REVIEW: ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ Issue #76

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Amazing Spider-Man #76

Amazing Spider-Man #76 is written by Zeb Wells, illustrated by Patrick Gleason, colored by Marcio Menyz, and published by Marvel Comics. Part two of the “Beyond Saga” picks up in the aftermath of Peter Parker and Ben Reilly’s battle with the U-Foes, as Peter has been subjected to a massive dose of radiation. As Peter fights for his life, Ben seeks to reconcile with his “brother” and carry on the legacy of Spider-Man, backed by the full might of the Beyond Corporation.

Ever since the Beyond storyline was announced, fans have wondered how Ben would take over as Spider-Man. And honestly, I feel like this is the best avenue for both characters; it would take something reasonably major to keep Peter out of commission, and the U-Foes are beings who have gone toe-to-toe with the Hulk. It also injects a nice amount of drama, as Peter is in for a different fight than he was with Kindred or an army of supervillains. And even though Ben thinks he’s ready to be Spider-Man, his guilt over Peter’s condition continues to hang over his head to the point where he asks Peter for his blessing to be Spider-Man.

All of this is handled extremely well by Wells, whose script delivers notes of terror and hope in equal measure. A conversation between Peter and Ben lays out more of their uneasy dynamic: Ben wants to genuinely take control of his life and thinks the Spider-Man mantle is the way to do it. At the same time, Peter admits that Ben deserves to have his own life despite being a clone of Spider-Man. While this isn’t the first time someone else has stepped into the Spider-Man mantle, this is one of the most emotional passings of that mantle. Wells also continues to inject unease in readers concerning the Beyond Corporation; their new suit can track Ben, and he is on a strict schedule. It doesn’t take spider-sense to see that there’s something shady about these folks.

Gleason’s art in this issue solidifies him as one of my favorite artists working today. His design for Ben’s new Spider-Man suit is instantly iconic, and he knows his way around an action sequence; Ben is shown soaring through the skies of New York City and hits the U-Foes hard and fast when they least expect it. Even the scenes with Peter in the hospital have a sense of kinetic energy, as his spider-sense is shown as lancing red tendrils representing the danger that the U-Foes’ radiation is wreaking on his body. Menyz’s color art also gives a visual flair to the U-Foes themselves. Vapor looks like she’s actually comprised of green, otherworldly gas. The sun glints off of Ironclad’s metal skin. And you can see right through X-Ray. The best sequence, however, features both Ben and Peter and shows off their respective states of being with very few words—which is a testament to how well this creative team works together. Even Caramagna’s lettering is a declaration of intent; when Ben declares himself to be the new Spider-Man, it’s depicted in the same fort as the series’ title—and in bright bold red to boot.

Amazing Spider-Man #76 expertly balances action with emotion, as Ben Reilly and Peter Parker wrestle with mental and emotional challenges. With the Beyond era fully set up, I look forward to what the creative team of Kelly Thompson and Sara Pichelli bring to the table in two weeks.

Amazing Spider-Man #76 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Amazing Spider-Man #76
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TL;DR

Amazing Spider-Man #76 expertly balances action with emotion, as Ben Reilly and Peter Parker wrestle with mental and emotional challenges. With the Beyond era fully set up, I look forward to what the creative team of Kelly Thompson and Sara Pichelli bring to the table in two weeks.