Monday, May 1, 2017

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 Review - Marvel Monday

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 Review

Writer: Peter David
Art Team: Mark Bagley, John Dell, Jason Keith
Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 26, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Public Service Announcement: Wear Underwear While Cosplaying

Did you thoroughly enjoy the latest ‘Spider-Event’ Clone Conspiracy?  Well Marvel thinks that enough of you have to warrant a fresh spin off series about the so-called ‘villain’ Ben Reilly, aka the new Jackal, akka the Scarlet Spider.  So just what do the cards hold for the Scarlet Spider and what the hell does this new #1 issue reveal going forward about this 90’s lightening rod of a character.  Swing on inside and join me as I reveal all.

Issue starts in typical ‘Spider-Manesque’ fashion as Ben is, in a fresh pair of duds, looking out over what first appears to be the New York Skyline, since he’s perched atop the Statue of Liberty.  As we progress through the first act the reader is filled in on the exact setting (Las Vegas, NV) and finer points of this new Ben Reilly’s conflicted personally.  Our title character can range from coming off as a heroic, to truly being a dirt bag, all while driving himself crazy talking and arguing with past versions of ‘himself’. For example in just the first few pages its revealed he stole this new costume of a cosplayer leaving him ‘Naked & Afraid’ in a bathroom, while arguing with himself in the Las Vegas sky, all before rushing off to help a lady being robbed.  Quite the nutso start to a book if you ask me but Peter David pulls it off magically and with a little comedic flair to boot!

When Ben gets down to the crime scene he finds just a run of the mill robber, mush to his dismay, with a knife holding up a woman. After making a few ‘smart’ comments about the robbery at hand Scarlet Spider knocks out the real bad guy quickly taking his gun then shooting the bad guy in the knee after doubting Ben’s ruthlessness.  Ben chats with his rescued victim before requesting a donation for his efforts … so yeah this Scarlet Spider isn’t exactly your run of the mill hero despite the occasional display heroism. 

Checking in on Dr. Rita in San Francisco approaching her car before being taken by surprise by the Jackal? Although Rita is initially excited to see who she thinks is Ben she quickly realizes something is off when before long the beans are spilled and its revealed when the mask comes off this version of Jackal is really Kaine in disguise looking for Rita to tell him Bens whereabouts continuing a thread from the end of the Clone Conspiracy event book.

The final act flashes back to Ben in a hotel talking and arguing with himself again this time as the Jackal persona. As the debate rages about whether or not the moves Ben’s been making have actually been right or wrong we again get the sense this is someone who struggles with these type of decisions on a daily basis really highlighting an internal struggle within the character which give the book a unique spin that I really enjoy.

Ben decides he needs a change of scenery and walks into the Mercury Rising Casino owned by a very rich lady named Cassandra Mercury.  Through a series of coincidental events Ben ends up crossing paths with Cassandra to end our issue, who we discover isn’t too happy with Ben and his clone experiments and the effects it had on her daughter, as she pulls a gun on the Scarlet Spider right before our issue comes to a conclusion.  

I didn’t know what I expected from this title going in, admittedly I was willing to try it out based on past enjoyment of Ben Reilly but I didn’t have high expectations to be honest. However whatever Peter David is dishing up here, in the pages of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider, I love every page of it so far, appreciate the risk in trying to establish the character again in such a way.  This book truly took me by surprise from the story decisions, to character interactions, all the way through the amazing art bag done by Mark Bagley and company so if you’re a fan of the Spider family lineup of books in any way in my humble opinion this title deserves a shot. 

Bits and Pieces

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider was my surprise title of the week as I really appreciated the journey Peter David has begun going in a very non-traditional direction not normally seen in mainstream super hero comic books.  Mark Bagley on art duties doesn’t hurt matter either making this title an easy recommendation especially for long time Ben Reilly fan boys.


1 comment:

  1. Sweet I'm buying this tomorrow! Love when Peter David is on his game.