileage will vary for other readers. The plot focuses more on showing what Ben’s everyday life is like as a super-hero now. It establishes the challenges Ben will have balancing his hero life and personal life. However, the bigger plot does kick in a little later in the comic, so there’s some intrigue leading into the next issue.