REVIEW: Ben Reilly- The Scarlet Spider #9: A Study in Scarlet

Ben Reilly has always been one of my favorite members of the Spider Family.  At a time when it seemed like Marvel didn’t know what to do with Peter Parker anymore we were given an alternative. I was on board when it was revealed that Ben was not Peter Parker’s clone, but the original Peter. I loved his tenure as Spider-Man and thought it brought some refreshing changes to the character and gave Spider-Man a clean slate. After Marvel changed their minds about retiring Peter they revealed that Ben was in fact the clone after all and he sacrificed himself to save Peter’s life. He was recently brought back from the dead and had a brief run as a misguided villain.  After being continually killed and resurrected by the Jackal, Miles Warren, Ben was driven insane and took on the identity of the Jackal himself.  After Spider-Man put an end to his misguided plans he was presumed dead and fled to Las Vegas for a fresh start of his own.

With Ben Reilly- The Scarlet Spider #9 Peter David takes the Spider-Clone and proves he is more than just a copy of Peter Parker, but rather a complex character with his own motivations and inner demons. The story picks up after Secret Empire has ended and Las Vegas had suffered a great deal of damage during the conflict.  Ben had recently learned from an encounter with Death herself that he has died and been resurrected more than any other soul ever has and the process has left his soul damaged.  The damage will heal over time and Ben will once again be a hero, but if he should die one more time the damage would be irreversible and he would become evil.

Ben works along Ricochet to track down someone who seems to be impersonating the deceased Hornet.  Yes, you read that right, Ricochet and Hornet. The Slingers are making a comeback!  Marvel is really living up to the Legacy title here. In fact next issue starts The Slingers Return arc.

I like the fact that more recent Scarlet Spider Ben Parker has been heavily involved with the book’s storyline as I really enjoyed his time as the Scarlet Spider as well. He has come a long was from just being Kaine.  To see the two clones work together on their journeys of redemption could be very interesting, though I wonder if Kaine Parker will have to adopt a new heroic identity.   Ben was the Scarlet Spider first after all.

Will Sliney does a great job of capturing the fighting style of Ben Reilly, which while very reminiscent of Spider-Man is a little different as it is less restrained.  Ben tends to cut loose more and is a little more reckless than Peter would be these days, though that may change as he finds redemption. Jason Keith uses vibrant and sharp colors that make the action pop and adds more life to scenes that are more static.

Marvel Legacy has done well by Ben Reilly so far and it looks positive for the Slingers too if this issue’s team up with Ricochet is any indication.

Story: 3.5
Art: 4
Overall Rating: 3.75

(W) Peter David (A) Will Sliney (CA) Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy

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