Roar of the Month
PETER DAVID for Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider
Ok, so BLUF: I’m a web-head through and through. All Spidey all day. Love it. There’s rarely a thing about the books I don’t care for. Sure, it’s not all wonderful and I know that there’s plenty that I “enjoy” simply because I’m a Spidey homer. Got it. Also, don’t care. I’m unashamedly a lover of damn near everything Spidey.
Now, ‘ol Pete (and the various other web-slinging types) have had PLENTY tossed at them as well as more than a few poo clouds raining down. The late 90’s and early 2000’s were particularly horrid. Thankfully for me I missed most of that due to where I was and what was going on in my life at the time. It’s as if the absolute worst part of Spidey’s history simply didn’t happen. I get to read on (not that I’ve agreed with the choices 100% the last 6yrs or so) and enjoy. One of the things I’ve found myself liking quite a bit is the Scarlet Spider. I’ve always liked the character.
Why? Why have I always liked him? Well, for starters he’s the original clone. He’s the hard luck, perpetually rained on, it just never goes right, and well down right perfect clone of Pete. He’s also the one that has had the most redeeming qualities about him, just like Pete. I mean, right when I had to jump off of things it was ‘ol Ben that was trusted with the Spidey totem as Pete and MJ tried to make little Spideys. Fast forward to today, and Peter David is delivering the true to form “are you kidding me” element of the ‘ol Spidey world that Pete (and Ben) have enjoyed in perpetuity. That, and he’s the “if Pete kept his conscious but did what he thought was necessary” as opposed to Kaine being the “if Pete were Frank Castle.” Sure, there’s the whole coming back as the new Jackal and trying to replace everyone with clones bit … but that brings about why I’m giving Peter David the Roar of the Month.
What Mr David has given us is Ben living the Spidey formula. Searching for the right thing while finding a way to learn and grow. He wants to live a “human” life. He wants to be a hero. He wants to be good. He still understands that in order to do so he may have to make decisions and take actions that seem contradictory to those desires. Ben uses his admittedly ultra bad recent past (as the Jackal) to make a trade to help save a dying little girl. Kaine pops up and Ben has to convince him he’s really trying to be a do-gooder. Then what happens? DEATH shows up with a keen eye for Ben (because you know, he’s THE Peter clone) and how he’s come back so many times. She’s genuinely interested in Ben. I mean COME ON … LADY DEATH. Oh by the way she let’s him know that he’s died so many times (and come back) that his soul is actually corrupted because why the hell not? Ben is on his last chance in life as another resurrection will most likely do irreparable spiritual damage. FANTASTIC! Gotta love that Parker luck! All settled up after entering a deal with DEATH we get the SLINGERS! But of course, one of them is actually Cyber and one is a demon possessing the Black Marvel because now we’ve got Dr Strange’s “fixing” of Las Vegas (where Ben currently is) actually releasing a hotel from hell run by Mephisto ….
… yeah, it’s got every element of “Spidey” and “Pete” all wrapped up nicely. We’ve got characters that have no business being in a Spidey book (Death, Mephisto) as well as some classic types in the Slingers. It’s all street level that, of course, isn’t at all. It’s damn good fun and PETER DAVID has done a great job.
PETER DAVID: ROAR OF THE MONTH – APRIL 2018