Monday, August 28, 2017

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #6 Review - Marvel Monday

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #6

Writer: Peter David
Art Team: Will Sliney
Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 23, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Death Blows

Well I would like to issue a formal apology for the abrupt and very short Marvel Monday last week I ran into some severe Internet related issues. So I'm back this week with a little extra effort review wise championing one of my favorite semi-heroes Ben Reilly.  Why do I like this shady guy to begin with? Is it the hoody? Well to be honest mostly for 10 year old me deep inside yes, but I like my heroes with baggage too, and Ben has plenty.  So let's check in on our blue hoodied friend in issue six accompanied by an art change.

The issue starts off with some redneck dirtbags driving through the streets of Vegas, who are killing random citizens on the streets … sure he’s poorly dressed but he didn't deserve to die.  Next to our victim we see a mysterious redhead who looks a lot like Mary Jane who we will discover more about later.

Checking in on our title character Ben, he's administering a serum he's worked up on Abigail, the little girl he's trying to save, before taking a quick break for some fresh air. Across town Kaine gets a bowl of soup (what is he Jim Warner eating soup during summer) and meets a new acquaintance at the local eatery. Kaine eventually swings off and decides allowing this Ben time to betray him is against his better judgement and suddenly feels the need to check in on Ben’s progress.

While getting air, Ben runs into our mysterious redhead from the beginning of the story, and we discover its Marlo Chandler-Jones, Rick Jones wife.  Marlo has a quite unique power set and has been a known host of Death. Her commonly displayed powers include the ability to communicate with the dead and at times she displays the ability to raise the dead. The two characters have a chat with Marlo revealing she knows Ben’s double identity totally taking him off guard.

Outside Ben and Marlo approach a nearby cop after another shooting occurred in the area. Marlo, now showing she is capable of using powers of persuasion as well, is able to get some info from our boy in blue, giving the two a lead that connects the rednecks from the beginning of the story to this death as well. Scarlet Spider has had enough and taking the info from Marlo and goes after the sickos.

Back at the casino Abigail starts suffering from effects of the serum shes administered looking like she's on death's door.  Ironically Kaine checks in on these events as they are conveniently occurring leading him to conclude it's time to take out Ben once and for all.

Our issue starts its conclusion with the Scarlet Spider confronting the group driving around responsible for the senseless murders on the Vegas strip.  He saves a mother and child from the rath of these killers and starts a fight in the street with these bad guys.  Things get sloppy, but he prevails in stopping the dirtbags, however doesn't kill them after the mother pleads for him not to do so, despite suffering injuries at the hands of these crazies.

The issue concludes with Scarlet Spider rattled from these events below when hes suddenly confronted by Marlo on a nearby rooftop.  Kaine comes flying in interrupting their ‘important’ conversation, which appears to piss Marlo off, as she puts a stop to Kaines shenanigans quickly possibly killing him in the process, which is the cliffhanger reveal for this issue.

Overall this issue, story wise, finds itself in some interesting territory. The introduction of Marlo to the events occurring is a welcome new addition. With Marlo taking some focus this story, and her powers on full display, nobody dieing has much of an effect at this moment, since she could possibly bring them back, but I want to see where this all goes, it just interesting to me. Kaine is still hanging around with the same motivations which is getting tiring though after being addressed and having such a quick change of heart. Good effort overall by Peter David though.  

The huge downer for me this issue however is the change artistically. Will Sliney takes over for Mark Bagley and my disappointment level couldn't be higher. Sliney's characters look entirely too stiff compared to the previous renderings of them and nothing, including the words and letters layered on the art, looks fluent or like its ever moved. This art really affected my enjoyment of this issue as a whole so I hope Sliney isn't around long term its just not for me.

Bits and Pieces

Issue six takes some time to introduce some new story elements while recapping what's gone on in the series so far for newer readers.  While David does a nice job of weaving an effective narrative this month Sliney taking over art duties is a bummer especially transitioning from Bagley to kick this series off.


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