This week, The Marvel Rundown checks in again with the Beyond era of Amazing Spider-Man for an issue focused on Misty Knight & Colleen Wing, otherwise known as The Daughters of the Dragon! What are they up to when they’re not training Ben Reilly for the Beyond Corporation?

We’ve got a review of Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY, along with your regular Rapid Rundown of other new and noteworthy Marvel Comics titles, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!

Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY

Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Eleonora Carlini
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Leinil Yu & Sunny Gho
Reviewed by Zoe Tunnell

A year ago, in my first review for The Beat(!), I opened with “Sometimes you just want a fun comic, y’know?” Well, once again, I’ve read another Jed MacKay-penned romp starring some C-List Marvel mainstays and am left with the same dumb smile on my face after 30 pages of gorgeous, absurd superhero antics. Fun, gleefully ridiculous comics are a timeless joy and Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY is inarguably one of the most fun stories Marvel has put out all year.

Don’t be fooled by the bizarre issue numbering and Spider-Man titling, while the issue does spin out of the current Spider-Man Beyond status quo with Ben Reilly taking the mantle, the issue is a completely standalone tale starring Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, the Daughters of the Dragon. Anyone who read the criminally underrated Daughters of the Dragon miniseries from 2018 shouldn’t be surprised that Jed MacKay can write the street level duo perfectly, and he hasn’t missed a step in the three years since. Both Misty and Colleen are in top form in this issue, their new roles as Ben Reilly’s superhero personal trainers only amplifying their histories as some of the most experienced and self-assured women in the Marvel Universe.

While the original Daughters miniseries from MacKay had absolutely gorgeous art from Travel Foreman, ASM #78.BEY is drawn by Eleonora Carlini, an artist I wasn’t familiar with prior to reading. I’m almost happy I hadn’t seen Carlini’s work before, because this issue just sucker-punched me in the mouth with wild, vibrant energy and perfect comedic timing on every single page. As far as I’m concerned, Carlini was born to draw the Daughters of the Dragon and Marvel would be just straight-up stupid to not immediately grab her for more similarly comedy-action focused stories. The fluidity and excitement she’s able to inject into a scene where Misty and Colleen are driving a speeding car, a notoriously challenging subject to make look engaging in a medium relying on the illusion of movement, alone should put her on everyone’s radar.

If it seems like I’m not talking about the plot of the issue much, well, it’s because I don’t really feel like it’s needed! Not because it’s bad, it is a charmingly goofy romp that introduces a very intriguing element from Nextwave back into the Marvel Universe, but it isn’t what makes this issue sing. This issue lives and dies on Colleen and Misty as a duo and their relationship with each other, and it sure ain’t dying. Every bit of banter or playful insult feels genuine and grounded in their history together rather than forced comedy, only amplified by the more serious moments of reminding people that they aren’t just two weirdo ladies who hung out with more famous heroes. Additionally, while there is no textual confirmation or anything close, to this very happy lesbian MacKay’s take on Misty and Colleen is impossible to read as anything other than a lovingly bickering couple who’ve been together for ages.

Over the course of 2021 I’ve found myself less and less motivated to read my pile of weekly releases, not due to anything wrong with comics out this year but just because I hadn’t had anything really grab me and shake me until I remember why I love superhero comic books. I never would have guessed that an Amazing Spider-Man one-off special would be the thing to do it, but MacKay and Carlini would prove me wrong. Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY is maybe the most fun I’ve had with a Marvel comic this year and one of the easiest recommendations I’ve ever had to make. Read it or regret it, folks, it’s a hell of a ride.

Final Verdict: BUY.

Rapid Rundown!

  • Shang-Chi #6
    • Gene Luen YangDike Ruan, and Tríona Farrell‘s Shang-Chi vs. The Marvel Universe arc reaches a dramatic conclusion that truly lives up to the title of the storyline. The previous issues have been somewhat formulaic in how they’ve placed Shang-Chi and the Five Weapons Society in opposition with various heroes across the Marvel U, so it was nice to see things break out of that pattern and finally come to a head here, and the all-out action throughout the issue is a fantastic showcase for Ruan and Farrell’s highly-kinetic artwork. The ending leaves Shang-Chi in an interesting place both within the Five Weapons Society and among his fellow heroes, and that combined with the threat that’s been looming since the series debuted should make for some interesting future stories. —JG
  • S.W.O.R.D. #10
    • If X-Force is the black-ops team for the Krakoans, S.W.O.R.D. is the Impossible Missions Force, engaging in deep undercover espionage, often unsanctioned, and generally doing whatever it takes in a cosmic game of brinkmanship. Without spoiling this issue, writer Al Ewing and artist Jacopo Camagni craft a perfect example of these constant chess moves made by S.W.O.R.D. agents and the ever-expanding list of enemies they face defending Mutants throughout the galaxy, the plotting board of the X-Writers has to look like the collected ravings of an insane asylum. Betrayal, explosions, assassination plots, and weird tech are all parts of S.W.O.R.D.’s DNA —GC3

Next week, supply chain willing, a new era for Black Panther begins!