Ben Reilly

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Ben Reilly
Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly).jpg
Artwork for the cover of Web of Scarlet Spider vol. 1, #1 (November 1995 Marvel Comics
Art by Steven Butler
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceAs Peter Parker's clone:
The Amazing Spider-Man #149 (October 1975)
As Ben Reilly:
Spider-Man #51 (October 1994)
As the Scarlet Spider:
Web of Spider-Man #118 (November 1994)
As Spider-Man:
Sensational Spider-Man #0 (January 1996)
As the Jackal:
The Clone Conspiracy #3 (December 2016)
Created byGerry Conway
(based upon Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko)
In-story information
Full nameBenjamin Reilly
Place of originThe Catskill Mountains, New York
Team affiliationsThe New Warriors
New U Technologies
The Midnight Sons
The Spider-Army/Web-Warriors
Notable aliasesThe Scarlet Spider, Spider-Man, Spider-Carnage, Peter Parker, Henry Jones, the Jackal, the Man in Red, Canadian Spider-Man[1]
AbilitiesAs the Scarlet Spider:
  • Superhuman strength, speed, durability, agility, stamina, reflexes/reactions, coordination, balance and endurance
  • Spider physiology: high pain tolerance, precognitive spider-sense ability, cling to most solid surfaces
  • Master hand-to-hand combatant and expert swordsman

Spider-sense helps against enemies excluding Venom

  • Genius-level intellect:
    Proficient scientist and inventor
  • Utilizes wrist-worn web-shooters to fire various projectiles include a strong air-expanding adhesive substance in variety of forms of artificial webbings (web-lines and impact webbing), sedative stingers, and mini-dot tracers
  • Undetectable to Spider-Man's spider-sense

As Spider-Carnage:

Benjamin "Ben" Reilly (/ˈrli/), also known as the Scarlet Spider, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Grown in a lab by the Jackal (Miles Warren), he is a clone of Spider-Man (Peter Parker) tasked with fighting the hero but instead becoming an ally, later even regarded as a "brother." Created by writer Gerry Conway, the character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 (October 1975) and is seemingly killed in the same issue. The character returned and featured prominently in the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, adopting the "Scarlet Spider" alias. In this identity, he has a costume similar to Spider-Man's consisting of a red spandex bodysuit and mask complemented by a blue sleeveless hoodie sweatshirt adorned with a large spider symbol on both sides, along with a utility belt and bulkier web-shooters. This Scarlet Spider costume was designed by artist Tom Lyle.[2]

When Peter Parker temporarily left the Spider-Man role during the "Clone Saga", Ben became the new Spider-Man, wearing a new variation of the costume designed by artist Mark Bagley. At the end of the "Clone Saga" in Spider-Man #75 (October 1996), Reilly dies at the hands of the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), sacrificing himself to save Parker who then resumes the Spider-Man role.

In 2017's Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy story, the character is revealed to be alive, his mind forcibly transferred to new clone bodies repeatedly before his resurrection was successful. Driven mad by the experience of being reborn and dying repeatedly, he became the new Jackal and started his own criminal enterprise. After being defeated by Spider-Man and others, Reilly reclaims his Scarlet Spider identity in the series Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider. Reimagined as an antihero, he first hopes to escape his past then embarks on a spiritual quest to redeem himself. This arc is completed in "Spider-Geddon" (2018), during which he sacrifices himself to protect others when his life force is absorbed by an enemy who inadvertently absorbs his many death traumas as well. Ben is then resurrected in a new clone body, his mind healed and restored. Due to his many resurrections in different clone bodies, the 2017-2018 comic series Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider states he has died and returned more than anyone else in the Marvel Universe.

