Ben Urich

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Ben Urich
BenUrich.png
Ben Urich.
Art by Alex Maleev
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daredevil #153
(July 1978)
Created by Roger McKenzie
Gene Colan
In-story information
Full name Benjamin Urich
Team affiliations Front Line
Daily Bugle
Supporting character of Daredevil
Spider-Man

Ben Urich is a Marvel Comics character, usually appearing in comic books featuring Daredevil and Spider-Man. Created by Roger McKenzie and Gene Colan, he first appeared in Daredevil #153 (July 1978).

Urich is a chain-smoking, tough-as-nails investigative journalist for the New York newspaper The Daily Bugle. Urich deduced the secret identity of Daredevil and has used him as a source of information and vice versa. To a lesser extent, he has a similar relationship with Spider-Man, whose alter ego Peter Parker was a photographer for the Bugle who occasionally accompanied Urich on assignments. Urich has used these connections to expose supervillains posing as businessmen including Kingpin and Green Goblin.

Publication history[edit]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Urich first appeared in Daredevil stories, where he investigated Wilson Fisk, a businessman who was secretly the Kingpin, the head of the New York mafia.

Urich plays a vital behind-the-scenes role in the Punisher limited series Circle of Blood (drawn by Mike Zeck). When a younger, less experienced Punisher mistakenly believes his quest of killing the Kingpin is over, he leaves a message for Urich. The resulting story results in the murders of several mafia men and the deaths of many innocent people, teaching the entire community how vital Kingpin unfortunately is.

Ben learns the secret of Daredevil's identity but refuses to divulge it. He is drawn into the circle of revenge the Kingpin has planned for Daredevil. Ben tries to overcome the intimidation but the threats come closer to home. His fingers are broken and he hears the death of a witness over the phone. His courage crumbles but he rallies back. His wife is nearly killed. The would-be hit-woman turns states evidence and Ben and several allies go to interview her. However, one his self-proclaimed 'entourage' and a prison guard turn out to be Kingpin assassins. . Ben defeats one by a severe pistol whipping. The witness is killed. Kingpin uses a super-powered assassin, Nuke, to try to take out all his enemies. This fails. [1] Urich uses public support to destroy the Kingpin's empire.[2]

Urich later takes on another criminal businessman, Norman Osborn, commonly known as the Green Goblin. After Osborn's presumed death, Urich writes an expose book on the man's many crimes, title 'Legacy of Evil'. During the course of research for the book, Ben helps Spider-Man and the Molten Man save Liz Allan's son from kidnappers who resembled the Green Goblin. His research helped the trio go through the Goblin's history and eventually discover what had really gone on.[3] When Norman returns from the dead (or rather, Europe) he was able to discredit Urich and the book, going through great effort to clear his name.

Ben becomes colleagues with his nephew Phil Urich. Though unsure at first, Phil proves to be a skilled investigator. Though his worklife is professional, his personal life is in shambles, causing both him and Ben to become endangered. [4]

During the period where Daredevil's identity was exposed in print, Ben refused to confirm it to J. Jonah Jameson on the principle of protecting his sources and his status at work suffered for it. However, Jameson was able to move beyond that argument when he assigned Ben to the new supplement, The Pulse. During this assignment he reveals to Peter Parker that he knows his identity as Spider-Man. It is also around this time that Matt Murdock sets up a meeting with Ben to privately announce that he is ending their professional relationship to avoid anyone else discovering this connection and using Ben to get to Murdock.[5]

Ben Urich turned out to be right when he originally exposed the Green Goblin, as Daily Bugle research would show, and conclusively when the Green Goblin was publicly unmasked by Luke Cage and sent to jail. Plans for a re-release of Legacy of Evil were discussed at that point; however, nothing further has yet been mentioned in any subsequent story arc of any title. Although the Green Goblin is currently at large again, he can no longer walk around free as he was before.

Later, Ben was approached by the Kingpin to act as journalist covering the Kingpin brokering a deal with the FBI for release and reinstatement of his wealth, in exchange for proof that Daredevil is in fact Matt Murdock. To Ben's horror, he was the one that was forced to lead the FBI to Daredevil's location. Matt Murdock was recovering at the Night Nurse's clinic, of which Ben Urich knew the location (he had written an article on her), and he was forced to give that information to the FBI, thanks to the manipulation of the Kingpin.

Civil War[edit]

During Marvel's summer crossover event Civil War, Ben is one of the main characters in Civil War: Front Line, covering Iron Man's side as an embedded journalist on behalf of the Bugle. However, his neutrality is called into question after a confrontation with the Green Goblin, who was supposed to be in prison at the time but had been secretly released as part of one of Iron Man's plans. After insisting to J. Jonah Jameson that it was him, Ben is fired.

In Civil War: Front Line #4, Ben reveals to his friend Sally Floyd, that seeing the Silver Surfer during the alien's first visit to earth causes him to realize that mankind is not alone in the universe. This drove him into alcoholism for about a year.

In the end of Civil War: Front Lines, Ben leaves the Daily Bugle, with Jameson's blessing and understanding, and forms the online newspaper Frontlines.com with Sally Floyd. They later form the print newspaper Front Line.

