Editorial: Ben Reilly vs. Spideydude

Spideydude’s Two Cents: The Ben Reilly Edition.

Back in the 2008 pre-Clone Saga Chronicles Days of Spidey-dude.com, I used to do an infrequent column on the site call two cents. I thought I would dust it off for this editorial, given that it will be posted on Spidey-dude.com and Spider-Man Crawl Space concurrently. You might’ve heard my thoughts on Spider-Man Crawl Space Podcast #449 on Clone Conspiracy 3 and what it means. But while I attempted to verbalize what it meant for me, it wasn’t adequate to my mixed emotions I felt and sort of still feel. The fact is that next week, Amazing Spider-Man (VOL IV) 21 will feature the explanation of the shock last pages of Clone Conspiracy 3.

I knew that this was a possible outcome. My gut told me that it wasn’t Miles. Miles was driven to madness. Unless he was cured of that, he wouldn’t behave this way. He was never benevolent in any way, he didn’t care about anything but avenging the death of Gwen (Original Clone Saga) and making the world pay for his actions (90s Clone Saga). He even accepted the help of th
You see, this Jackal wasn’t your daddy’s Jackal. He wasn’t killing people, he wasn’t acting like a mad scientist, he wasn’t hell bent on eliminating people and replacing them with Clones, no, he was simply reviving people and bringing happiness. He was using them to conquer death. (dead no more!)
Slott wasn’t taking something out of science fiction, he was taking research which as late as 2014 was beginning to see that in the not too distant future, there could be a possible way to create organs from stem cells.
In the original clone story, Jackal was a sick man who fell in love with a dead woman and tried to bring her back. And he did create a fairy tale ending with a clone of himself by marrying Warren Miles, a clone of Miles Warren. (WEB VOL I 125) Madness drove him to want to recreate the world in his image, but I won’t defend that story, because how could I? It routinely is one of the worst stories of all time. No question.
Truth is: I am torn. Just because Ben is back, doesn’t mean I will like it. It also helped that the void of a different Spider-Man, someone pretty close to MY Spider-Man came into his own in the form of Kaine. That void of no Scarlet Spider was filled. I don’t know how this will work, and to be honest, no one but the team that is producing ASM 22 will know. It looks like that if you want the backstory, you need to see that issue. It’s very important to reintroduce people to Ben Reilly and I hope that the execution will be something that I will enjoy.
But until then: Ben is motivated by one thing: Righting Peter’s wrongs. He’s brought back everyone who ever died in Spider-Man. From Stilt Man to Gwen to George Stacy to presumably Rich Gannon. (Who’s Rich Gannon? He’s a quarterback. No I’m just kidding. He was a homeless guy who showed up in Unlimited during the saga. Longtime listeners of CSC will get that joke) Bringing everyone back will help Peter. And Help the world.
But why? What would motivate Ben freaking Reilly to return after about 5 years comic time and do this? These are the questions that are burning. Until they are answered, it is incomplete. I can not fully form my opinion until those questions are at least addressed. At least Slott has acknowledged things that I would’ve questioned by the return of Kaine (Such as the status of the New Warriors and why he didn’t show up in Web Warriors if he was on loomworld.) I’m hoping for something along those lines here. Something had to motivate Ben in this direction. Where did he get his funding? Who developed the method? How long has he been the Jackal? Please tell me just for this story, because I will be pissed the EFF off if he’s been Jackal this entire run going back to #Spiderisland {For Josh} and Sibling Rivalry. What is his endgame when it comes to bringing Peter in? Where is the real Mile Warren? Why take his name,in the first place when last time he interacted with the Jackal, he was fighting him at the Daily Bugle and the Jackal died. So why take his mantle? Unless he’s being influenced, this is way out of character. He hated Miles because he thought he stole five years of his life. And finally, Ben died believing he was the clone. He really thought that Peter was the clone, and was willing to sacrifice himself to save Peter. Surely this will be addressed. It has to for it all to work. You can’t pick and choose the continuity because it will confuse the reader that goes back via Marvel Unlimited or Epic Book Trades, Omnibus’ or the single issues to reread the story. A lot is riding on next week’s issue. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.
But, I will predict that Norman is behind the tech, and that he’s using Ben as his method to get to Peter because he know he’s Spider-Man and is restored to his original look. Stay tuned.
P.S. I predict that before Next July, we will see Norman and the Zodiac come into play, destroy Parker Industries and begin the end of this era. Mark my words. We will see if I’m right.

(15) Comments

  1. Jack Brooks

    @Zach : Are you thinking of this character as Ben Reilly? I commented on Mark Alford's review that this question is a core issue with the entire story-line. AFAIC, none of the clones actually are who they claim to be. (I have this opinion because I believe people are more than just their molecules). So I don't see this deluded Peter dupe as the actual Ben Reilly.

  2. Andrew_C

    -2- @Enigma2099 Oops I got sidetracked before I could make my final point. I still thought it was unlikely that Ben would be brought back as (a) the Clone Saga has up until 4 or 5 years ago been an untouchable third-rail in Spidey comics that YOU DIDN'T TOUCH (remember JMS's crap about "clone free zone") and (b) he was a bag of freaking DUST that blew away in the wind. That's really hard to retcon. At least Gwen and Bucky had bodies.

