Cody Ziglar and Paco Medina are closing the door on their two-art story in The Amazing Spider-Man #85 this week. Dialing things up is Doc Ock, who is taking the hurt to the Beyond Corp headquarters. To make matters worse, Spider-Man is on a date and is not on the premises. Questions abound, like what his endgame is, can Spider-Man save the day, and does Beyond really have talking sandwiches in a lab?
The answers you seek are in this issue, which opens with a rather funny sequence. Doc Ock continues to be well written as the story carries over from the last issue well. He’s looking for something and in this opening sequence, we visit a few labs, one of which has talking sandwiches. These labs help establish that Beyond Corp is messing around with biology in some freaky ways.
This issue also offers up some good confrontations involving Beyond Corp folks like Misty Knight and Colleen. Maxine gets a moment to show off her crazy attitude as well. Ziglar spreads the love around with the cast which has been a strength of the series.
Ben Reilly’s psychology comes into play in a big way, too. Set up in the last issue, Ben continues to suffer from imposter syndrome, which is further complicated by the continued evidence that Beyond Corp is using him for evil means. This series has ended up being a slower boil — a lot of the themes like Ben Reilly’s psychology have been used since the start — but there’s some clear development here.
For fans who might think Ben Reilly has been written a bit too similarly to Peter Parker, expect to be surprised with this issue. Ziglar has Ben go off with the violence. He’s a bit brutal, doesn’t hold back, and shows his anger as we’ve seen in years past.
If there was any evidence needed that a three-issue-a-month series is tough to pull off, just look at how many inkers are on this issue. Walden Wong, Wayne Faucher, Paco Medina, Andrew Hennessy, Victor Olazaba, and Orberto Poggi are all credited on inks with Medina on pencils. This issue doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the last issue, likely because it needed to scale back on details, but Medina’s fun energy is apparent on every page. All these inkers do well, and colors by Espen Grundetjern continue to be bright and hopeful as we have come to expect from Spider-Man.
Medina and 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.
Props to Joe Caramagna on letters with some impressive sound effects throughout. A specific “YeeHaw” is well worth checking this book out for alone.
Judging by this and Superior Four, Marvel Comics is leaning towards Doc Ock leaning a touch more toward hero than villain, and this issue proves that. The Amazing Spider-Man #85 has good humor, good action, and the continued intrigue of Ben Reilly’s very shady Beyond Corp overlords. After this issue though, the real threat of self-doubt and imposter syndrome might unravel it all first.
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