Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Penciler: Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross and Rick Magyar
Inker: Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross and Rick Magyar
Story Title: Who Was Ben Reilly? Part Three
Ben fights Damon in the past. Kaine and Raptor hold hostages. Screwball crashes the party. Ben Reilly; guilty or innocent?
This issue is an example of a comic that I enjoyed but at the same time didn’t really feel any kind of emotional attachment to.
Looking back on the other reviews I have written for “Who was Ben Reilly?” that seems to be the common denominator. The writing was adequate and the plot held together well, but I started out feeling like if circumstances were different and I would have been a die-hard Spider-Man fan during the nineties that this would have been like a high school reunion and I ended the story with the exact same opinion.
Actually that’s not true. I have no idea if I would have had the whole old home week sensation with this story. The thought occured to me while I was typing the previous paragraph that I was working under the theory that if something similar happened in the Superman books I would be all excited and that just isn’t the case. They have re-introduced certain characters and concepts in the various Superman titles over the past year and while I think it’s kind of neat I also think it just it isn’t the same. I just couldn’t go home again. So I can’t say for sure that I would be all happy, happy joy, joy about this arc even if I had been a fan of Kaine and Ben Reilly and the Clone Saga in general.
On a technical level the issue was fairly good. The similarities between the flashbacks and the scenes taking place in the present were handled well and all of the revelations were well paced. I was a little disappointed that the Kaine holding Ben/Peter by the throat image was repeated in such a small panel because it just looked kind of bad but other than that I didn’t hate what I was reading. The concept of Peter deciding to blow his secret identity to save his friend and cousins was let go a little quickly for my tastes, but there wasn’t a whole lot of time to explore that and Guggenheim gave him a good chance to slip away so it was easy to let that go.
The revelation that Raptor killed his own family was something I should have seen coming but didn’t. It was a nice twist, though. It added to the insanity of Damon as a character and more importantly it vindicated Ben Reilly, which was bound to happen but this was a good way to do it. I did like that Peter was completely sure that Ben wasn’t a killer because they were so much alike. It’s not like Kaine, who is just broken as a human being. This was the one and only time I got the sense that Peter missed his “brother” and had some warm and fuzzy feelings for him.
My biggest problem was Screwball. Who likes this character? Seriously. Isn’t she the Rocket Racer of this generation? Or was Rocket Racer a better character? There’s a debate somewhere in there but I don’t have time to do the research and come up with the proper insults. In any case it seemed to me that the only purpose she served to this entire story was to provide a distraction at the end. Wow. That sucked. Seriously. I hate this character. I may hate this character more than any of the other low rent, wanna be compelling characters that have popped up since Brand New Day.
Or was that too negative?
Overall this was a much better story than what we have been given since issue 600. That’s kind of sad when you think about it. Still, it actually referenced the past in a good way, which has always been something of a dodgy proposition with the Brave New Spider-Man. The final scene with Kain and Raptor was a good way to end the story and I dug that in the end Damon screwed Kaine over.
3 out of 5 webheads.