Publication history[edit]

Ben Reilly was first featured as Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 as a nameless clone of Peter Parker who seemingly dies alongside his creator the Jackal, who had also created a clone of Parker's lost love Gwen Stacy. The events of the issue were later revisited in several comics such as What If #30. Asked why he created the character, writer Gerry Conway explained:

One of the things I was trying to do at that time was take ideas to their logical, yet absurd conclusion, reductio ad absurdum. The idea was that if we have Gwen Stacy brought back as a clone, how can I up the stakes when I get rid of her? When I write her out of the book, what can I do to make that really effective and to punctuate it, to bring it to the next level? And I thought, if we can clone Gwen, we can certainly clone Peter. I was also at that time enamored with titles that played off of old, melodramatic Stan Lee titles of the past. ... I came up with the title, "If I Kill Me, Will I Die?"[a] It was basically a parody of an old overdramatic Stan Lee title, but I also thought it was a good title in general. So that's really what the impetus was - to raise the stakes, give us a good finish to the Gwen Stacy saga, and to allow me to have a little fun with the storytelling conventions of the time.[3]

Though Conway had no intention of using the character beyond this initial story in which he dies,[3] Reilly returned to the comics during the "Clone Saga", which ran from October 1994 to December 1996 through all five of the concurrent Spider-Man titles — The Amazing Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, and The Spectacular Spider-Man. Editor Danny Fingeroth directed the Spider-Man artists to design a costume for the character which would stand out from conventional superhero costumes by emphasizing simple functionality rather than flash.[3] The artists worked on costume ideas independently, and according to Mark Bagley, Tom Lyle's "hoodie" design won unanimous approval among them.[3] The original costume was later replaced by an updated Spider-Man costume designed by Bagley with minor alterations by Bob Budiansky.[3]

Between November and December 1995, the Scarlet Spider replaced Spider-Man in all five of the comics' titles, which were renamed The Amazing Scarlet Spider, Web of Scarlet Spider, Scarlet Spider, Scarlet-Spider Unlimited, and The Spectacular Scarlet Spider. Reilly was also featured prominently in the supplemental material provided for the storyline, including Spider-Man: The Lost Years and Spider-Man: Clone Journals. The storyline was later revisited in What If (vol. 2) #86. Reilly was passed the mantle of Spider-Man and was featured throughout the Spider-Man titles The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, and The Sensational Spider-Man, which replaced Web of Spider-Man as an ongoing monthly title. Reilly remained as the featured Spider-Man between January and December 1996. During this period, the character also featured in two intercompany crossovers DC vs. Marvel with DC Comics and Backlash/Spider-Man with Image Comics.

Though the character has not been used in mainstream continuity since his death in Spider-Man #75, the character is often alluded to and provided the foundation to the backstory in the Spider-Girl mythology. In January 2009, Reilly returned to comics as Spider-Man in the third part of Marvel's X-Men/Spider-Man miniseries. Written by Christos Gage, the series explores episodes in the histories of both the X-Men and Spider-Man, sticking thoroughly to the source material of the time frames that the stories take place in. Issue #3 marked the first new adventure featuring Reilly in more than 12 years. Starting in 2009, and continuing into 2010, Marvel published a six-issue miniseries titled Spider-Man: The Clone Saga that was a retelling of the story as it had originally been envisioned.[3] In 2010, Marvel began collecting the story in trade paperback and hardcover forms (ISBN 978-0785148050). The epic spans five books and covers Reilly's time on the road, through his encounters with Peter and Mary Jane, up to his role as the Scarlet Spider, as the lone spider hero in New York.

Mooted return[edit]

On July 25, 2010, at the San Diego Comic-Con, fans expressed their desire to see a return of Ben Reilly. To this, assistant editor Tom Brennan replied, "It's being worked on".[4] During the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, a teaser image was posted on Marvel.com of Reilly's shirt in flames, entitled "The return of The Scarlet Spider?"[5] It is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man #673 and the Marvel Point One one-shot that Kaine will be the new Scarlet Spider in his own ongoing series, which was confirmed by editor Steve Wacker in the "Letters to the Editor" page of #673. Later, Ben Reilly in his Scarlet Spider uniform appears to be fighting Kaine on the cover of Scarlet Spider #21. At the climax of the issue it is revealed that this is Kraven the Hunter impersonating Reilly.

