The Miseducation of Ben Reilly Part 3

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!

The Miseducation of Ben Reilly Part 2.

Happy Saturday to you all and thanks for checking out Mid-American-Culture. Today I’m gonna pick up from last week but first a correction, I falsely stated that Mark Bagley designed the Scarlet Spider outfit and a reader pointed out that it was actually Tom Lyle.

We left things last time with Ben dying at the hands of Norman Osborne, impaled on the Goblin Glider saving Peter Parker’s life. He aslo turned to dust showing that he was a clone after all.

So Peter and M.J. lose their baby and the comics try and move past the last 2 years of publication. It sucked to just see the whole thing disappear as if it never happened. I kept reading Spidey though because he was my character, and I’d always read him.

However Tom Defalco would soon launch an alternative future series called Spider-Girl and it would be the high school age daughter of Spider-Man, and guess what? She wore Ben Reilly’s Spidey costume and even referred to him as Uncle Ben.

This would be the first of many Ben teases Marvel would throw at us Clone Saga fans. Defalco would also introduce Ben’s own son Reilly Tyne, who with the help of the other clone Kaine, would become Dark Devil.l, a Ghost Rider/ Daredevil mashup. He was a pretty damn cool character that I would have enjoyed more of.

Now in this same series, that is essentially a part 2 to the world of the Clone Saga, eventually The Black Cat’s daughter shows up as a new Scarlet Spider and Peter shares a touching story with May about her Uncle Ben.

Its like Marvel wants to get away from the 90’s but also embrace them. Haha

Eventually, Tom Defalco would get Marvel to try a Clone Saga again, as it was originally intended, a short 6 month story and Ben survives through the end and sets out on his own. Sadly, it didn’t sell well and again forgotten after the initial 6 issues.

Im gonna leave you here at the end of the Spider-Girl era and post Clone Saga 2, but come back next week for the return of the Scarlet Spider and his own series! Have a great week.