Superhero Spotlight: Ben Reilly

By Andrew Agney

aagney@lc.edu

 

There are a lot of superheroes that appear in comic books, some of them have gotten a time in the limelight with the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there are still quite a few that have not been shown any love as of recent. Superheroes such as Spider-Man. No, not Peter Parker; everyone knows that Spider-Man. There was another Spider-Man, introduced in the 90s named Ben Reilly. 

Reilly was the focal point of a story arc called “The Clone Saga” where many clones of Peter Parker were walking around New York, and after almost all of them were taken care of in one way or another, it just left Parker and Reilly to contemplate who the original was; and when Parker started to lose his spider powers, it had seemed pretty clear that Reilly was the original person, so he took up the Spider-Man mantle and became New York’s defender. Eventually though, Parker’s powers returned and it was revealed that Reilly was the clone, so he returned the mantle to Parker but continued on being a superhero under the new alias of “The Scarlet Spider”.

Some of you may recognize this character from the Spider-Man animated series, where he appears in the series finale alongside a team of Spider-Men from alternate universes. Or you might recognize his red suit with blue hoodie costume from the recent PlayStation 4 game “Marvel’s Spider-Man”.

Since then, Reilly has been trying to distance himself from the original Parker, which led to him choosing the name Ben Reilly, a name that comes from a mix of Uncle Ben’s first name and Aunt May’s maiden name, and moving out of New York. He has had his own adventures as the Scarlet Spider, including a brief period where he was taken over by the Carnage symbionts and was referred to as “Spider-Carnage”; a period where he was driven insane by the prospect of being immortal as a result of his mind being moved to a new clone body every time he dies; he became a villain called “The Jackal”; and he sacrificed himself during the story arc “Spider-Geddon” where he dies once more to save the rest of the Spider-Verse. Currently, he has returned to his title of Scarlet Spider and works as an anti-hero vigilante located in Las Vegas.

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