Writer: Cody Zigler
Artist: Paco Medina
Color Artist: Espen Grundetjern
Cover Artists: Arthur Adams & Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ben Reilly is Spider-Man, for now. While Peter’s in poor condition, Ben is taking over as the main webslinger, and trouble’s not far away. Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, re-emerged to uncover the Beyond Corporation’s dark secrets. The two fought already with Doc Ock as the winner and now round two starts in Amazing Spider-Man #85!
Once more, Cody Zigler and Paco Medina knock it out of the park with this two-part Spider-Man story. The writing, pacing, dialogue, and actual story paired with the art and action from Medina make this a nice two-parter that is not only fun to read but actually advances the Beyond storyline stronger than most other previous issues ever did so far.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The last issue left off with Ben Reilly patching himself up and Doctor Octopus making his way into the Beyond Corporation’s HQ. The comic set the stage for their second clash and the comic delivers on the action and story. The first half follows Doc Ock’s incursion into Beyond with his own narration boxes to boot that provide recap on why he’s there. Zigler nails Otto’s personality as a megalomaniacal genius who is enraged that Beyond thought they could get away with stealing his work at Parker Industries.
Otto’s half of the book is both fun and weird as he works his way through the building, which has some weak moments as the comic tries to show how quirky Beyond is. But it does come with some excitement as well as Doc Ock gets some fights in, which are all preludes to the main event. However, Ben is not too far behind as he’s introduced in a dynamic way and eventually the two fight once again.
For this second round, Ben gets the upper-hand and is pretty intense in the fight as he’s trying to prove that he’s worthy of being Spider-Man, that he’s earned the right to be the hero. This is shown in solid fashion with each blow he lands having a close-up emphasizing the blow and blood coming from Doc Ock. He’s really losing his cool and letting his emotions and insecurities get the best of him.
Of course, this isn’t lost on Doc Ock who points out what probably most readers already figured out – Ben’s being played. Otto has his mic drop moment when he tells Ben that he was picked by Beyond as their cover superhero, not for his “strong will,” but because he’s psychologically compromised. This revelation comes from the data drive Doc Ock stole in the last issue and this reveal changes Ben’s demeanor for the better.
One thing that I kept criticizing this storyline for in previous reviews was how dim Ben Reilly was written when it came to working for the Beyond Corporation. The corporation and Maxine Danger kept giving off painstakingly obvious red flags that they’re up to no-good but Ben was written to be too much of a company man when he should know better by now. So, it’s good to see the Beyond Staff having him realize this sooner rather than far later.
Amazing Spider-Man #85 delivers on the second round between Ben Reilly and Doctor Octopus. The comic’s writing, pacing, and dialogue was solid and the art continued to bring in dynamic energy and action. This story not only resolves the fight between Ben and Otto, but it also moves the Beyond storyline forward and leaves Ben in an interesting position for the next issue.