Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Color Artist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Arthur Adams & Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The time has come. The Beyond Corporation is under attack by Spider-Man, aka Ben Reilly. They took his precious memories away and he wants them back, badly. But his drive for his memories will bring him into conflict with the only other person could understand him, and very well stop his rampage – Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. Amazing Spider-Man #93 concludes the Beyond Saga with a fight between the Spider-Men.
Well, it’s over. The Beyond Saga is over, and this issue isn’t great or terrible, just somewhat predictable. It feels like Marvel Comics writers spinning their wheels again when it comes to Ben Reilly. This review will cover both the main comic book and the Beyond Saga as a whole. For now, this spoiler-free part of the review will focus on the main issue first, then address the entire storyline in the SPOILERS section. Let’s get to it.
This issue feels like a rushed conclusion to the Beyond Saga, and it seems like more was put into the comic’s setup instead of sincerely concluding the story. The comic opens with Ben continuing his rampage through Beyond while his memories continue to fade. However, the comic doesn’t fully utilize things that were set up specifically for this issue. Ben makes short work of anyone in his way before he confronts Maxine trying to clean up her mess and later Peter Parker, his fellow Spider hero. From there, things get ugly fast.
Let’s start with the good, the comic doesn’t waste any time getting readers right to the meat of the story – Ben Reilly vs. Peter Parker. The comic does an adequate job establishing Ben’s mindset to explain his more volatile state, more on that later. Zeb Wells does a fine job giving distinct voices to Peter, Ben, and every other character in the comic, and the pacing is good too. The art by Patrick Gleason is amazing as always, the characters are distinguished and appealing to look at, the action looks dynamic and full of momentum. The coloring from Bryan Valenza also helps everything look spectacular in the comic. The issue does conclude the Beyond portion of the whole storyline, but that’s where the good stops.
Now, onto the bad. This whole fight between Ben and Peter feels artificial and forced. While the series has done the work in previous issues establishing that Ben’s mind is not in the right place entirely, the last issue showed that he had more than enough self-control to make some sound decisions. Here, that’s thrown out the airlock to get an overly emotional fight between Peter and Ben that feels so painstakingly predictable to any casual reader with a passing understanding of Ben’s history. It also doesn’t help that the story doesn’t fully utilize everything that was setup before, and while it does cut to the chase, it makes you wonder why they set certain things up if they weren’t going to really be used anyway. Ultimately, this comic was an unsatisfactory end to an unsatisfactory storyline.
Now, two of the biggest problems – though they’re by no means the only issues – with the Beyond Saga are the misuse of Ben Reilly and the Beyond Board’s poor planning and story execution. From the offset, the Beyond Saga seemed like a gimmicky storyline to make Ben Reilly Spider-Man for a while. Not everything made sense but there was potential in the idea of a mega-corporation trying to monetize superheroes with its own Spider-Man as the frontrunner. But it didn’t really do much with this concept, especially considering the more stranger origins and nature of the Beyond Corporation.
It doesn’t help that the Beyond Board didn’t make good use of the things they themselves set up throughout the storyline. E.g. Monica Rambeau, aka Spectrum, reforming the Slingers team with Prowler, introducing Queen Goblin, or the big “secret” behind Door Z. They also failed to balance out a consistent tone as each issue rapidly went back and forth on being fun, quirky, serious, and dynamic. The biggest problem has to be how they wrote Ben Reilly and make him repeat recent bad story beats – fighting Peter because he has imposter syndrome, and becoming a dark and edgy character. Even though Ben Reilly fans desperately wanted Ben to be his own Spider hero again, the Beyond Board has given them the exact opposite. Plus, we already have a dark and edgy Spidey anti-hero, his name is Kaine and Marvel barely uses him.
A couple of quick nitpicks. Admittedly, I like the design and colors of Ben’s new costume, but I’m not a fan of his new alias as “Chasm.” Also, even though the comic’s epilogue for Peter and MJ seems promising, the solicits and previews for Amazing Spider-Man #900 do not give me hope that it will last long. So, we’ll see where Zeb Wells goes with all of this.
Amazing Spider-Man #93 concludes the Beyond Saga. The whole fight between Ben Reilly and Peter Parker feels a little forced, and the conclusion to Ben’s story will certainly leave his fans wanting better for him. However, the art and colors were excellent throughout the issue, the art team did a spectacular job with this comic’s artwork.