You-Know-Who is Finally Back in Spider-Man Comics — About a Decade Too Late!

There was a big, huge, super crazy and explosive character twist in the latest issue of the Clone Conspiracy, writer Dan Slott’s latest Spider-Man event comic. This was the sort of reveal that would crack the Internet in half!

Santa Claus is a scientist

Santa Claus is a scientist

And had it happened 10 years ago, I would probably be over the moon. But as it is, I’m mostly meh about the twist. It couldn’t have happened at a more boring time. And I’m filled with little but dread at the future possibilities.

I don’t want to spoil the reveal in case somebody really super cares, so join me after the jump for the real discussion.

The Clone Conspiracy is about the Jackal coming back and cloning a bunch of people from Peter Parker’s life. He claims that they’re not traditional clones, but are instead a special sort of ‘reanimate’, cloned from the tissue of their corpses. The Jackal can call this process whatever he likes, it’s still just a form of cloning. I consider it similar to making a pod person version of someone.

Point is, they’re not the real character back from the dead, which happens in comics all the time.

Anyway, in the latest issue, we find out that the new Jackal isn’t actually Miles Warren, the original Jackal, as we’d been led to believe.

Instead, it’s Ben Reilly, ‘back from the dead’.

Has he been waiting for that color line this whole time?

Has he been waiting for that color line this whole time?

Ben Reilly is huge, especially to me. He’s one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, and I’m pretty sure he’s definitely my brother’s absolute favorite comic book character. So this should be a pretty big deal.

Back in the 90s, when my brother and I were first really getting into comics, the original Clone Saga was our gateway. Spider-Man readers at the time hated the never-ending storyline, but my brother and I were eating it up. We especially loved Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker, and his new superheroic identity, the Scarlet Spider. That stuff was gold.

Red and blue gold!

Red and blue gold!

We even loved it when Ben became the new Spider-Man, letting Peter Parker retire.

But as we all know, Marvel ended the Clone Saga by revealing that Ben was the clone all along, and his clone body crumbled into dead clone cells. At the time, it was pretty heartbreaking, because I loved Ben Reilly.

And had Ben Reilly made some kind of return shortly thereafter, I would have been thrilled!

But it’s been a really, really long time since Ben Reilly died and the Clone Saga was put to rest. What does it matter that he’s suddenly back now? For that matter, it’s not really Ben Reilly, because he’s just another one of these reanimates or pod people. He’s a clone of the original clone who has been programmed with the memories of Ben Reilly.

He's also been waiting to explain the blonde hair thing

He’s also been waiting to explain the blonde hair thing

That’s all well and good, but what does this add to Spider-Man’s ongoing story? In the current pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker is a jet-setting super rich CEO of his own company. But he doesn’t have much of a social life or a domestic life. There’s no girlfriend, no Mary Jane, no group of friends; not much of anything. It’s one of my biggest complaints with Amazing Spider-Man these days.

So what does it matter that this new clone has the memories of Ben Reilly? In what way will he really impact Peter’s life? Peter doesn’t have a life anymore. Who is Ben Reilly as a character? He’s been gone so long that he’s practically a blank slate. It’s not like any of the themes or supporting characters from Ben Reilly’s original life will carry over all these years later.

As much as it pains the younger me to say this, I don’t really care that ‘Ben Reilly’ is back from the dead. He’s just a name now. I guess it’s all going to depend on what Slott even has planned for Ben once all this New U/Clone Conspiracy stuff works itself out. Is he going to stay on as the new Jackal? Will he become a villain? An ally?

And besides, Kaine is much, much cooler as the rough and tumble, still-surviving clone of Peter Parker.

Kaine/Spider-Gwen 'shipping, anyone?

Kaine/Spider-Gwen ‘shipping, anyone?

Let’s hope Slott doesn’t go through with his threat to kill Kaine again.


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on December 9, 2016, in Comics, Marvel, Spider-Man and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ok, look best case scenario is that Ben Reilly stays the new Jackal and becomes Peter Parker’s big supervillain for a long time to come. Jackal becomes the new Green Goblin. New U becomes the new Oscorp. Ben Reilly becomes the new Norman Osborn.

    When Phil Urich came back as the new Hobgoblin, it stunk. But it could have been worse. At least for a while Phil was a decent Spider-Man villain. He was a legit threat and gave Peter a run for his money here and there. That’s more than can be said for most characters in comics these days.

    So Ben Reilly will enjoy a nice month or two at the top of heap. He’ll be a real villain for Peter. He can tempt him with saving Uncle Ben and he can do so with real familial love that they both share. The emotions are real and are able to be accessed for a good story. The shared history and the weight that comes with using the name “Ben Reilly” will only help that.

    It’s not ideal, but I’m still really excited to read a Ben Reilly comic for the first time in years.

    Also can you please hurry up and watch Westworld? You need to fix this post-humanist viewpoint. A person’s a person now matter how their body is made or if their memories were implanted or lived. If you think and feel like a human, then you’re human enough. We gain nothing by discriminating against a group of sentient organisms just because they have to take a pill every day or they melt.

    (Seriously though Westworld is amazing)

    • I have seen Westworld now, and it is amazing.

      But I’m not saying that these reanimates aren’t people. I’m saying that they’re not the people they’ve ostensibly been created to replace. They’re new people with their own lives, thoughts, feelings and whatnot. And that’s all well and good for them. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to love them as much as I loved the characters they replaced.

      I loved Hobie Brown, the Prowler. But this reanimate Prowler isn’t really Hobie Brown. I loved Eric O’Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man. But the LMD that replaced him isn’t really Eric O’Grady. I love Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, and I love Kaine, the Scarlet Spider. But they aren’t Peter Parker.

      I’m with the Kingpin on this. I haven’t been mentioning them in my reviews, but there’s been a subplot that the Jackal tried to lure Kingpin onto his side by reanimating his wife, Vanessa. Kingpin saw through the ruse immediately and killed the new Vanessa, turning him onto a path where he’s aided Spider-Man against the Jackal. These reanimates are not the people they’ve been created to replace. It’s why J. Jonah Jameson, who has embraced his reanimate wife, is being treated like a fool. That’s not really his wife.

      • Ok that’s fair. I agree that if the clones embraced their lives as new people rather than the people they were cloned from, that would be better. Like how the original Ben Reilly clone didn’t try to become Peter Parker.

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