Monday, September 18, 2017

Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider #7 Review - Marvel Monday

Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider #7

Writer: Peter David
Art Team: Will Sliney, Jason Keith
Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Death Looks Good In Red

I feel like this is a book that doesn't get a whole lot of interest from people who didn't grow up with the ol’ Ben Reilly in the 90’s, unless they’re huge Peter David fanboys.  Ben was a pretty unlikeable character coming out of Clone Conspiracy but something has started to slowly happen over the course of seven issues in this series so far and it's looks like our ol’ pal is starting to turn the corner again.  What in the hell am I talking about? Why don't you jump inside and let me tell you a little story, with Peter David’s help of course, about a clone seeking redemption.

Issue seven picks up directly where our cliffhanger last issue left off, with Kanie lying dead at the feet of Scarlet Spider, after a snap of the fingers from Ms. Marlo Chandler.  Ben tries unsuccessfully to bring his ‘brother’ back before unleashing a verbal assault on Marlo/Death that boils down to “you suck”, for the things that have been happening.  

Death explains how Marlo is used as a host of sorts for when she wants to come check out Earth, before transitioning into a discussion about what intrigues her about Ben Reilly in particular out of everyone else. See Death is intrigued by the fact Ben Reilly has been killed and brought back more than anyone literally ever and even in this superhero game that’s unique, something that shouldn't repeatedly happen.

She takes him on a journey to limbo, a place for souls, revealing if he parishes once more and is somehow brought back again his soul, shown all in all black, will shatter forcing him to descend into literal madness and turn to evil (again). However if he doesn't die, and continues the path of heroism, his soul will begin to repair itself and he will stray further away from the ‘creature’ he was made into by the Jackal. It's all pretty meta stuff, but to me I was looking for a reason to love the character again, a reason for this title to exist, and in just this first arc we’ve seen some beautiful growth so far and I'm really digging it.

They return back to ‘Earth’ and before Marlo vanishes on Ben he demands Death return Kaine and the little girl he been helping back to life. Death states he can only choose one, he counters by saying bring them both back and take him! Death refuses this offer as well which pushes Ben too far after all he's been through, he lashes out possibly at a cosmic entity to lash out at, striking ‘her’ with a huge blow. Then going one step further, I'm talking full Ralphie from Christmas story mode, on Death’s face.  To nobody's surprise Death is a masochist, and instead of striking back at Ben, KISSES him!  

The story concludes as Death fades away, we see Kaine and the little girl both rise from ‘the long sleep’, and that Ben’s face has been FIXED! Quite the beggar's bargain for punching the wish granter in the face if you ask me.

Overall, call me crazy if you’d like, but I enjoyed the living hell out of this issue. If you know me you know I'm a huge fan of action in my books and although there was very little involved in this issue of the series I was glued to the pages from start to finish.  This was just crazy enough of a concept to tie the series together and give it the meaning it needed and Peter David, you magnificent bastard, pulled it off somehow, when it could have easily gone the other way if handled incorrectly.  

Will Sliney is back on art duties for this issue and for possibly for the foreseeable future and I actually enjoyed his stuff a lot more this issue than the previous one.  Maybe it just took a little getting used to or maybe the backgrounds and detail felt a little more at home after getting the first issue in the bag but I'm coming to terms with it lets say.

Bits and Pieces

Scarlet Spider comes out with a crazy issue, that goes about things the right way in repairing the image of one Ben Reilly.  Light on action but heavy on surprises this is a must buy for any long time Scarlet Spider fan or anyone who soured on the character in Clone Conspiracy.



  1. Excellent review. I am glad I didn't force myself to write one too.

  2. I couldn't sleep with that 1 awful score staring me in the face on CBRUp