Resurrection[edit]

Ben Reilly returns in the storyline Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, where it was revealed that he was repeatedly killed and resurrected by the Jackal as the villain tried to perfect a new cloning process. Broken by the memory and experience of over two dozen deaths, Ben took control of the Jackal's scheme, even adopting the villain's name for himself, and created a new cloning process that included a better memory transfer but required the clone to ingest a pill on a daily basis to stay alive. He eventually planned to save the human race from death and disease by killing everyone and transferring their memories to genetically enhanced clones who could then continually have their memories transferred to new bodies if they ever suffered fatal injury, viewing these creations as continuations of the original person rather than copies and calling them "reanimates." After a final confrontation with Peter forces him to abandon his plans and resources, Ben relocates to Las Vegas. He initially tries to escape his past and punishment for his actions while being haunted by hallucinations, adopting the Scarlet Spider identity again. His experiences eventually help restore some of his sanity and set him back on the path to be a hero, and his appearance in the 2018 Spider-Geddon storyline finishes the redemption arc.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Creation[edit]

Unhealthily obsessed with his late student Gwen Stacy, who died at the hands of the Green Goblin, Professor Miles Warren attempts to clone her. During his experiments, he learns her boyfriend Peter Parker was Spider-Man and blames the web-slinger for making her a target of a super-villain. To take revenge on Parker, Warren becomes the Jackal and attempts to clone the hero as well. The first clone of Parker suffers from clone degeneration and is dismissed, but successful clones of both Parker and Stacy with stable cell structures are later created. After multiple attacks on Spider-Man, the Jackal forces the hero and his clone to fight, each believing the other is the clone. They team up to save Parker's colleague Ned Leeds and the Gwen Stacy clone. In the process, Warren and the Spider-Man clone appear to be killed in an explosion.[6] The Spider-Man clone survives and realizes he is not the real Peter Parker. Rather than attempt to replace Parker, he leaves New York to embark on a nomadic life, dubbing himself "Ben Reilly" as a nod to Peter Parker's uncle Ben Parker and the maiden surname of his Aunt May.[7]

Exile[edit]

During his travels, Ben Reilly befriends geneticist Seward Trainer, becoming the man's lab assistant and increasing his scientific prowess under his mentorship. Ben trusts Trainer with his secrets and the man becomes a father figure. During his travels, Reilly is hunted by Kaine, the scarred and resentful failed clone of Peter Parker. Later, Reilly works with scientist Damon Ryder, who mutates himself into a man/dinosaur hybrid. An attack by Kaine causes a fire that kills Ryder's family, though the scientist blames Reilly for this tragedy. At one point, Reilly finds love with college student Janine Godbe who then reveals her true identity is Elizabeth Tyne, a fugitive who killed her father after enduring incestuous abuse. After Janine apparently commits suicide out of guilt for her crime, Reilly continues his travels.[8][9][10]

Scarlet Spider[edit]

Five years after leaving New York City, Ben Reilly discovers May Parker suffered a stroke and may not recover. He returns to New York City, leading to a confrontation with the original Peter Parker, who at this time is bitter, angry, and prone to violent rages following recent traumatic events. After the two handle a hostage situation at the mental hospital Ravencroft Institute, Peter attempts to reclaim his humanity and Ben decides to remain in the city for a while.[11]

When Venom (Eddie Brock) goes on a rampage, Reilly decides to stop him, donning a red bodysuit along with a blue spider hoodie he buys at a museum.[12] Armed with improved web-shooters he developed, he defeats Venom and is dubbed the "Scarlet Spider" by Daily Bugle reporter Ken Ellis (a name Ben dislikes at first).[13] Ben and Peter later reunite and discover the Jackal is alive.[14] After Seward Trainer finds indicators that Peter is actually the clone and Ben the original, Peter and Ben use his equipment and come to the same results.[15] This leads into Maximum Clonage where the Jackal hopes to eliminate the human race with a new version of his Carrion virus and replace people with genetically improved clones. Initially feeling lost, Peter works with the Jackal and his new henchman, an evil clone called Spidercide. Eventually, Peter joins Ben in stopping the Jackal, who seemingly falls to his death. Ben concedes he has no desire to be Spider-Man again since he has evolved into a different person.

After working with them to stop the Carrion virus, Scarlet Spider joins the New Warriors for a brief time and develops an attraction to teammate Firestar.[16] After a few more adventures, Peter is nearly killed in action and decides to retire as Spider-Man so he can be a better husband and father.[17] He and Mary Jane leave New York City. During gang warfare between the second Doctor Octopus and Alistair Smythe, a holographic duplicate of the Scarlet Spider ruins Reilly's costumed reputation with a vicious rampage. Reilly decides to drop the Scarlet Spider identity.

