After a stellar opening issue, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider returns for round two.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Mark Bagley
Publisher: Marvel Comics
First Read Reactions
- When are people going to learn that guns don’t do much good against a person with spider sense?
- Kaine needs to invest in some skin cream.
- His trolling techniques, however, are in top form.
- Wow. This is incredibly emotional and very confusing—yet somehow it still works.
- Ben’s thing about “Aunt June” is kind of weird, but you can’t deny that it’s at least somewhat endearing.
- YES! Scarlet Spider!
- NO! Scarlet Spider about to die!
Far be it from me to speak for what’s going on inside Peter David’s head, but Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider feels like it might be the most fun he’s ever had writing a character.
With Ben, you’ve got a guy who possesses Peter Parker’s humor, but with a warped, sarcastic edge. There’s compassion and empathy, but that part of him is tempered by an even greater desire for self-preservation. Add in some of the best dialogue combined with even better inner monologues, and you’ve got a character who is virtually guaranteed to always keeps you entertained…and guessing.
As much as I love David’s version of Ben Reilly, however, he also deserves a lot of credit for the way he portrays Kaine, too. I cannot wait to see how things go down when these two inevitably meet.
Art-wise, Bagley is his usual superb self—although the clone degeneration allows him to show off his gore chops a lot more than usual. Bagley also does an excellent job bringing out Ben’s rare moments of humanity, which serves to keep him just a hair shy of being a full-fledged villain.
I do wish the issue’s big reveal didn’t feel so convenient, but I like the way David took the reader’s confusion over what happened and ran it parallel with Ben’s thoughts on the matter, too.
Other than that minor quibble, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider is another superb entry in what has very quickly become one of my favorite books. Whatever your opinion of The Clone Conspiracy is, this title spinning out of it is definitely a good thing.