WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #75, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Peter Parker’s relationship to his Spider-Man identity has often been one of the weirdest in comics. Over the years, a number of people have used the identity either when Peter was unable to or simultaneously, including Miles Morales, Ben Reilly and Mattie Franklin.
However, Amazing Spider-Man #75, by Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, Marcio Menyz and VC’s Joe Caramagna, has just complicated things further, as the issue reveals Peter doesn’t even technically own the rights to his superhero persona anymore.
At the start of Amazing Spider-Man #75, Peter encounters Ben, who is once again operating in New York. Soon, the two go out for dinner, and Ben explains that he’s been working with the Beyond Corporation, describing the group as “a multinational conglomerate who’ve been on a spending spree the last couple of years.” Parker Industries is among their acquisitions. However, as Peter discovers, one of the trademarks that the Beyond Corporation bought from the remnants of Parker Industries was for the “name and likeness of Spider-Man.” Peter then realizes Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus must have been responsible for trademarking Spider-Man.
First appearing in The Superior Spider-Man #20, Parker Industries was actually founded by Otto Octavius, who had taken over Peter’s body by putting his mind into it. Later, Parker Industries collapsed when Doc Ock tried to seize control of the company for Hydra during the Secret Empire event. Later, in Amazing Spider-Man #790, Parker Industries officially shut down. Unfortunately for Peter, the Beyond Corporation has caused chaos around the Marvel Universe since its introduction in Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave #1.
The implications of the Beyond Corporation’s involvement are huge. The knowledge that the Beyond Corporation owns the rights to Spider-Man empowers Ben to start superheroing in New York, despite Peter’s objections. However, Ben having the Beyond Corporation’s backing means he’s also equipped with some incredible cutting-edge technology that allows him to operate with brutal efficiency. Ben is going to have to learn just what his powers mean when they’re backed by a huge, powerful corporation.
However, the Beyond Corporation owning the rights to Spider-Man could have some big implications going forward if Peter doesn’t get them back. While practically, there’s nothing stopping Peter from becoming Spider-Man again when he recovers from his injuries, they could still do a lot of damage to his name. By owning the official rights to Spider-Man, the Beyond Corporation could easily sign his name to ad campaigns and do other legal — though not necessarily ethical — things with the identity in order to make more money and further the company’s brand. So when Peter does return, he might find that the people of New York are once again unsure of what to make of their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
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