See all reviews of Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider (8)

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

  • I think I may differ from you in that I genuinely hope that Reilly
    regains his sanity… perhaps a clash between himself and Kaine will be a
    way to metaphorically and literally bang their heads together.

    I
    don’t think that given where he started out, he should just magically
    become an all-out good guy again, I think emergence into the light
    should be fought for and hard won.

    However what drew me to Reilly
    in the 90’s (before the ill-conceived and ill-fated swithcheroo…
    which in retrospect of the later, OMD should be seen for exactly what it
    was – an attempt to reset Spidey as a singleton), was the idea that he
    essentially had all the values of Spider-Man… and yet was having to
    emerge from his shadow and define himself as something and somebody new.
    As well as this, there was this sense that he had all of the powers,
    all of the sense of responsibility… but none of the perks.

    He
    was the guy who was out in the cold… always having to look in on Aunt
    May and also Peter’s marriage to MJ from the outside, despite feeling a
    connection to both. I think that is something that we can all associate
    with… the idea of being the “nearly man”, the man that could have had
    it all if it weren’t for the fact that a person no better than you,
    beat you to it by sole virtue of getting their first. We all know that
    frustration at some point.

    I feel that Reilly’s psychology may
    be very slowly gravitating away from his insanity (but it’s a long road
    and it is being treated in a very mature and organic way by the
    writers).

    When Kaine and Reilly collide it will be really
    interesting. Kaine’s projecting and Reilly is showing some of the
    twisted elements that Kaine exhibited in the 90’s… this could lead to
    both of them having a big moment of self-realisation (after punching one
    another up of course).

    I’m going to be even more interested in Reilly if he snaps out of his current state and has to look back with remorse.

    • cyborgspider

      Well put, but I think the Spider-Office just wanted their own Deadpool version of Spidey and figured Ben had enough of a following & history to maintain reader interest and a solo book. Not sure they sensed the nuance that you eloquently referenced.

      I like Kaine and his no-nonsense gruff… for a minute there I thought this book was going to be about him, despite the title of “Ben Reilly”. HE was going to be the hero and the conscience for Ben, since Peter is off gallivanting around the world. If Peter David is able to integrate both characters in the title, essentially giving us TWO Scarlet Spiders for the price of one, it’s gonna continue to be a must-buy for 90s kids like me.

      P.S. please Funko Pop put out a Kaine Scarlet Spider figure to join my Hoodie Scarlet Spider…