October 6's Amazing Spider-Man #75 (opens in new tab) brings the title into the almost-weekly 'Spider-Man Beyond' era in which Ben Reilly, Peter Parker's clone from the '90s, takes over as the lead hero of the title. As for what happens to Peter to take him out of the picture, that question is now answered as of Amazing Spider-Man #75 - and it's definitely not what we were expecting.
The details of Peter's unique predicament codify many of the clues that have previously been seeded about the 'Beyond' era, confirming some of what was teased - while turning other expected story details on their heads.
As for how Peter's situation will affect Amazing Spider-Man going forward, there's an answer brewing in the title already. Read on to find out all about it.
Spoilers ahead for Amazing Spider-Man #75(opens in new tab)
Amazing Spider-Man #75 opens in the aftermath of Amazing Spider-Man #74, in which Harry Osborn seemingly died once and for all, leaving Peter Parker and his other friends to mourn for him once again.
Peter decides to get some alone time by web-swinging his way over to one of his favorite spots in the city, only to find someone else there - and not just someone else, but another Spider-Man (who some readers already know to be Ben Reilly, thanks to the costume).
Using the superior technology in his suit, Ben evades Peter and leaves him caught in a sort of drone trap, escaping. Later, the pair meet up out of costume, with Ben apologizing to Peter for trapping him and running away, explaining that his new bosses - the Beyond Corporation - would have been listening to their conversation through the surveillance technology in his suit.
Ben goes on to explain that the Beyond Corporation has purchased the remaining assets of Peter's former company, Parker Industries - including the legal rights to the name and likeness of Spider-Man.
At first confused, Peter realizes that Otto Octavius must have trademarked the Spider-Man name when he was inhabiting Peter's body as the Superior Spider-Man (this could become important very soon - we'll get to that).
Ben goes on to state that the Beyond Corporation is turning Spider-Man into a corporate superhero, with him under the mask - and that they would have found another candidate had he refused. Peter seems confused, but Ben clarifies that technically, he is now Spider-Man, and that the Beyond Corporation is likely to seek to stop Peter from using the identity.(opens in new tab)
Ben returns to the Beyond Corporation, where his handlers state that they want to reinforce the radiation protection in his suit, thanks to some "intel from the field." At first somewhat innocuous, this request becomes a bit more ominous when Ben and Peter both wind up fighting the radioactive villains the U-Foes the next day.
Did the Beyond Corporation know the U-Foes would attack? Or was the boost in Ben's radiation shielding just fortuitous timing? Either way, the U-Foes make it clear they're getting paid for their actions by someone. And given the Beyond Corporation's odd history as super-science villains in Nextwave: Agents of HATE (opens in new tab), we're not putting it past them.
As Peter and Ben fight the villains, they're hit with a massive dose of radiation. Ben's suit shields him, but Peter is unprotected, leaving him seriously injured with apparent radiation poisoning - seemingly the cause of the injuries that Marvel has previously shown will take Peter out of action for some time.
But are those injuries enough to put Peter so close to death that he needs to be replaced? It doesn't seem so. In fact, the larger predicament Peter seems to be facing isn't related to bodily harm at all - but the new corporate ownership of his costume and identity as Spider-Man.(opens in new tab)
Consider first that solicitations for Miles Morales: Spider-Man #33 (opens in new tab), a tie-in to 'Spider-Man Beyond', have shown an impending fight between Ben and Miles over the right to be Spider-Man, with Ben attempting to stop Miles under orders from the Beyond Corporation.
Secondly, the solicitation for December's Amazing Spider-Man #80.BEY (opens in new tab) indicates that Aunt May will seek advice for Peter's condition from Doctor Octopus, her old flame and Peter's arch-enemy (and of course the guy who stole Peter's body, and maybe even cost him his name and costume as Spider-Man).
She could be visiting Ock because he's an expert on radiation who has intimate knowledge of Peter's body, including his irradiated spider-blood - if he was dosed with different radiation, there could be weirder side-effects, after all. Or, she could be visiting him to discuss whether he could (or would) help settle Peter's legal issues around the name and likeness of Spider-Man.
Either way, we wouldn't trust Doc Ock to be particularly altruistic - to say nothing of the Beyond Corporation.
The story continues in October 13's Amazing Spider-Man #76 (opens in new tab), as the title goes virtually weekly.
Stay on top of all the new Spider-Man comics (opens in new tab) with our definitive listing of the Wall-Crawler's planned releases through 2021 and beyond.