Peter is still reeling from the loss of Harry. He has a nightmare involving Uncle Ben and heads off to the Goddard building to relax and web swing, when he bumps into Ben, who's on a test run for his employees at Beyond. Not wanting Beyond to eavesdrop in case Peter starts talking to him openly about his secrets, Ben flees with Peter in pursuit, with Peter getting more and more hot at him. Ben eventually uses his gadgets to trap Peter and escapes.
Later, Ben tracks Peter down and they have a coffee. Ben admits he is the new Spider-Man and tells Peter Beyond have acquired the rights and licence to use the Spider-Man name after acquiring it as an asset from what remains of Parker Industries. Ben proposes to Peter that together they can do a lot of good with Beyond. Peter tells Ben he can't just ask for a piece of his life like this, Ben says he isn't asking.
Peter goes home to Mary Jane, and they talk about the hurt both are feeling over Harry's loss. MJ urges Peter to take time off, Peter tells her he met up with Ben Reilly, MJ has a bad feeling about him.
Eventually, the U-Foes attack Empire State University, both Spider-Men battle them, until one of them releases a radio-volatile gas explosion. Ben's suit protects him, but Peter is not so fortunate and is poisoned.
This issues moves forward with things Spencer left in place, but mostly focuses also on what Slott left in his wake, with Ben running around and the collapse of Parker Industries. It's an interesting blend of the prior two worlds while forging something altogether different out of it.
Peter is not, at least for this issue, sidelined. This book knows who the main character is, knows what his struggles are, knows what keeps him awake at night, what might await him in a coma etc. I liked the little revelations about Peter stealing at a young age and being haunted by Uncle Ben in something almost reminiscent of lovecraft or more recently Immortal Hulk. I hope Peter's visions are a recurring thing whenever we drop in on him recuperating.
As for Ben, he's in the lap of sheer luxury and seems to have been carried away by it. He's overconfident and seems eager to lift the burden off of Peter because he has it more together, he's got a tidy fortune, he's got the girl, he's got a company's backing. He's a made man and now he wants to be the man...all without beating the man himself. He offers the man an opportunity to join him in tandem, and he won't take 'no' either way. Without a doubt, beyond a doubt, he's aiming to take over.
Mary Jane only gets two pages tops, she is the one to make Peter feel better, advise him on how to cope better, but it seems she's forgotten her history with Ben Reily, or perhaps remembers the fresh wounds his revival as the Jackal left on Peter...not that she'd have really noticed since she was distanced from Peter at the time...still, sad to see her assume even worse things will happen now that her old friend is around again.
Peter once injected radiation into himself to stave off Morlun, now ingesting radiation disables him?
Elizabeth talks like a stereotyped mail order bride you find in a movie. That's worrisome.
All in all, it's nice to have a new arc with a fresh voice, it doesn't forget Peter, we can still relate to him. Ben is the outsider we're presently looking into...and we'll have to figure him out further as he takes centre stage. The question remains, can he make this 19-issue event worth our wallet every week of every month?