World War Hulk[edit]

During Marvel's next crossover event World War Hulk, Ben and Sally, in their capacity as the new editorial staff of Front Line, are two of the few reporters who cover the alien invasion in close proximity. At times, too close as they end up dodging live fire to get 'soldier on the street' interviews. During the course of those events, Sally Floyd learns that Daily Bugle editor Jonah Jameson was the mysterious financial backer of the publication, a fact which they agreed to hide from Urich, lest it kill his spirit.[6]

Ben Urich tries to uncover the identity of the Red Hulk. He works with She-Hulk and Peter Parker. They investigate a former SHIELD base and almost perish in a terrorist explosion. Red Hulk appears before Urich and threatens to destroy those he works with if the story ever sees print.[7]

Secret Invasion[edit]

During the invasion, Ben was covering a story in a local hospital, only to be trapped inside during the Skrull attacks. He survives, though a new-found nurse friend and all the others inside are killed by rampaging Skrulls. Ben and many other human refugees make their way to Stark Tower, though few are aware a human-hunting Skrull with a large body count hides within. The Skrull perishes via human trickery. Ben and one of the Stark Tower survivors, a young girl, wander the city. The duo witness the climatic battle against the Skrulls in Central Park.[8]

He finds out after the invasion ends, that his wife has died; the exact manner is left unclear. He hits both an incredible depression and writer's block. After taking some time off, and seeing the city begin to recover, starts to recover himself. However, he then gets word of Norman Osborn's rise to power, and confronts him at the press conference announcing the control of the Thunderbolts Initiative over S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, and confronts Osborn on his past, only to get brushed off by Osborn, and the crowd around cheering for Osborn. This ultimately breaks Urich's writers block, prompting him to write his return article: "Dark Reign: Norman Osborn Takes Control".[9]

Siege[edit]

Following a superpowered disaster in Chicago, Ben teams up with his old friend Bill Stern, a disgraced former news reporter who rescues him from police custody. By coincidence they find Volstagg of the Warriors Three, who was involved in the disaster. The trio travels to Oklahoma, intent on covering Osborn's Siege of Asgard. All three end up separating and encountering each other again and again, due to Osborn's attacks on Asgard. Ben is almost eaten by the current version of Venom during a press junket near the battle itself. Volstagg saves Ben and Bill from the explosive effects of the HAMMER helicarrier crashing down. All three work to save and evacuate Asgardians with Ben leading the effort. Ben sees the heroes defeat the menace of the Sentry's alter-ego the Void. When Norman Osborn tries to escape, Volstagg captures him with a knock-out blow. Ben and Bill return to New York as colleagues while Volstagg works at Soldier Field to rebuild.[10]

Shadowland[edit]

In Shadowland storyline, Ben is forced by gang members to write about Bullseye's funeral. He manages to leave his notebook in Essex County Morgue. Daredevil finds it and leads a rescue mission. The funeral service is interrupted by Daredevil and the Hand, as a massive brawl breaks out, almost killing Ben.[11] Ben becomes involved with the return of the Punisher, who literally fell into the care of Norah, one of his employees.[12]

Other versions[edit]

Daredevil: End of Days[edit]

The miniseries Daredevil: End of Days recounts an older Ben Urich investigating the death of Matt Murdoch and the emergence of a new Daredevil. [13]

House Of M[edit]

In the House of M reality, the Daily Bugle is a propaganda machine for the ruling mutant class. Urich is seen encouraging fellow reporter Kat Farrell to write what the people in charge want.[14]

MC2[edit]

Although Ben's nephew Phil Urich, is active in the MC2 reality, Ben is not shown. However, Felicity Hardy is seen reading a book entitled His Name was Spider-Man, written by Ben.

Marvel Noir[edit]

The story is set in 1933. Urich is a substance abusing reporter who is blackmailing Norman Osborn for money to feed his drug habit. He takes under his wing the social activist Peter Parker, whose youthful idealism contrasts his jaded cynicism.[15] During the course of the story, he "takes back control of his life" by giving Osborn's files to Felicia Hardy. He is shot dead by the Chameleon (impersonating J. Jonah Jameson).

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Ultimate Ben Urich.

In Ultimate Marvel continuity, Ben Urich is a somewhat younger top reporter at the Daily Bugle who works with Peter Parker. Parker, as Spider-Man, sometimes feeds him information. He wrote a series of articles that took down Kingpin and received a book deal because of the project. He submitted incriminating evidence on the Kingpin to court (given to him by Peter Parker), and Kingpin had to leave the country. He was attacked by a vampire in Ultimate Spider-Man #95; as of Issue #96, however, Morbius appears to have cured his potential vampirism.[16]

Ben Urich is later seen as part of a round-table Bugle employee discussion on the secret identity of the new Spider-Man. [17]

In other media[edit]

Films[edit]

  • Ben Urich appeared in the 2003 Daredevil feature film, played by Joe Pantoliano. In the film, he works for the New York Post, as the rights to the Bugle were tied to the Spider-Man films. He discovers Daredevil's secret identity during his investigations (Urich is one of the few people who believe Daredevil to be anything other than an urban myth). But when faced with the possibility of printing the story, he decides not to publish it, realizing that Daredevil does a great deal of good in the city.

Video games[edit]

Novels[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daredevil" #232-233 (1986)
  2. ^ Zimmerman, David (2004). Comic Book Character: Unleashing The Hero In Us All. InterVarsity Press. p. 67. ISBN 9780830832606. 
  3. ^ Spider-Man: Legacy of Evil
  4. ^ "Green Goblin" #1 (1995)
  5. ^ Daredevil Vol. 2 #35
  6. ^ World War Hulk Front Line #1-6 (December 2007)
  7. ^ Incredible Hulk #600 (July 2009)
  8. ^ "Secret Invasion: Front Line" #1-4
  9. ^ Secret Invasion: Front Line #5
  10. ^ Siege: Embedded #1-4 (2010)
  11. ^ Shadowland: Bullseye (2010)
  12. ^ "The Punisher" #3-5 (2011)
  13. ^ "Daredevil: End of Days" #1-8 (2012-2013)
  14. ^ "The Pulse" #12 (Jan. 2007)
  15. ^ Spider-Man Noir #1 (2009)
  16. ^ "Ultimate Spider-Man" #95 (August 2006)
  17. ^ "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" #18 (Feb. 1 2013)

External links[edit]