The first rule of vampires is don’t get bitten. Well, Spider-Man got hella bit in Amazing Spider-Man #77. This week’s issue picks up where we left off, and Ben Reilly is in trouble. Even with the Beyond’s new bag of tricks, can he stop him? Find out in this issue!
Kelly Thompson, Sara Pichelli, and Jim Towe deliver a good second part to their series takeover. The opening action scene is intense, well-drawn, and visually striking. Spider-Man dodging slashes from Morbius, or bouncing away in a hurried escape have a zip of energy that makes Spider-Man great. Seeing a somewhat shocked Morbius — who is in some kind of animalistic rage currently — is one of many small touches that add a bit of life to the book.
On the reverse side, there are some near-death moments, too. There’s a particularly intriguing theme in the issue that deals with monsters. Morbius is monstrous and obviously in a place lacking humanity. Even still, being treated like an animal — or at one point like a piece of meat — is shocking. Ben is also treated as if he’s inhuman and yet he’s clearly far from it. By extension, Beyond continues to show itself as more interested in its goals than treating its star employee like a person. One might even say their actions are monstrous in themselves.
Thompson does some interesting things with the character here, in particular with Ben’s girlfriend Elizabeth and Maxine Danger who is the head of superhero development at the Beyond Corporation. They are opposites in the story here — Elizabeth cares for him dearly and their love is obvious, while Danger sees Ben as an inhuman thing to be used as a tool. The two characters balance out the book and show us how Ben’s situation is a tricky one to navigate.
Misty Knight and Colleen Wing also get a good amount of play in this issue. This keeps the trajectory of the last issue balanced. Thompson writes both characters well focusing on their joy in the fight. Comparatively, there’s a touching check-in with Peter Parker’s loves. Seeing two characters who usually hate each other actually get along because of Peter’s state is heartwarming, but also a bit scary since Peter is truly in a very bad place.
Pichelli draws a great issue with intense action in the opening and great character moments throughout. The angle at which she places the characters is particularly good. Towe closes out the issue with the last four pages by wrapping up the Morbius fight and then closing out a date night with Ben and Elizabeth. It’s a touch jarring to switch to Towe’s simpler style but he captures the cuteness of the couple and the foreboding figure in the trees watching them.
Nolan Woodard colors the issue (with Rachelle Rosenberg) with splashy streaks of red in the Morbius fight and some good light effects when it comes to Spider-Man’s portal. Woodard doesn’t lose Pichelli’s lines which can linger on clothing or play with light in a streaky style. You gotta love the attention to detail in Spider-Man’s webs, too.
Amazing Spider-Man #78 is a great follow-up to the last issue as Spider-Man takes on Morbius. Kelly Thompson continues to show how efficient she is with character writing and the foreboding nature of Beyond reveals a bit more of itself to the reader. All told, there’s a lot of moving parts that come together in a compelling Spidey story.
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