Amazing Spider-Man #85 is written by Cody Ziglar, penciled by Paco Medina; inked by Medina with Walden Wong, Wayne Faucher, Andrew Hennessy, Victor Olazaba, & Roberto Poggi; colored by Espen Grundetjern, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Following his battle with Ben Reilly in Amazing Spider-Man #84, Doctor Octopus attacks the Beyond Corporation’s main headquarters, intending to have words with Beyond CEO Maxine Danger about how she stole his work. Ben confronts Ock, but the mad scientist reveals Beyond’s ulterior motives in seeking out Spider-Man…and the truth shakes Ben to his core.
Throughout the Beyond Saga, there have been hints that Ben’s new employers have not been on the up and up and that finally comes into the light with this issue. Ziglar’s script also takes a zig, as it starts off with the usual superheroic stakes: Ock rips through Beyond’s headquarters with Ben in hot pursuit. However, things take a turn when the two face off-Ben is easily able to disarm Ock’s tentacles and lays into him until he realizes that the not-so-good doctor isn’t interested in a fight.
The fallout of the fight not only leads to a pyrrhic victory for Ben, but it also has him questioning his self-worth and his position as Spider-Man. The best Spider-Man stories have always tested the web-slinger’s spirit, and it looks like Ben is about to undergo the same kind of trials that his fellow Spiders have. But previous stories, including Spider-Man: The Lost Years and Peter David’s Scarlet Spider run, have put Ben through the wringer. This might be the thing that pushes him over the edge and leads Peter to pick up the webs once more.
Medina rises to the challenge of illustrating an escalating series of circumstances, especially when Ock is moving through the various level of Beyond HQ. There, he encounters all manner of strange science experiments, including a trio of talking sandwiches. You read that right: this is a Spider-Man comic with talking sandwiches. Action-wise, a fight between Ock and the Daughters of the Dragon is packed full of frantic, hard-hitting action, and things grow dark when Ben begins to repeatedly punch Ock in the face.
Grundetjern once again steps in for coloring details, giving each character a distinct color palette. Ock wears a brown trenchcoat over a dark green bodysuit, and Ben has the trademark red and blue as part of his Spider-Man suit. Danger is often shown wearing purple and pink clothing that matches her hair and signifies her position as Beyond’s CEO. And rounding out the artistic team is Caramagna, who brings a flourish to the sound effects that most comics could only dream of. The “screee” of metal has a twisted look to it, and a loud “Crash!” literally surrounds Ben when he jumps through a window.
Amazing Spider-Man #85 hits the halfway point of the Beyond Saga, handing Ben Reilly a pyrrhic victory and testing his resolve as Spider-Man. It remains to be seen how Ben handles the revelations about Beyond and what it means for his future as Spider-Man, but I’m looking forward to the second half of the saga all the same.
Amazing Spider-Man #85 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Amazing Spider-Man #85
Amazing Spider-Man #85 hits the halfway point of the Beyond Saga, handing Ben Reilly a pyrrhic victory and testing his resolve as Spider-Man.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.