Did you miss the classic 1990’s hoodie? Well strap in, boys and girls, because it’s making a comeback! Let’s just hope Ben Reilly survives his new job long enough to get to wear it.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #3
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Mark Bagley
Publisher: Marvel Comics


First Read Reactions

  • Maybe that person I argued with in the comments last month was right: Ben Reilly is pretty damn ruthless.
  • Kaine vs. Inept Assassins: Who ya got?
  • It’s never a good thing when your new boss decides to go all Belko Experiment on you with an exploding tracker.
  • Yikes. Hard for me to counter Monkey Tennis’ arguments about Ben Reilly being irredeemable when he’s STILL shaking down a rescue victim for money.
  • I don’t care how good your costume looks—if you aren’t webslinging, then you aren’t a true spider person.
  • (That being said, those costumes do look amazing).
  • Apparently, people take Las Vegas’ “What Happens Here Stays Here” motto a bit too literally.
  • HA! Take that Monkey Tennis! Ben Reilly to the freaking rescue!
  • “I need more quarters.”
  • Now THAT’s how you do a costume switch.

The Verdict

Whether you believe Marvel or not that it was always the plan to revert Ben Reilly to his classic threads (hint: it totally wasn’t the plan at all), Peter David manages to get Reilly into his old costume in one of the most brilliant ways imaginable.

Not only does he bluntly/directly address fans’ misgivings about the new costume, but he also uses Reilly’s method of regaining his classic look as yet another way to reaffirm the character’s off kilter psychology.

And speaking of psychology, I’d like to point out to Monkey Tennis that Reilly did show a great deal of humanity and concern for other people this issue. Was it shaded against multiple other examples of evil and self-centeredness? Of course! But that’s part of what makes this character so interesting.

Now I’ll fully acknowledge that my enjoyment of this series appears (so far at least) to be skewing quite a bit higher than my other fellow comic critics. But there’s something about reading a morally deficient version of Peter Parker who still has Peter Parker’s personality—especially when he’s being written by Peter David. But beyond the fantastic character work, we’re also getting a highly enjoyable and engrossing tale of revenge and redemption. Add in Kaine’s involvement (another one of my favorite spider characters), and it’s hard for me to see how any 90’s kid or spider fan could not love this book.

As far as the costume goes, I’ve never been a big fan of the Ben Reilly hoodie (blasphemy, I know), but it’s definitely better than the weird Spidercide ripoff we started off with. To be fair, though, either costume would have looked good with Bagley drawing it. It’s a real treat getting to see the artist not only render some classic Spidey looks, but also go to town on an issue that features a lot of kinetically charged action scenes.

About the only thing I didn’t like was how easily Kaine’s predicament from last issue was resolved—and how we never heard from him again afterward. I understand that there’s limited space in a single issue, but his absences from the narrative was still disappointing.

Other than that, though, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #3 is yet another home run for the young title. We all knew the creative team was good going in, but I had no idea I’d enjoy it this much—or that it would be this snobbish indie lover’s favorite new book so far of 2017.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #3
Is it good?
Whether you believe Marvel or not that it was always the plan to revert Ben Reilly to his classic threads, Peter David manages to get the character back into his old costume in one of the most brilliant ways imaginable.
Not only does he bluntly/directly address fans’ misgivings about the new costume, but he also uses Reilly’s method of regaining his classic look as yet another way to reaffirm the characters’ off kilter psychology.
No matter what costumed we ended up with, it was always going to look great with Bagley on art duties.
In addition to the fantastic character work, we’re also getting a highly enjoyable and engrossing tale of revenge and redemption.
The resolution of Kaine's predicament from last issue (and his subsequent absence from the narrative) felt a little too easy.
9
Great