  3. Andrew_C

    @Enigma_2099 I actually hear Spider-Gwen is a decent book (don't read it myself though), but I (a) don't think ANY version of Gwen (whether it's the real deal, a clone or an alternate universe Gwen) should be alive in a book as it diminishes the finality of her death, and (b) I'm getting tired of EVERY supporting-cast member in Peter's life being a super-powered hero and villain as it diminishes the uniqueness of his situation and is also unrealistic in a "what are the chances" sense. Let's review, Flash was Agent Venom, Harry was GG, Gwen is Spider-Gwen, MJ is a hero in RYV (and even though I'm a marriage fan, I think that book does it the wrong way; sorry, but the whole concept of Peter letting his 8 (or whatever) year old daughter endanger herself as a "hero" is silly), and then when you go further in the orbit Phil is Hobgoblin, Lily was Menace, Carlie was super powered at some point and so on. It's getting ridiculous. Remember when it was just Peter and maybe it was a shock when Ned Leeds turned out to be Hobgoblin? So there's two reasons Spider-Gwen is annoying to me. But still like I said, I heard the book is decent. *shrug*

  4. Andrew_C

    @Victor He had finished saying his last words and clearly at death's door, but there's no proof he was clinically dead or brain dead at the time he was degenerating. It's not like he was hooked up to machines in a hospital that measured brain activity.

  5. Victor

    It just occurred to me: there's no way Ben could remember dissolving (into a bag of sugar) at the end of the '90s Clone Saga. The cellular degeneration only hit him AFTER he'd already died and said his goodbyes to Peter (asking him to tell his upcoming "niece" about Uncle Ben - which one, I'm not sure). So this is either pointing to this guy not being Ben Reilly at all or is just a retcon (which pisses me off either way).

  6. Enigma_2099

    ... THE ONLY PERSON DAN SLOTT HAS GOTTEN RIGHT IS OTTO OCTAVIUS!!! Why are you over thinking this? he's screwed up Peter and countless others. The only reprieve you get is he may get a new book written by someone else. And for crying out loud, there's a Gwen Stacy running around ith spider powers. How hard would it really have been to bring back Ben?

  7. harry townsend

    I'm as huge a Ben Reilly fan as they come, and I've been waiting for this since Ben died all those years ago.....as was mentioned before, the hard work of bringing him back is done. If I had a guess, I'd say miles warren is behind it all and has manipulated Ben into helping and placed him as the "new" Jackal to further mess with Peter. I don't mind Kaine, but to me, Ben will always be Scarlet Spider. After this storyline, I hope Ben takes the mantle back and moves to say Los Angeles so we have spider guys on both coasts....

  8. Al

    Zach this is an excellent editorial! If I may, I think Maximum Clonage as a story was wretched but it didn’t not make sense from the Jackal’s POV. The guy clearly had a God complex. @Andrew C: Of course the fly in the ointment of this story is that if we take things at face value this isn’t really Ben in the first place. Bringing Ben back doesn’t marginalize Kaine necessarily. For all we know IF there is a new SS series coming then it could be about Kaine who is fighting Ben. OR it could be a series about both together as buddies.

  9. RDMacQ

    Slott isn't picking and choosing continuity because it may confuse new readers. He's picking and choosing continuity because he's a lazy writer who forces the characters to fit his inane plots rather than letting the characters dictate the plot through their logical actions.

  10. hornacek

    I am really torn about this. On the one hand, Ben Reilly is back. On the other hand, he is written wildly out of character. He is pretending to be Miles Warren, someone he hates and should not want to be associated with at all. He is cloning people, which should be the last thing he should want to do. And not just people but villains who have killed people. I can kinda sorta understand him wanting to "bring back to life" good people that have died due to Peter's actions/inactions, but if he's doing this to make Peter feel not as guilty about all these deaths, why would he bring back Bart Hamilton, Tarantula, the Hitman? Does he really think Peter is up at night thinking "Oh, I feel so guilty that the Big Man is dead!" And we'll find out all the backstory in the next ASM tie-in issue (because of course ASM can't be the main book in this story - ugh) but somehow I suspect that it won't fill in all the blanks, ignore many significant continuity points, and just be disappointing. If Ben really did come back to life, wouldn't the first thing he did be go and see Peter immediately? Why stay in the shadows, build a company, and start cloning people? It makes no sense for the established character of Ben Reilly. This is like if when Norman Osborn was still dead, they brought him back to life but he was now converted to the priesthood and working in a homeless shelter and it wasn't an act, he was now a good person helping people. I'd be like "Wait, this ignores everything we know about the character!"

  11. Arrow783

    Actually Ben might not really be Ben, after all the Jackal planed to make a clone of Kaine the Spidercide 2.0 as he dubbed it at the end of the team up between Scarlet Spider (Kaine) and 'Superior' Spider-Man (Doc Ock).

  12. Andrew_C

    As a huge Ben fan, I'm also torn. But here's the bright side; even if Ben is really out of character in this saga, the hard work of bringing him back to life has been done. This comicbook rubicon has finally been crossed. And a later writer could fix those characterization issues a lot easier than they could fix his death. Plus, the preview for ASM 22 implies he experienced death 27(!) times, which would mess with anyone's head. But bringing him back does marginalize Kaine who had come into his own as the Scarlet Spider and I'm really torn about that too. What place does Kaine have in this world now? And neither he nor Ben better go back to being a villain, or I'll be pretty upset. Also, one last nitpick would be why Ben hasn't brought back Seward Trainer in this storyline as that's someone who was arguably as important as Aunt May to him. But I realize that's a pretty deep cut. Anyway, I'll reserve judgement until ASM 22. I've waited 20 years for this, but like you I'm mixed.( And I'm also left wondering how he would have been brought back in 2011 and why that story was ultimately nixed.)

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