Ben Reilly as Spider-Man[edit]

Ben Reilly as Spider-Man, wearing the costume designed by Mark Bagley. Art by Dan Jurgens and Klaus Janson.

Ben adopts the Spider-Man identity with a new costume. Only a few heroes and villains realize this Spider-Man is a different person than before. In his civilian life, Ben dyes his hair blonde and starts working at a cafe called the Daily Grind. He starts a relationship with Jessica Carradine, a student at Centennial University with a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, convinced the hero is a murderer. Ben later discovers her late father was the burglar who killed Ben Parker, who went into foster care after the man's arrest. Jessica then reveals her father told her he had been framed by the web-slinger for the murder of Ben Parker. She blames the wall-crawling vigilante not only for taking away her parent, but for his death during another encounter with Spider-Man, unwilling to believe it was simply a heart attack brought on by stress.[18] After Jessica discovers Ben is Spider-Man, she confronts the truth of her father. She decides to start a new life on her own rather than remain with Reilly.[19]

Ben's life and work are targeted by Hobgoblin on orders of Spider-Man's old enemy Mendel Stromm, now called Gaunt. After Peter and Mary Jane return to New York, Ben realizes Seward Trainer has been working with Gaunt for years.[20] Peter and Ben cement their relationship, now regarding each other as brothers and enjoying that they share the same childhood memories. Ben introduces Peter to the Daily Grind staff as his "cousin."[21] Reilly's former lover Janine Godbe is revealed to be alive, forced to fake her death years ago by Kaine as a means of hurting Ben. After multiple confrontations, Kaine accepts he has been avoiding responsibility for his actions and turns himself over to the authorities. Inspired, Janine does the same.[22]

Ben befriends Giachomo "Jimmy-6" Fortunato, who does not wish to follow the legacy of his crime lord father Vincente. Temporarily hiding from the mob, Jimmy-6 becomes Ben's roommate for a time.[23]

DC vs. Marvel[edit]

During the 1996 DC vs. Marvel inter-company crossover, Ben Reilly winds up in the parallel reality of DC Comics. Not sure how to return home, he temporarily gets a photographer job at the Daily Planet under the name Peter Parker and meets top reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Eventually, two cosmic entities force fighters from both the DC and Marvel realities to engage in a series of duels. Reilly is chosen to fight Superboy, the hybrid-clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, and wins. Soon afterward, he and Superboy are temporarily merged into Spider-Boy, a hero of the Amalgam Comics universe created by a fusion of DC and Marvel realities. At the end of the crossover, the universes are restored and Ben is returned home.[24]

Death[edit]

During the Onslaught crossover, the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and others seemingly die. This leads Ben and Peter to later discuss the possibility of both operating as Spider-Men since New York is without many of its defenders now.[25] Soon afterward, Trainer learns that Gaunt's secret boss is the long-thought dead Norman Osborn. He attempts to warn Ben but is killed.[26] After having both Ben and Peter captured, Norman Osborn reveals himself to be the architect behind Parker's last few years of trauma, all part of a plan to drive the hero insane, including having Trainer create false lab results so he would mistakenly believe he was the clone and Reilly the original. Since Peter has withstood his many trials, Osborn has lost patience and decided to act directly. While Mary Jane is poisoned and loses her child in stillbirth, the original Green Goblin fights Parker. The battle ends when Reilly takes a fatal wound intended for Peter. Dying, he asks Peter to resume the role of Spider-Man and hopes that his and Mary Jane's child will be told about their "Uncle Ben." Reilly dies and his body decomposes rapidly, confirming he was actually a clone. Peter reclaims the Spider-Man identity.[27] Not long afterward, Peter is accidentally transported to Counter-Earth where he finds the believed-to-be-dead Avengers and Fantastic Four still alive, joining them on their return home.[28]

Post-mortem[edit]

During the 2006 "Civil War" storyline, Peter's identity is public and he is wanted by authorities for being an unregistered superhero. Forced to go undercover, he briefly uses the pseudonym Ben Reilly and a holographic disguise device given to him by the Beast.[29]

