A little bit ago, I detailed you the questions that must be answered in order to buy how Ben Reilly returned. December’s ASM (Vol IV) 21 has been released, and therefore we must discuss the implications of the story, as released thus far. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, as we are going to be going deep into this issue. So, full stop, if you’ve NOT read this issue, Lo, there will be spoilers abound. I don’t recommend you read this article unless you want to be spoiled. In that case, I still encourage you to read the story and form your own opinions. Anyway, more after the jump.
Before we get started, I was amiss in discussing the Death of Ben Reilly previously. I also touched upon Ben’s mindset in last weeks article, but I will present further evidence as to why him becoming Warren should have never worked. I will articulate the death, why it was done, and why it was nonsensical back then. (Yes, George, he wasn’t supposed to be a Bag of Flour.) I will provide the contradictions as to why it didn’t work, and how Slott didn’t retcon, but sort of did/didn’t.
From the beginning, Ben was portrayed as the ‘perfect clone.’ He was manipulated by Scrier, an agent of Norman Osborn, into perfecting his Cloning experiments. (also, Warren learned of Cloning from the high evolutionary where he created Ani-Men. Think, Spider-Man Unlimited cartoon.) Ben’s portrayal of being the perfect clone was based upon the fact that after his first attempt, Kaine failed, his second attempt was successful, which led to ASM 149. Peter and Ben of course swapped roles as they thought that Peter was the clone, and Ben was the real one. Jackal thought this because that was what Norman Wanted. Norman convinced Seaward Trainer to switch the tests and throw Peter’s life into chaos. Peter left Ben, to build his own life with his daughter and wife. Ben started over, coloring his hair and adopting a new costume. Women had been in his life, from Janine, Jessica Carradine, and Desiree Winthrop to even lesser known such as Betty Brant, Gabrielle Greer, and Carrie Bradley.
In regards, to what was wrong, he was willing to give his life, though they stop short of referencing why he was willing to do so. It was Baby May and Mary Jane that would’ve been left behind, and Ben felt despite that despite him thinking he was a clone, he had to save Peter. Slott also leaves out Ben’s last words, ‘tell baby may about her uncle Ben. He references Lost Years, but no mentioning of Janine, Jessica though we see her in a flashback in the background which is a reference to Sensational 9 with Desiree Winthrop, the Blonde girl from the Daily Grind, which almost nails the correct outfits of Ben, and Desiree was wearing the green shirt but not on their date, but is also wrong due to the fact that Jessica left in Sensational 6, but I’m being really nitpicky and DAMMIT I HAVE THAT RIGHT. Also, Ben never saw Peter and May interact. If this is during the Clone Saga, he came to New York because May was ill. She then died. Ben was on the roof. He should remember this interaction. It wasn’t until after the Saga that May was found to indeed be alive (despite the fact that Norman said his regret was that he didn’t have a hand in her death in the Osborn Journal.)
For what Slott did wrong, there were things he did right in regards to the characterization of Ben Reilly. Touches such as Ben willing to give his life for Peter. Ben feeling Gwen, Ben, George, Harry, May and Ben as strength is somewhat out of character, but him realizing that those people depend on Peter, well… that is in character. Especially if he is reliving his death where he turns to Goo. (Not powder sugar or flour.) Ben wanting to do the right thing is at the core of who he is. From not killing Kaine, to protecting Janine due to her being a victim of sexual abuse, to attempting to have a brotherly relationship with Devon, the son of his boss.
So what about the retcon? Warren grabbing samples of Ben right after the clone saga. It’s completely plausible. Because the Warren who gathered was previously unseen. It also confirms that the Warren who died at the end of Maxmium Cloneage was a Clone. Secondly, there was a unspecified amount of time between Ben’s Death and Peter rushing to the side of MJ due to the Baby being stillborn. While there is a scene where Peter dumps the ashes on the Brooklyn Bridge, however this was added to the Revelations Trade Paperback. (among two other extra scenes) So, the Retcon was the least of this issues problems.
Now, as to why he should have never became the Jackal, he hated Warren. Warren, in his view, regardless of what the circumstances being true or not, stole five years of Ben’s life. One could argue that it’s because of the diluting of Ben via the 27 times he died. That’s incredibly weak and is not true to the character of Ben Reilly.
So, in regards to the answers we hoped to have?
Were the answers satisfactory? Slott does do a good job of trying to make everything fit. But ultimately, it fails to truly delve into this. Despite his yerning for revenge, doesn’t make sense. His sudden turn in the story doesn’t make much sense, but we are only 60 percent through the story. He still has three more issues to complete the story. (2 of the main mini and the epilogue.)
We shall see. Perhaps a Part III will be needed once we finish… eh?