Spider-Man is heating up with its duo of Spider-Men as Ben Reilly is reeling from the last issue while Peter Parker grows stronger. This week, Jed MacKay and Carlos Gomez progress the story for both while also offering a fun training montage of sorts. It’s all building towards the Beyond era’s finish in April when Wells takes over on the title. But how will this shake out, and can Ben Reilly come out of this story in one piece mentally? It’s not looking good, web-heads!
This issue opens with Black Cat and Captain America eating at a restaurant while onlookers are amazed by their presence. Sure, it’s a bit odd these two heroes are hanging out, but they mutually care for Peter Parker and want to see him rehabilitate after being poisoned a few months ago. It’s an opening that plays with expectations while also adding a bit of humor to the mix.
We soon learn they are hoping to train Peter and make him stronger so he can put the costume on, but in no way is he going to be wearing the costume while training. This adds a comedic element as Peter is forced to wear a paper bag and street clothes as he swings through the city. The choice of Black Cat and Cap as Peter’s trainers is a smart move too as Cap offers a strict element while Black Cat is playing a bit of a game. The general flow of the book is like an entertaining training montage as Peter tries to get back up to strength.
Intercut with Peter’s struggles to gain his strength back are glimpses of Ben Reilly going through tests. In the last issue his mind was forcibly wiped of memories and that appears to have done some major damage. It’s rather tragic, especially since he was already dealing with mental health issues and now he’s even worse. The Beyond Corp is clearly a very bad organization, but how can Ben be freed when he’s locked away as a corporate asset?
Carlos Gomez draws a slick-looking issue with a lot of detail and good sheen on things from color artist Bryan Valenza. Black Cat’s breasts are practically falling out of her costume in a lot of this, which is a bit overdone to say the least, but her smiles and playfulness shine through via her expressions. Gomez draws a lot of details when it comes to cityscapes in the background and environmental details too. In one scene, Black Cat and Peter are taking a break and they’re in a construction site with lots of wheelbarrows and the like strewn about. It’s a level of detail you don’t see in such a casual scene. In that very same scene, the warm glow of sunset adds a positive glint to everything which captures the general vibe of the moment well.
This issue shows Peter is getting a bit stronger, but progress beyond that isn’t very evident. The cliffhanger doesn’t give readers much to go on, either. In that sense, this is a table-setting issue rather than one with any meaningful developments. It’s a fun time with Black Cat, but it’s hard to gauge where this is going.
As Peter flourishes, Ben Reilly worsens in a setup issue that moves both characters forward ever so slightly. After months of the Beyond Corp era, the creative team can lean on our caring of the characters, but The Amazing Spider-Man #87 lacks impactful moments.
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