The Avengers Initiative program later assigns three clones of the hero "MVP" to aid in the capture of the Sinister Syndicate. These clones adopt the identities of the Scarlet Spiders, each wearing a copy of the high-tech "Iron Spider" suit designed by Iron Man.[30] Later on, the villain Mister Hyde gives Spider-Man's powers to a person who wears Ben's Scarlet Spider suit.[31]

Ben's old associate turned enemy Damon Ryder, using the alias "Raptor", attacks Peter Parker, mistaking him for Reilly and goaded by Kaine. Spider-Man defeats him.[32][33]

Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy[edit]

A resurrected Ben Reilly as the new Jackal. Interior artwork from Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy vol. 1, 4 (Jan, 2017 Marvel Comics)
Art by Jim Cheung

Ben Reilly appears as part of the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, in the form of the mysterious man in a brilliant red suit with a mask of Anubis mask, the jackal-headed god of death. It is eventually revealed that Miles Warren survived Maximum Clonage and collected Ben's remains after the hero died at the hands of Norman Osborn. Warren clones Ben again, transferring all his memories including his death. When the new body has problems with cellular degradation, Warren kills Ben and tries again. He does this many times, with Ben's memory transfer ensuring he recalls each death leading up to his stable 27th body. Traumatized by the memory of 26 deaths, Ben breaks free, defeats Warren, and decides to use his technology and operation to prevent anyone else from suffering the tragedy of death. He adopts a mask of Anubis and as the new Jackal he improves process the cloning process, now seeing his new clone creations as "reanimates," continuations of the original person rather than simply copies. His reanimates seem improved in many ways but carry a latent from of a new Carrion virus in their cells.[34]

Publicly, Reilly uses the company New U Technologies to offer cutting edge healing and organ replacement for people, even those with terminal conditions. Peter Parker, head of Parker Industries at the time, becomes suspicious and investigates. Reilly later reveals himself and shows he has resurrected people whose deaths have caused Spider-Man guilt, all of whom now live in a neighborhood-like facility called "Haven." Reilly asks Peter to join him and but the latter concludes the new Jackal is using power without considering the responsibility of his actions. A signal is activated that destabilizes the bodies of the reanimates, meaning the new airborne Carrion virus will now activate in most if not all of them. Reilly decides to let this plague spread across Earth so he can replace everyone with genetically improved reanimates, but his plan is stopped. With his own clone body breaking down, Reilly saves himself using New U Pills and Webware Technology, but now bears scars all over his face and body.[35] After a brief confrontation with the original Jackal, Ben leaves to start a new life, still believing his work was for the good of humanity.[36]

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider[edit]

Relocating to Las Vegas, the disfigured Ben is tracked down by former New U Technologies client Cassandra Mercury, owner of the Mercury Rising casino, who wants revenge for his failure to cure her daughter Abigail's terminal disease. Ben buys time by telling Cassandra he can develop a cure in exchange for a lab and resources. He lives and works in the Mercury Rising casino, identifying himself as "Peter."[37] During this time, Ben is haunted by hallucinations of his old self telling him to be more heroic and his Jackal self defending their actions. He steals a Spider-Man cosplayer's hooded costume, then later takes a copy of his original Scarlet Spider outfit from a Spider-Man fan. Operating at times as a vigilante, he uses harsher methods than before, sometimes using a gun to deliver nonlethal injuries.[38]

Kaine Parker arrives in Las Vegas, desiring Ben's death for his actions as the Jackal. Reilly argues he is trying to cure Abigail Mercury's condition, but his untested serum backfires and kills the girl. Kaine attacks only to then be seemingly killed by the embodiment of Death.[39] Death explains no other person has been brought back to life as often as Ben and this has corrupted his soul; one more resurrection will likely shatter his soul and sanity. She offers to restore Abigail or Kaine to life, but Ben asks her to save both and take him instead. Impressed, Death heals Kaine and Abigail and removes Ben's scars.[40] During a later battle, Ben uses excessive force and regains scarring around an eye. Death explains he is still being tested and will manifest more scars again if he engages in corrupt behavior.[41]

