Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Ben Reilly - The Scarlet Spider #1

Ben Reilly, aka the Scarlet Spider, is my favorite superhero of all time. I even wrote a song about him once.




 
Due to his being my favorite hero, and the complexity of his comic book history, it would likely require an entire post for me to really explain who this guy is. In order to get to the review ASAP I will try my hardest to be brief here.

The character first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #149, in 1975 as a clone of Peter Parker/Spider-Man created by the Jackal as a weapon against the web slinger. In the end both Spider-Men joined forces to take the villain down but the clone died in the exchange. Nineteen years later (in real time) Marvel Comics decided to revisit the old story by bringing the clone back to shake-up the then kind of off the rails Spider-Man books. Retroactively speaking, the clone actually survived and had spent the past five years (in comic book time) wandering the country until finally returning to New York City. Now calling himself “Ben Reilly” he decides to don a costume and fight crime, dubbed by the press as “the Scarlet Spider.”

This was the beginning of the Clone Saga, one of the most infamous storylines in comic book history. Long story short, Ben is revealed to be the real Spider-Man, Peter retires to have a baby with Mary Jane Watson Parker, Ben becomes Spider-Man for a short while, it turns out it was all an elaborate lie to torture Peter by the long thought dead Green Goblin who kills Ben of good thus paving the way for Pete to emerge as the one true Spider-Man. It’s a messy, messy plot that last for YEARS!


Also, the whole thing was a convoluted way to end the Spider-Marriage
Comics books are ridiculous
Fast forward twenty real-time years later, during the Clone Conspiracy storyline, where the Jackal returns having seemingly brought many dead Spider-Man supporting characters back to life. It was soon revealed that this Jackal was actually a revived Ben Reilly. Having been restored to life shortly after his death by the real Jackal, Ben was killed and resurrected dozens of times over due to MAD SCIENCE and the process ultimately drove him insane. This lead him to essentially become a new supervillain, which kind of bums me out but whatever.

Even before the storyline finished Marvel announced the first solo series starring Ben in twenty years, which is what we’ll be looking at today. Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 is written by Peter David with art by Mark Bagley, with inks by John Dell and colors by Jason Keith. Though I cannot tell you how excited I am for new Scarlet Spider adventures the fact that Ben was reintroduced as a half-crazed supervillain makes me more than a little wary.

 Full, if cautiously optimistic, review after the jump.