The Beyond Corp era of Spider-Man has been excellent, changing the character dynamics around while Peter Parker is stuck in a coma. Well, that is until The Amazing Spider-Man #80.BEY woke him up. In The Amazing Spider-Man #82, Saladin Ahmed and Jorge Fornés shift focus away from Ben Reilly to the now awake, but very weakened Peter Parker. Unfortunately for Peter, danger looms heavy on the hospital he’s in.
As a spoiler-free review, don’t expect details beyond what is in the preview, but do expect an examination of fear. Ahmed and Fornés give readers very little time to celebrate Peter’s waking from his coma as a ghastly-looking man drugs Peter back into the darkness. This is a well-crafted done-in-one story that gives readers a taste of where Peter’s head is at as he wakes, and how ingenuity by those around him can save the day.
Fornés is an artist with incredible skill handcrafting facial expressions like how a sculptor crafts a stone statue. There’s believability in the faces of these characters that make them all too real. Paired with Fornés’ ability to draw highly-detailed environments, this book has an edge to it that allows the danger Peter is in to feel very real. There’s also some incredible use of blur effects to create an effect seen in the preview that adds to the danger of the scene. The layout design is also on point, reminding readers Fornés’s ability to control pace is second to none. If you like 9-panel grids you’ll love this issue.
Joining Fornés is color artist Dan Brown, who uses a subtle color palette that adds to the realism of the book. This allows better emphasis as needed, like in one panel where the shock of pain is shown via an orange hue. The antiseptic nature of the hospital is obvious from the cool blues and greens as well.
The plot of this issue is a surprising choice, as it takes the narrative off track a bit by focusing on an hour or so of danger at the hospital. Aside from a quick two-page scene change at the end that’ll lead to the next issue, this issue doesn’t progress the plot or even our understanding of Peter’s state. We know he’s weak, but he has little to say since he’s so tired and out of it. The general vibe of this issue is so far from what we’ve come to expect that it also feels a bit like a showpiece that’s off to the side and possibly better suited as the BEY tie-in stories. That said, it’s still a well crafted comic.
The Amazing Spider-Man #82 is an example of how much control pace, color, and layout design have over the story. Fornés and Brown have crafted something that’s visually stunning in its dread and unease, well worth a read for seasoned comics fans. Ahmed has also given us a story that shows how Peter Parker, and those he loves, are true heroes to their very core.
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