Ben later injects Abigail with what seems to be a blood sample from the angel Gabriel. The demon lord Mephisto then tricks Kaine into killing Reilly.[42] Abigail ascends to an angelic level of existence and decides to resurrect him since Mephisto overstepped his bounds by arranging the man to die earlier than he should. Ben refuses, remembering Death's warning that his soul will be shattered and he might become evil. Abigail assures him he's still a hero at heart and Ben awakes in a body bag in an ambulance, immediately escaping, leaving behind his life at Mercury Rising.[43]

Spider-Geddon[edit]

During Spider-Geddon, Otto Octavius recruits Kaine to help fight the Inheritors, vampiric beings who feed on the life force of animal totems, particularly Spider heroes across reality. Overhearing that the Inheritors plan to use New U Technologies to rebuild their cloning machine to ensure they can't die, Ben volunteers his services, wishing to prevent his technology from causing more harm.[44] Octavius begrudgingly agrees then later offers Ben to the Inheritors in exchange for leaving other Spiders alone.[45] The Inheritor called Jennix takes Ben's life force, but also absorbs the experience of 27 deaths and is driven insane, just as planned. Octavius then resurrects Ben a 28th time. Following his sacrifice and Jennix absorbing his death traumas, Ben's mind and soul now seem restored.[46] Returning to Las Vegas, Ben Reilly continues to operate as the Scarlet Spider.

Powers and equipment[edit]

As Spider-Man's clone, Ben Reilly possesses proportionate spider-like abilities and traits identical to Peter Parker's, including superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, resiliency, and agility, along with the ability to cling to almost any surface granted by consciously commanding his body to do so (the process seems similar to the van der Waals force and has been described as "the ability to mentally control the flux of the inner-atomic attraction between molecular boundary layers).[47] Reilly's reflexes and stamina operate up to 40 times faster than an average person's, while his strength allows him to lift 150 times his own weight (approximate limit of 10 tons). He can leap thirty feet into the air from a standing position. Ben's superhumanly enhanced muscles, bones, and body are more resistant to injury than the average human.[48] Like Peter, Ben has a precognitive "spider-sense" warning him of incoming danger and threats, manifesting as a buzzing in the base of his skull. In battle, Ben can allow this sense to guide his reflexes to help dodge attacks.[49]

Ben possesses Peter Parker's genius-level scientific intellect with particular talents towards applied science, chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, mathematics, and mechanics. During his travels, Ben was able to spend more time improving his scientific knowledge and experience and came to surpass Peter's skill in some fields.Because Reilly was not in the role of Spider-Man for five years while traveling, and didn't engage in regular combat during his time as the Jackal, his fighting style is less polished than Parker's. Kaine notes that Reilly is more reliant on tactics rather than his physical skill and is a calculating and cunning combatant.

Like Peter Parker, Ben is armed with wrist-worn web-shooters that each holds several cartridges of "web-fluid," a chemical mixture that solidifies on exposure to air. Released from a pressurized valve, the web-fluid can (depending on the valve's adjustment) become an expanding net, a thin web-line, or an adhesive, malleable goo. Reilly's web-shooters use more advanced triggers than Parker's and include features such as "impact webbing," temporary paralysis-inducing "stingers," and "mini-dot" tracers (a smaller version of Parker's spider-tracers). Due to these advances, Reilly's web-shooters are bulkier than Parker's, so he wears them on the outside of his costumes. Like Parker, Reilly wears a belt carries spare web-fluid cartridges.[50]

Following Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, Ben had scarring on his face and body. After his encounter with the cosmic entity Death, the scars were removed but would return if he behaved in corrupt ways. Following his resurrection in Spider-Geddon, these scars are completely gone.

