What is happening to one of my favorite titles?

Kaine died last issue. We all know that’s not going to stick, so let’s see how Ben Reilly gets him to come back to life.

First Read Reactions

  • Really, Ben? You’re going with the “If someone kills him it should be me” thing?
  • If you aren’t convinced that the attractive redhead who murdered someone by touching them is the living embodiment of Death, then a quick change into gothic attire accompanied by a hallucinatory thunderstorm should definitely do the trick.
  • For someone who’s not supposed to have a much of a sense of humor, Death is kind of funny.
  • Asking about Death’s relationship with Thanos (and to a lesser extent Deadpool) is perhaps the height of existential awkwardness.
  • Ben Reilly’s soul looks a lot like the bowling balls they use at the alley that’s been in my hometown since a few years after the dawn of time.
  • Punching death = Probably not a good idea…unless the story is actually going to make this work somehow….
  • *sigh*
  • Oh, c’mon. That’s just gross.
  • *sighing intensifies*

The Verdict

Oof. What is happening to one of my favorite titles?

You can’t blame the art. Even a huge Mark Bagley fan like me is enjoying the work the Will Sliney is doing (especially when it’s two-page spreads of Death going full on goth-spectacular).

As far as the writing goes, Peter David is still giving Ben Reilly a load of great lines. Unfortunately, the narrative surrounding his dialogue has dropped off precipitously in the last couple issues. In this one, we get a gigantic amount of exposition concluded by one of the most simultaneously gross and eye roll-inducing resolutions you could imagine. The only thing surprising about any of the issue’s reveals is how painfully telegraphed they were. Aside from a cool moment regarding the how fractured Ben’s soul is (and why), the issue is one long slog toward an inevitable (and uninteresting) conclusion.

Thankfully, the issue also hints at things shifting to a new dynamic, which hopefully means that David can change course and right the series back to the brilliance of the first five issues.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #7
Is it good?
The art is still great, but the series has taken a severe nosedive from the brilliance of its first five issues.
Will Sliney's art is still good.
Ben Reilly still has some great lines.
Unfortunately, the narrative surrounding the dialogue has become predictable and uninteresting.
A gigantic amount of exposition concluded by one of the most simultaneously gross and eye roll-inducing resolutions you could imagine
3
Meh