Spider-Man's Best Story In Years Is Already Being Ended By Marvel

When Marvel announced '90s Spider-Clone Ben Reilly would be taking over as its official Spider-Man as of October's Spider-Man #75, fans were skeptical, and yet the 'Beyond' era has quickly won enthusiastic approval... only for Marvel to announce it's over. Marvel has revealed that Peter Parker will once again don the familiar blue-and-red tights in his flagship series The Amazing Spider-Man, concluding the character’s best story arc in recent memory, Spider-Man: Beyond, the bizarre tale of a professional Spider-Man working in the corporate world.

Beginning on a hope and a prayer, Spider-Man: Beyond broke the title’s longtime tradition of featuring a single auteur writer, instead relying on a cavalcade of talented writers and artists known as the “Beyond Board,” which included Cody Ziglar, Patrick Gleason, Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson and Saladin Ahmed. The arc began when Ben Reilly, Spider-Man’s longtime clone, returned following a long absence claiming he was now employed by a group known as the "Beyond Corporation," who claimed ownership of the official Spidey trademark. The series then switched its focus to Ben, following his self-consciously disjointed, yet still somehow remarkably earnest, crime-fighting adventures working for Beyond as a hero prioritizing popular demand. In many ways, the theme of the arc might best be said to involve the nature of “impostor syndrome,” as Ben struggles to fill the shoes of his famous genetic template.

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Though Reilly's previous tenure as Spider-Man isn't remembered particularly fondly, the new direction for the series has been a breath of fresh air for the company’s flagship title. However, all good things must come to an end, and Marvel announced through a press release Monday that the arc will be concluding in March 2022. The preview sets the conclusion as a predictable Spider vs. Spider showdown to be the subject of The Amazing Spider-Man #93, written by Wells with art by Gleason. Enjoy the cover, from Arthur Adams, below.

Spider-Man: Beyond came at the heels of Nick Spencer’s controversial 74-issue run on the title, which itself came at the end of Dan Slott’s decade-long stint on the character, lasting from 2008-2018. These long periods under the pen of single writers have not proved endearing to fans, with Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and Spencer’s Kindred story-arc featuring as frequent talking points in the purported decline of Marvel's Web-Slinger. Part of what has made the storyline-by-board approach such a wonderful success in practice, aside from the deft action and deceptively thoughtful dialogue, has been the lack of reverence for the character, allowing for a looser and more fun rendition of Spider-Man than has been on display in many years.

While the use of the Spider-Clone Ben Reilly in lieu of the popular Peter Parker is perhaps what has provided this newfound levity, there is also the possibility that it emerges from a lack of ego. The board approach likely lessens the sense of any single creator forging their legacy with the character, allowing the story to feel breezy and fun despite the often serious subject matter. If so, this will be for the best, given that Spider-Man Beyond is now set to conclude in March 23's The Amazing Spider-Man #93, leaving fans still wanting more as Peter Parker moves on to new horizons.

Next: Experience Marvel's Most Pivotal Month with June 1962 Omnibus

Source: Marvel

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