Sometimes, comics will provide such incredible issues that they standout above everything else around them. Other times, issues will simply progress their respective ongoing stories and blend into their surroundings. This issue is the latter.
“The Amazing Spider-Man #81” continues the ongoing story in which Ben Reilly, on behalf of the Beyond Corporation, has been acting as Spider-Man. This particular issue may not stand out from the series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When a mysterious creature terrorizes people in Brooklyn, Beyond decides to send Ben Reilly, better known these days a Spider-Man, into action. Along with his assignment though, they let him know that it is likely he’ll be crossing paths with another Spider-Man which could complicate things.
Miles Morales operates in Brooklyn and he’s had a long relationship with Peter Parker. So when he meets Spider-Man on the streets and hears a voice other than Peter’s you can bet he’s going to take issue with that. As the cover above implies, there is some conflict between these two Spider-Men.
However, with great power, come… oh you get it. So when a bigger threat shows its face, the two Spider-Man are challenged to put their differences aside and do what it takes to protect the city. But as Ben Reilly has come to learn, even a job well done is not good enough for Beyond.
Not standing out above the surrounding issues in this series sounds on the surface like a negative reaction to this comic. However, there are two reasons that this is not the case. The first is simply that this series has been, well, amazing to this point. Trying to stand out in the middle of a great story can often lead to an issue that is actually detrimental to the series.
The second reason it’s a good thing this issue blends in, is that there is a different writer handling this particular issue. Cody Ziglar has been handling “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but with the involvement of Miles Morales here, Saladin Ahmed took over. The transition from one writer to another is seamless and that is very impressive. Overall, this issue is handled very well.
This issue also throws an important character into the mix of what has felt thus far like a very important Spider-Man story. With Peter being in the hospital for so long now, it’s honestly a bit surprising it took this long for Miles Morales to be introduced to the story. Now he’s involved, which could be very interesting going forward.
Of course, there is a downside here. This particular issue isn’t likely going to be one I would revisit on its own in the future, simply because it’s just a cog in the bigger story. And that’s fine because I could very well revisit the story as a whole at some point. This is similar to a good episode of your favorite TV show, but one in which nothing really memorable happens. People aren’t going to be talking about this issue, but it was very important for progressing the story.