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  1. #1
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Default Rereading Zeb Wells and co's Amazing Spider-Man

    Last summer, I reread all of Nick Spencer's Amazing Spider-Man. I figure it's a good time to reread Wells.

    This is going to start with Spider-Man: Beyond where he is very much a head writer.

    There were two prelude stories.

    Free Comic Book Day: Spider-Man/Venom (2021) #1
    An upgraded Spider-Man tackles D-lister Bushwacker with the help of the Beyond Corporation. The story ends with the reveal that Ben Reilly is the new Spider-Man. It's 8 pages. The fight has decent quips and there is some tension as this Spider-Man determines just how good his tech is.
    B+



    "Janine" from Amazing Spider-Man #74
    The Beyond Corporation gets Ben Reilly's ex out of jail. Ivan Firelli's art clashes a bit with Gleason's lead story, but it works for something lighter that still has a hint of menace.
    A

    Amazing Spider-Man #75 also had two back-up stories. "Kafka" by Zeb Wells and Ivan Fiorelli explains Ashley Kafka's involvement in Beyond, while Love & Monsters by Kelly Thompson and Travel Foreman bring Misty Knight & Colleen Wing into the series as the heroes for hire. Both are solid intros to new supporting characters.
    B+

    And now for the main story...



    Amazing Spider-Man #75-76
    This sets up the status quo pretty well. The Beyond Corporation has bought Peter's assets after the Parker Industries mess, including the Spider-Man identity. Ben Reilly takes over as the new Spider-Man, and initially clashes with Peter. They fight the U-Foes and Peter is poisoned. A hospitalized Peter gives Ben his blessing to continue as Spider-Man, but is more injuted then he lets on.
    The story navigates an awkward relationship and gets some essential scenes out of the way, so that there's a status quo can be comfortable with and interested by. It would be different without Peter's blessing, although the initial conflict is mainly due to Ben Reilly messing up and there's a bit of a sense that this was all done.
    There's one scene I really liked where Peter sees the Ben Reilly Spider-Man swinging, and the coloring seems to be an obvious 90s clone saga homage.
    I remember thinking it was a bit similar to Superior Spider-Man with someone else taking over an omnibus, but it doesn't feel like a retread since everyone knows why Peter is out of action.
    Details I like in the story include Ben and Peter making the same joke against the U-Foes snd the motif of the danger being inside Peter.
    B+
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member
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    Why would you put yourself through this? Once is enough.

  3. #3
    Mighty Member Alex_Of_X's Avatar
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    hell yea, a Mr. Mets read-along! Love these

    In hindsight, I find it curious that its only now that they're bringing Gleason back. Zeb\Gleason launched this wild ride. Maybe he was originally in the McGuinness spot, but scheduling fell thru? Something to mull over

  4. #4
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    I'm curious. Are you just reading the Wells written issues of Beyond? Or will you read the other issues of the run? And what about the tie-ins? The .1 issues?

    And what are your plans for Dark Web? Obviously the prologue and finale have to be part of the read through, but what about the tie-ins? Are you going to pick and choose? Or will you read all of them? Or none of them?

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member CaptainUniverse's Avatar
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    I wish Beyond had kept going. It was a hell of lot more interesting than Marvel trying to force Sad Boy Norman, Genocidal Paul, the Fake Kids and Chasm down everyone's throats.
    "The Enigma Force is not a tool to be manipulated by mortals. The Enigma Force comes to those it deems worthy. What temerity, what arrogance, makes you think you are worthy? Have you not all made mistakes? Unforgiveable ones?" - Captain Universe

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  6. #6
    Welcome Back Spidey Kurolegacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainUniverse View Post
    I wish Beyond had kept going. It was a hell of lot more interesting than Marvel trying to force Sad Boy Norman, Genocidal Paul, the Fake Kids and Chasm down everyone's throats.
    While definitely better than what we’ve gotten in this story, in hindsight, it had some of the same pitfalls that really should have been warning signs for us. Like, whether it be Ben or Peter, we seem to have the same plot point that in spite of having an upgraded suit with new gadgets, they both end up getting their asses kicked a lot and end up having to be saved by someone else thus making the new suit completely pointless. Say what you will about Slott’s run but when he gave Peter a new toy, it shined.

