Marvel Comics would tease and tease Ben’s return for a decade. After lackluster sales of the 2nd Clone Saga, we appeared to be finished with the character, we had a chance but we didn’t support it. However we would have a Scarlet Spider return to comics with his own series. The big catch was that it was Kaine Parker in the role honoring the memory of good ole Ben Reilly.
I was prepared to hate this series but ended up loving it immensley. I don’t know if I just loved Spider-Man my whole life, so I enjoy variations of that character or what? This series would run for a solid 2 years and 25 issues. Ben Reilly hung over the series as Kaine tried to be a better person.
Ben Reilly seemingly was returning in this series. Kaine felt like he was being followed for a few days then suddenly in a rainstorm classic Scarlet Spider attacks him. He was confused and they fought, but it was actually Kraven the Hunter out for revenge for his role in bringing him back from the dead.
Eventually in the fall of 2016 we finally have Ben Reilly return from the great beyond. As a bad guy. Poor old Ben was scooped up by his original creator, the Jackal, Miles Warren. He regenerates him in a test tube and kills him and brings him back 26 times. Burns him alive, posions him. All kinds of horrible shit seeping out from Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott. Well this eventually drives Ben Reilly insane and after the 26th rebirth, he kills Miles Warren and becomes a new Jackal. For whatever reason.
So Ben wants to use the Jackals cloning technique to end death… Or something. He’s even gonna bring back Uncle Ben until Peter convinces him otherwise. It’s a terrible story, one of Slott’s worst in his record setting run on Amazing Spider-Man. Eventually The whole Clone Conspiracy that Reilly Jackal cooked up implodes and he’s left alive, but with a jank ass clone body that was saved mid-deterioration.
Kinda looks like a generic Deadpool. Well he’s also still kinda crazy when Peter David takes over writing his new solo series, Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider. He has an Aunt May stand in named June and he talks to himself. He answers himself in the old school Scarlet Spider persona for good things and his recent Jackal persona for bad things. Not great. However he was supposed to get a kick ass new costume and it was previewed way ahead of the new book.
But a hand full of fans screamed their white hot hate for the look even befor it hit and Marvel and Peter David immediatly back peddled and assured those people the old blue hoodie would make a permanent return.
17 issues into the book and it’s not great but it’s Ben Reilly. Peter David has worked hard to clean up the hit job Dan Slott did on poor ole Ben. A big help was having Thano’s old girlfriend Death show up and help Ben get his soul straightened out.
She sets Ben on a true path of redemption. Death tells him that his soul was splintered by all the death he endured at the hands of Miles Warren. She heals his face, but whenever he does anything bad, the deteriorated look returns.
The series really took off when the Slingers arc happened. It was the book Ben finally deserved. Unfortunately after that we had some rough Dr. Strange crossover issues. One of my favorite bad guys, Mysterio is due this summer and that seems promising. The main problem Ben has now is his sales numbers. Marvel usually kills a series below 20,000 copies a month. Scarlet Spider has been around 16,000 lately. I’m hoping digital sales and subscribers like me are helping out the bottom line. We’ll just have to wait and see. Ben Reilly has survived way worse than cancellation before.
Thanks for reading Mid-American-Culture and also today is National Comic Book Day and Free Comic Day so if you are out and about give Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider a go and you may grow to love the Spidey-Clone as much as I do. See you next Saturday and until then, Make Mine Mid-American-Culture!