Writers: Jed MacKay, Cody Ziglar & Zeb Wells
Artists: Luigi Zagaria, Bruno Oliveira, Fran Galanm Mark Bagley & Wayne Faucher
Color Artists: Espen Grundetjern, Carlos Lopez, Jim Campbell, Jim Charalampidis & Morry Hollowell
Cover Artists: Mark Bagley & Brian Reber
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Beyond Saga is nearing its end. Peter Parker is back in action as Spider-Man and has joined up with Ben Reilly to take down the Beyond Corporation. But in the meantime, some of their allies have been doing their part to take on Beyond, as shown in Amazing Spider-Man #92.BEY!
The Beyond Saga is nearly over. THANK GOD! Apologies, but this story arc has been draining with only a few good stories here and there. For those wondering if this issue is really “essential” reading or not. Quick spoiler: it’s not. On top of that, this comic is more focused on wrapping up leftover story threads introduced in previous Beyond tie-ins that went nowhere than telling an actual story. This review will be slightly long, so strap yourselves in.
There are multiple stories in this comic, which is why there are multiple writers, artists, and color artists in this tie-in. So, let’s tackle them in chronological order. The first story written by Jed MacKay and drawn by Luigi Zagaria and Jim Campbell concludes the fight between Creature Z, aka The Lizard, versus Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, and Morbius. It wraps up pretty quickly and nothing is really gained from it, aside from setup for later, but I’ll get to that in the Spoilers section. The art is not bad, particularly when it comes to Creature Z and Morbius. Zagaria and Campbell do a fine job with all the characters’ facial expressions so you know exactly when they’re feeling scared, happy, angry, or relieved.
Next, there’s the main section with Spectrum, aka Monica Rambeau, the heroine on the cover, and this is by far the worst “story” in this tie-in. There’s no real story here, just pure action as Monica effortlessly mops through Beyond’s wacky villain rejects from Amazing Spider-Man #91. It’s written by Jed MacKay, drawn by Luigi Zagaria, with Carlos Lopez as the colorist for the story.
Let’s start with the good: the comic makes use of her history with the Beyond Corporation. I did some digging and found out that the Beyond Corporation has actually been around since the last decade in Marvel Comics. It has far stranger origins than expected, and Monica has history with them when they manipulated her to join the rogue superhero team Nextwave in the series of the same name. This explains why she’d be involved in trying to take down Beyond. However, it doesn’t explain why she has such a minuscule role in the overall Beyond storyline when it should be bigger.
The art is also good to look at. Whatever flaws this story has, it’s not the artists’ fault since Zagaria does a good job with the art again, and Lopez does solid work with the coloring. Monica really does come alive as a human who can turn herself into light and just zip right through bad guys. Literally. Monica lives up to her name as Spectrum here as she takes out Beyond’s villain rejects. Zagaria also does a good job with the facial expressions for Monica and other characters who feature in this story, so you know exactly what emotions they’re expressing in the comic from disgust to anger and contempt.
Now, the bad: Monica’s characterization is bad and regressive. She comes off as a stereotype, and at worst reads like an unhinged supervillainess. One thing this portion of the comic really pushes home is how “unlikable” Monica is. I kid you not, her first sentence ends with, “I’m not what you might call ‘likable’.” as you can see in the preview images. This comic really goes full ham on this notion that being unlikable is good to show how “badass” and “edgy” Monica is. The story tries to balance out being wacky and edgy and fails to be either, and this is undoubtedly a regressive downgrade for the character.
You may be wondering why, and the reason is because Jed MacKay wrote her based on how she was characterized in the Nextwave series. Mind you, that series wasn’t that great, and most readers, certainly Monica Rambeau fans, are not clambering for that characterization of her again. For the last decade, she’s been bold, mindful, a go-getter, empathetic, and aggressive, but never as aggro, abusive, and callous as she’s depicted here. This tie-in tries to make the idea of being “unlikable” an empowering quality, but it comes off as anything but. Unfortunately, the only thing this tie-in succeeds in is making Monica such an unlikable, try-hard, edgy character to read that I don’t want to see MacKay ever write her again. Ever.
The other story is the second worst story in the tie-in for how utterly meaningless it is, so I won’t spend much time on it. It’s written by Cody Ziglar with new artists Bruno Oliveira and Jim Charalampidis who bring a very bright and expressive art style to the story and its characters in the forefront and background. Due to it being very short and intended to be lighthearted, this story is harmless and pretty forgettable. Everything after that is just setup for either the next issue in the main Amazing Spider-Man series, or for a story later down the line. Now, onto Spoilers.
Previously, I said that the first fight between the heroes and Creature Z only set up things later. Well, turns out that what we thought was The Lizard is actually just some experiment by Beyond. The comic shows Morbius locate the real Lizard after the fight – who was held captive by Beyond in the same lab they fought in earlier – and when he does, he proposes a team-up. This might be the only good thing to come out of this tie-in. That, and the setup for the upcoming fight between the new Slingers team and Ben Reilly in Amazing Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man #92.BEY is far from essential reading. Most of the stories in this comic are either wrapping up stories from previous tie-ins or setup for the next issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Also, the characterization of Monica Rambeau in this tie-in’s main story makes her hard to read. However, the art and colors in the tie-in are well done.