  7. #7
    The Superior One Celgress's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Batman Begins 2005 View Post
    Why would you put yourself through this? Once is enough.
    I'm not saying Wells is a bad person rather he is objectively a bad writer at least based on his Spidey work. I could not defend his Spidey work as "good" in any way but it will be interesting to see someone try. Hell, even the guilty need their advocates.
    Last edited by Celgress; 07-08-2023 at 11:17 PM.
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

  8. #8
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    Having just read all of it myself, I liked so much of Beyond up until the last few issues. I think it's around when the Stingers get reintroduced at the last minute. Right there it just kinda lost me.

    On the positives, I loved seeing Ben back in the old suit, seeing Peter struggling with a challenge he couldn't punch was nice, and the MJ & Black Cat one-shot is gold, easily the highlight of the entire story.

    I just really feel it all falls apart at the end. It feels like they flipped a switch and Ben went from Good But Troubled to just straight up Evil. Didn't really work, especially with the story it felt they were telling.

    The hybrid Vampire/Lizard was a fun idea, but didn't really feel well utilized. Was just kind of a wall to block peter for a while from getting to Ben.

    Then there's that ending...whoo boy, that wonderful, oh so sweet set up for Rabin showing up. That just spoils the whole thing for me. Like a decent ice cream sundae, a little messy at the top, then someone just drops a chunk of hot garbage on at the last minute. So yeah, Beyond is...a mixed bag. At least I got a little more good modern MJ before...current times.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    I'm curious. Are you just reading the Wells written issues of Beyond? Or will you read the other issues of the run? And what about the tie-ins? The .1 issues?

    And what are your plans for Dark Web? Obviously the prologue and finale have to be part of the read through, but what about the tie-ins? Are you going to pick and choose? Or will you read all of them? Or none of them?
    I'd reread every issue of ASM and the Wells written tie-ins. I'll reread Slott and Bagley's Spider-Man since it's relevant to the current discussion (and I've really liked it, so why not use the excuse?)

    For something like Dark Web, I'll check out some tie- ins, especially if there's a clear Spider-Man connection. I'll likely reread the Ms. Marvel Dark Web issues given what happened to her in the last issue of Dead Languages.
    Last edited by Mister Mets; 10-29-2023 at 11:24 AM.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  10. #10
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    I'd reread every issue of ASM and the Wells written tie-ins. I'll reread Slott and Bagley's Spider-Man since it's relevant to the cutting discussion (and I've really liked it, so why not use the excuse?)

    For something like Dark Web, I'll check out some tie- ins, especially if there's a clear Spider-Man connection. I'll likely reread the Ms Marvel Dark Web issues given what happened to her in the last issue of Dead Languages.
    I'm curious what your thoughts on the Mary Jane and Black Cat Dark Web mini would be. It feels like the early issues of that mini were originally written when they had other ideas about the mystery box, and then things don't line-up with the actual reveals (and even the later issues of said mini). I'm curious what the Spider-Office told MacKay about the mystery box.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    I'm curious what your thoughts on the Mary Jane and Black Cat Dark Web mini would be. It feels like the early issues of that mini were originally written when they had other ideas about the mystery box, and then things don't line-up with the actual reveals (and even the later issues of said mini). I'm curious what the Spider-Office told MacKay about the mystery box.
    I expect I'll check out anything by McKay. I remember his Black Cat & MJ spotlight being my favorite Beyond-related comic, but I haven't actually read most of the Dark Web tie-ins so I'll look forward to that. He's also gone on to be trusted with the Avengers so from a meta perspective that's interesting.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Amazing Spider-Man #77-78
    With the back-up story and this two-parter, it seems Kelly Thompson's issues as part of the writing team are going to focus on Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, the Daughters of the Dragon. They have a fun dynamic and it's effective to have them training Ben Reilly while also getting involved in the larger Beyond Corporation mystery. It's a smart move to pair Ben Reilly with people who aren't connected to Peter Parker, in a story that could actually fit the Peter Parker Spider-Man.



