Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 (Marvel)

CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 3.5/5 – Scarlet Spider is a Bit Too Much Like Deadpool Here.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

I still have not read the ending of the Clone Conspiracy, it’s in my ever growing pile to read, but that didn’t stop me from reading and understanding everything that’s going on in the first issue of Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider. Ben Reilly is headlining his own book, differently from when he has in the past. Ben Reilly used to be a force for good as a clone with all the memories of Peter Parker. He was a conflicted hero. During the Clone Conspiracy he was not. And now…he’s something else completely.

Writer Peter David is portraying Ben Reilly in this series as a fractured anti-hero. Throughout this first issue, Ben can be seen arguing with two personas. The hero he once was back in the early 2000s, and the Jackal character we saw most recently. While these two characters drive much of the story, the “real” Ben is struggling to identify himself and so far is a sarcastic and unlikable hero. For example, Ben is now living in Las Vegas and during a Casino visit, he looks for a replacement Aunt May. So he calls an older woman sitting at the slots “Aunt June”. It’s an odd scene that seems like it came out of a Deadpool book, which isn’t what I’m looking to read, but I know many others would. He’s sarcastic, he’s rude, and in his most heroic moment of the book, he comes off as a jerk.  On the art, Mark Bagley looks better than he has in a while, most likely since he’s been doing the X-Men book with a larger cast and has been getting a lot of drawing in.

I can appreciate that Peter David is trying to make Ben different from Peter, but after this first issue I’m not sure this is a character I want to read more about. Here, he’s able to focus on just a few characters so his art looks great. As a side note, Ben now has a severely disfigured face, which makes me think of Deadpool even more. I’m willing to give David and Bagley a chance here since I enjoy most of their work, but based solely on this 1st issue, I’m not that confident this series will stay on my pull list.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
) By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics

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