REVIEW: ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ Issue #80

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Amazing Spider-Man #80 - But Why Tho

Amazing Spider-Man #80 is written by Cody Ziglar, illustrated by Michael Dowling, colored by Jesus Aburtov with Erick Arciniega, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It is published by Marvel Comics. The previous issue saw Ben Reilly being ambushed and drugged by Kraven the Hunter, who wishes to test his mettle. Trapped in a living nightmare, with his suit suffering immense damage, Ben fights to separate reality from illusion. Meanwhile, May Parker reaches out to an unexpected source in order to save her nephew Peter.

The majority of the issue sees Ben trapped in a hallucination, meaning Dowling and the colorists have the chance to push the limits of their art. And they are more than up to the challenge as this issue features some seriously disturbing imagery. Ben’s Spider-Man costume seems to melt off his body, with his fingers splitting in half and those halves splitting in half. He sees a mirage of images from Peter’s memories as Spider-Man-but everyone’s face is replaced by a gaping void of shadows. And Kraven himself appears as a towering figure with a face full of flames. Even Caramagna’s letters are shown to shift in size, with Kraven’s captions often appearing tilted and whole letters in captions fading out of sight.

This trippy imagery only gets trippier thanks to the colors. Aburtov and Arciniega stick to a brighter color palette which may draw comparisons to Midsommar, and it makes things even more disturbing as Spider-Man’s bright red-and-blue suit is usually associated with heroic scenes. One sequence features Kraven staring down at Ben as the flames surrounding his head slowly shift into that of Ben’s girlfriend Janine, before completely fading into darkness. Between this and the Morbius issue, the Beyond Saga has had no problem delving into the underlying horror elements that come with Spider-Man’s mythos. It’s enough to make me hope for other monster-themed villains such as the Lizard or Carnage to make an appearance.

Writing-wise, the issue starts to pick at the motives of the Beyond Corporation. Janine takes Ben’s handler Marcus to task for losing him, and CEO Maxine Danger seems oddly interested in protecting the Spider-Man trademark. While I’m sure the Beyond deal will blow up in Ben’s face partly because they showed up as antagonists in the Nextwave series and partly because it wouldn’t be a Spider-Man story if something didn’t go sideways, Ziglar’s script is more or less rehashing elements readers already know or guessed from the jump. I also was disappointed that much like the Morbius arc, the Kraven arc ended far too quickly. The issue ends with the appearance of another longtime Spider-Man villain; I can only hope that they have a greater impact on the Beyond Saga.

Amazing Spider-Man #80 takes Ben Reilly, and the audience, into a hallucinogenic horror show that tests the web-slinger’s state of mind. With the next issue promising a slugfest between Miles Morales and Ben, as well as the return of another classic Spider-Man villain, the Beyond Saga is starting to heat up.

Amazing Spider-Man #80 is available wherever comics are sold.


Amazing Spider-Man #80

TL;DR

Amazing Spider-Man #80 takes Ben Reilly, and the audience, into a hallucinogenic horror show that tests the web-slinger’s state of mind. With the next issue promising a slugfest between Miles Morales and Ben, as well as the return of another classic Spider-Man villain, the Beyond Saga is starting to heat up.