    This is the second full story of Beyond and it sets up a template- Ben is a different Spider-Man in situations Peter hasn't been in developing relationships with people Peter doesn't know. The subplot with Peter's coma- the reactions of MJ, Felicia and May are spot-on. Morbius works as a foe. His berserker rage is an interesting threat, and Ben's reacting to him differently than Peter would (an established flaw of Peter's is his deep discomfort and repulsion with the likes of Morbius and Vermin.) That story ends quickly but there are some nice twists.
    Artist Travel Foreman isn't an A-lister but he fits various moods well, depicting geniuses at Beyond, chaotic fight scenes, hospital drama and quiet scenes with Ben & Janice.
    B+



    Amazing Spider-Man #78. Beyond
    A Misty/ Colleen Wing spotlight is not quite why people buy Amazing Spider-Man. This is an early issue by Jed Mackay, who clearly impressed people on Marvel given how quickly he went to the Avengers. Ben does get in a decent training scene, and the story does connect to the larger Beyond mystery. The threat is clever, although conveyed in a nonsensical way. I'm not sure about Carlini's art.
    B-
    Last edited by Mister Mets; 07-09-2023 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Fixed image link
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Amazing Spider-Man #79-80
    The Ben Reilly Spider-Man is once again pit against a classic Spider-Man foe, and it make sense as a way to show that this is a Spider-Man comic, but that Ben is a bit different, with or without the resources of Beyond. Ben's discomfort at being a corporate tool fits the character and anticipates obvious reader concerns. There are nice details like all the weird projects at Beyond, the costume requiring firmware updates (which Ben exploits), Beyond scientists partying thanks to their invented hangover cures (which fits the larger story quite well several times) and Kraven's creepy trap. Ben gets a bit more involved in Peter's hospitalization, and it just seems the right stage of the story for it- not too soon and not the stage where it would be suspiciously late. There are some good sequences with a drugged out Spidey. Kraven's motives work. The last four pages set up promising future conflicts, setting up Ben with a confrontation against Miles Morales (a good idea to pit the most proiminent Peter Parker alternatives against one another) and bringing another A-list Spider-Man character into the story.



    Artist Michael Dowling has a heavy lift here, depicting parties, dream sequences and dramatic conversations. And he pulls it off.
    So far these stories are good but not great.

    I noticed two things in the issues so far. Aunt May's plot is one of her finest moments. They also do a really good job with transitions from one story to another and one creative team for another. It's smoother than it was typically was for Brand New Day, and it might be smoother than it sometimes has been for Wells. It's not just that the characters have the same voice, but that it feels they're in a slightly different place at the end of a story than another. Ben Reilly's getting more suspicious of Beyond. Aunt May's getting more desperate. This is the type of thing that's easy for readers not to notice, but it would be crystal clear if it didn't work.
    B+

    The grade for the first TPB of Beyond (which covers it up until this point) would be B+. Solid first act of a Spider-Man mega-arc.
    Last edited by Mister Mets; 07-09-2023 at 08:19 PM.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  14. #14
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Is there any particular reason you're doing this now and not waiting until the run has ended? Seems a bit odd to evaluate a ruin that's ongoing for the foreseeable future.

    I'm genuinely curious as you seem pretty determined to defend him over the whole "What did Peter do"/death of Kamala thing in other threads, more so than I've ever seen you do before for Wells, so I'm interested in whether he has won you over as the run has gone on, or have you always enjoyed it, or you're trying to balance the negativity, or some... Fourth thing.
    Last edited by exile001; 07-10-2023 at 04:59 AM.
    "Has Sariel summoned you here, Azrael? Have you come to witness the miracle of your brethren arriving on Earth?"

    "I WILL MIX THE ASHES OF YOUR BONES WITH SALT AND USE THEM TO ENSURE THE EARTH THE TEMPLARS TILLED NEVER BEARS FRUIT AGAIN!"

    "*sigh* I hoped it was for the miracle."

    Dan Watters' Azrael was incredible, a constant delight and perhaps too good for this world (but not the Forth). For the love of St. Dumas, DC, give us more!!!

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member DragonPiece's Avatar
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    Was Wells always going to be writing the main book when he started working on beyond

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