BEN REILLY: THE SCARLET SPIDER #6
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Colorists: Jason Keith
Letterers: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Mark Bagley, John Dell & Jason Keith
Release Date: 08/23/17
Rating: Rated T
Professor Miles Warren, the supervillain named the Jackal and master Geneticist who specialized in cloning has harbored a longtime obsession with his student Gwen Stacey and her boyfriend Peter Parker. Warren blamed Spider-Man for Gwen’s stacey and cloned Peter to ruin his life. The first Clone, now known as Kaine Parker was imperfect, but the next clone now known as Ben Reilly who was also known as the Scarlet Spider was such a success. He was such a success that for a while both Peter and Ben thought him to be the true Peter Parker until a battle with Norman Osborn ended with Ben decomposing into a pile of goo.
Professor Warren improved his cloning process and used some of the goo remains of Ben Reilly’s body to create a new clone with all the memories of the previous right up until the moment of death. Warren continued to kill and clone Reilly until he broke free and turned the tables on Warren. Reilly cloned Warren, and never told him which one was the true Warren which were the clones making each dependent on the drug they need to stay from decomposing.
Ben Reilly assumed the the mantle of Professor Warren making the real professor and his dupes to work for him. Reilly set out to bring back all the people Peter Parker had “failed” during his career as Spider-Man under his new company New U Pharmaceuticals. Using a dangerous new cloning process that required the clones to take a pill a day or face decomposing. During a confrontation with the revived Doctor Octopus, Doc Ock released a frequency that threatened to release the Carrion virus to clone and humans alike.
Ben and Doc Ock both made it out, with Otto transferring his consciousness into a new clone body free of the need for the daily medication. Ben came out with the scars of the Carrion Virus, and headed for Las Vegas where he is staying at Mercury Rising Casino, and working for Cassandra Mercury to save her daughter Abigail from her rare deadly Crooks Disease. After Kaine tracked him down, Ben managed to convince him to let him live and help the young girl.
Plot: Ben tries a treatment on Abigail as someone is killed in a drive-by, which brings him into contact with Mrs. Rick Jones, Marlo Chandler-Jones, who seems to now have special abilities of her own, and seeks Ben to be a hero.
Story: The issue starts off with what looks to be any other day in Las Vegas, except there is a drive-by shooting that turns out to be two young guys who are just bored so they go around shooting people. This is observed by a woman with red hair, right away we know she will run into Ben, I mean, come on, redheads and Spider-Men are as much a given as webshooters and Spider-Men.
Ben is in the Mercury Rising Casino where he has developed a new vaccine that should help slow down the effects of Crooks Disease (yeah the irony of that name didn’t get past me), but could also kill her if his calculations were even a bit off. I love it when a Parker can show off their brain, I mean remember, they are intelligent, the Parkers aren’t dumb despite how recent comics have portrayed them yeah, I’m looking at you Amazing Spider-Man. With the treatment given Ben goes for a walk in the Casino, where he runs into Marlo Chandler-Jones, the wife of Hulk’s buddy Rick Jones, who he recognizes from her talk show Keeping Up With The Joneses. But more surprisingly, she knows he is Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider!
Meanwhile Kaine is still in Vegas after his run in with Ben previously and meets a female vet or mistakes (and he plays along) Kaine as a vet also, and tells him about a shelter for vets. After this Kaine realizes he needs to go check on Ben and kill him, because he can’t let him poke around the little girl with false hopes. Kaine sees what appears to be the death of Abigail and goes to find Ben. I am not sure how this scene really worked, I am tired of seeing Kaine & Ben going at it, this is a never ending cycle, get a new record, this one is broken.
Ben and Marlo go for a walk where she tells him all about the men including the make, color, model, and license plate to their car. Scarlet Spider arrives in time to save a woman, and her child who were randomly picked by the two to be killed. Ben struggles with wanting to kill the two, but after a plea from the young mother, he webs them up outside the police station. I like that he is struggling between being a hero and taking it to the next level by handing out punishment as well. I would rather have this have been something he decided on his own, with maybe the words of Uncle Ben echoing in his ears, especially with him linking his emotions to them to that fateful night.
Having made his way to a rooftop where he is contemplating his decisions, Ben is met with Marlo, and Kaine. When Kaine decided he is going to kill Ben, Marlo uses her Death Wish and Kaine is laying there on the roof, dead. I was wondering if she would still have her Death Wish powers, that she got from being possessed by the Mistress Death a long time ago. I loved that Peter David revisited one of his creations and used her here, again also a nice touch to have a red head be there for this spider. But I am not sure about Kaine’s death, I am hoping it doesn’t stick, or he is still in possession of the Other.
Art: The art here for the most part is pretty solid. Now I say most part because there are parts where you can’t tell Ben and Kaine apart, which is acceptable since they are both Peter Parker clones, and both have the Carrion Virus in their system that left them scarred up. This could have been fixed by making their scarring being a bit more distinctive, or how about Ben going back to being a blonde? But I really hope, somehow, someway we can get them both healed from the Carrion Virus and have regular faces again.
I love the way Marlo is drawn, every time I saw her she looked had this air of mystery about her, a presence that was executed perfectly from the art alone. She also had this beautiful appearance where I could see Ben and her becoming the new Peter and M.J. with this crime fighting twist.
Verdict: Overall, this book was a pretty good read. I think this is the turning point where I can see now that Ben is on that road of becoming a hero again. I am not sure about the supernatural friend in Marlo, it could succeed, or it could bomb like Kaine and his supernatural friend Hummingbird. But the book has me interested in seeing the fate of Kaine, who I hope survives, please let him get back the Other!
Star Rating: 4 Stars
- Tags: Abigail Mercury, Ben Parker, Ben Reilly, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #6, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #6 Review, Cassandra Mercury, Crooks Disease, death, Death Wish, Jason Keith, Joe Caramagna, John Dell, Kaine Parker, Keeping Up With The Joneses, Mark Bagley, Marlo Chandler, Marlo Chandler-Jones, Marvel Now, Marvel Report, Marvel Report Review, Mercury Rising, Mistress Death, Peter David, Rick Jones, Scarlet Spider, Spider-Man, Uncle Ben, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Will Sliney