The Amazing Spider-Man is back this week and Doc Ock is making his entrance in the main series. It coincides with his big-screen return in No Way Home, but how does Ben Reilly stack up against Spider-Man’s greatest foe (yeah, I said it!)? We find out that and more as the Beyond Board era continues to do great things for the Spider-Man franchise.
Writer Cody Ziglar set up this clash in The Amazing Spider-Man #80.BEY and he and Paco Medina return to the story here. This issue opens with two Beyond Corp employees discussing an altercation that got one of them demoted. As we learn from this conversation, Beyond Corp has a wide variety of incredible tech which we learn from this convo, and later when Spider-Man fights Doc Ock. Soon though, Doc Ock enters the scene and he’s creating a scene. Customary of Ziglar, there’s some good humor here which immediately cuts to some rather dark places for Ben Reilly.
Something that works well with the Beyond Board era of Spider-Man is Ben’s nightmare of Uncle Ben. That plays into this issue and continues to be quite disturbing. Ziglar explored Ben’s imposter syndrome well in the Kraven stories, and it pays off well here. Other elements that payoff include Ben and Janine’s relationship as well as Maxine’s overall disappointment with Ben as Spider-Man. These are elements that have slowly built up, making them feel earned.
As far as Doc Ock, Ziglar does a great job capturing his bravado and pompous nature. Medina draws him in a way that’s slightly comical and almost endearing. From the bowl cut to how he holds himself, he’s threatening, yet kind of endearing too. Doc Ock fans will enjoy his personality here as well as the fact that he doesn’t take a huge loss, rather actually coming out on top in some way.
Medina and color artist Espen Grundetjern really run the gamut as far as what is depicted, from city scenes to interior cubicle dialogue scenes. Doc Ock’s tentacles look particularly great when he makes his splashy entrance and others are moments of fear and joy that come off perfectly. Medina has a style that’s a bit more rounded, which gives the art a pop that suits a character like Spider-Man. Speaking of, there are some great Spidey reactions via his eyes that pull of various emotions well.
The only negative for this issue might be how little progresses as far as Doc Ock. There’s a showdown here between him and Ben, but this is definitely a smaller part of a multi-part interchange. The strength of the issue lies in the interpersonal situations, though, so it’s not a huge deal.
The Beyond Corp era of Spider-Man continues to be a delightful juggling of Ben Reilly’s personal life, supervillain intrigue, and the continued reveal of what Beyond Corp is really up to. If you’ve been itching for more Doc Ock, The Amazing Spider-Man #84 delivers him as the main course and he’s written and drawn expertly well.
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