A series that has thrived on flipping superhero tropes on their head stumbles right into them this month.

Ben Reilly may have held off Kaine for now, but that doesn’t change the fact that he still has to find a way to cure Abigail (after which Kaine will still kill him).

First Read Reactions

  • I don’t know who that guy was, but he certainly did not deserve to be shot just because of how hideous his t-shirt looked.
  • Ben Reilly: Sketchy Doctor and Benevolent Douche Bag.
  • $10 says Kaine and that random girl who just spoke to him end up getting together in a few issues.
  • I have no idea who this character is or what her powers are, but the red hair already makes me a fan.
  • If the people who killed Tupac can drive away from Vegas in a white SUV and not get caught, then so can these guys.
  • Oh good lord…I was really hoping to avoid this type of inner struggle for goodness.
  • $10 says that character is not dead at all.

The Verdict

If you’re going to replace Mark Bagley’s art, then you could do a heck of a lot worse than Will Sliney. He killed it on Spider-Man 2099 and brings the same stellar work to this title.

Unfortunately, Sliney has the dubious honor of taking over art duties on what is by far the series weakest issue.

Anti-hero moral hand-wringing, fake deaths (I could be proven wrong, but I’ll bet $10 I’m not about the one at the end), criminals with no motivation beyond simply being evil, indeterminate/sliding power levels, heroes immediately renouncing declarations they just made the previous issue…all stuff that sometimes makes me want to quit reading superhero comics altogether. Until now, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider had managed to not only avoid many of the genres common and tired tropes, but also delightfully flip them on their heads. This issue, however, feels so “typical” it hurts. If it wasn’t for Peter David’s great dialogue (and Sliney’s aforementioned art), it could have been a lot worse.

Let’s hope this was just a bump in the road and things get back on track in September.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #6
Is it good?
A series that has thrived on flipping superhero tropes on their head stumbles right into them this month.
Sliney does a great job taking the art torch from Bagley.
The dialogue is still (mostly) good.
The story, however, is filled with so many tired superhero tropes that it feels painfully typical.