Other versions[edit]

MC2[edit]

  • In the alternate reality known as MC2, Peter and Mary Jane Parker's daughter May Parker survives birth and grows up hearing stories of her late "Uncle Ben" who died a hero. After realizing she has powers of her own, the teenage May (nicknamed "Mayday") confronts her mother, learning her father was Spider-Man and that Ben Reilly also assumed the identity for a time. Inspired, she adopts Ben Reilly's web-shooters and Spider-Man costume, becoming Spider-Girl.[51]
  • In the MC2 reality, Ben Reilly had a son by Janine Godbe (Elizabeth Tyne), named Reilly Tyne. Kaine regards Reilly Tyne as his "nephew" and tries to save him from cellular degeneration. Kaine's experiment results in the young man becoming older and infused by a portion of the demon Zarathos and a portion of the spirit of the deceased Matt Murdock, turning Reilly Tyne into Darkdevil.[52]
  • Felicity Hardy, the daughter of Felicia Hardy (Black Cat), assumes the Scarlet Spider identity in an attempt to become partners with Spider-Girl. Peter Parker is angry at this, considering it an inappropriate use of Ben Reilly's former costumed identity.[53]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Ben Reilly is one of the heroes on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier who survived the zombie plague. He is seen battling the zombies; however, this plan falls apart. Reilly's fate is unknown.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Ben Reilly is an African-American scientist who worked with Dr. Curt Connors at Empire State University. He combines a sample of Spider-Man's DNA with the Lizard's and the Venom symbiote to create the Carnage organism, and steals a second sample of Spider-Man's DNA from the lab.[54] Reilly later works with Doctor Octopus, creating five clones of Spider-Man while employed by the CIA. One clone has Kaine's insane personality and facial scars and wears a makeshift version of Ben Reilly's costume.[55]

What If?[edit]

  • What If? #30, "What If Spider-Man's Clone Had Lived?", depicts a world where, after the Jackal's bomb explodes at Shea Stadium, both Spider-Men are knocked unconscious and the clone awakens before the original. The clone, believing that he is the original Peter Parker, puts Parker into stasis in one of the Jackal's clone-growing devices and attempts to continue with life as normal. However, the clone has no memories from the time before the cell samples he had been grown from were taken, and is confused and lost in the world of the real Peter Parker. This memory gap and the discovery of the Jackal's notes on his cloning process, leads the clone to realize what he truly is, and he frees the real Parker just in time for both of them to confront a threat from the Kingpin. Afterwards, the clone prepares to leave to seek his own fortune, but accepts an offer from Parker to co-operate in "shifts", switching between being Parker and Spider-Man. In this story, the clone never establishes a separate name for himself, and is referred to as "Spider-Clone", "brother", or "bro" by the original Parker.[56]
  • What If? (vol. 2) #86, "What If Scarlet Spider Killed Spider-Man?", gives an alternate ending of the "Clone Saga". During the time Spider-Man is under the Jackal's control, the Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man fight until there is an explosion. Reilly's body is later found washed ashore and Peter Parker is believed to be dead. Reilly awakens in hospital and finds Parker's friends and family, who believe he is Parker, around his bed. The following year, Reilly and Mary Jane discover that their baby, May, is dying of blood poisoning. One night, Reilly wakes to find that May has been kidnapped. Ben searches for her and meets the Green Goblin, who reveals that he is behind the "Clone Saga" and needs May's blood for a serum. The two fight atop the George Washington Bridge, where Gwen Stacy was killed. During the struggle, they both fall into the river below. Reilly resurfaces with the Goblin's mask and the serum and is met by Mary Jane. Reilly discovers that she knows that his true identity is Ben Reilly. Mary Jane thanks Reilly and tells him to find his own identity.[57]

Spider-Man: Life Story[edit]

Spider-Man: Life Story features an alternate continuity where the characters naturally age after Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man in 1962. Miles Warren was ordered by Norman Osborn to create clones of Norman and Peter. In 1977, Norman convinced Harry to attack Miles after discovering that Warren had created a clone of Gwen as well. Harry deduces that Norman had Miles clone Peter because Norman still viewed Peter as a more worthy successor over him and blows up the containment tubes with the clones. Peter's clone was the only survivor thanks to inheriting Spider-Man's powers. However, Miles reveals that the "Gwen" Peter was with was actually her clone while the real Gwen died in the explosion. A year later, Peter and Gwen's clones rename themselves as Ben and Helen Parker (later Reilly) and move out of New York for a second chance at life.

Ben eventually becomes a photojournalist in Chicago, where he also operates as the hero known as "the Red Mask". In 1995, he and Peter are kidnapped by Doctor Octopus and taken to Oscorp so Otto could learn how to extend his life by cloning. In the process, Otto discovers that Peter is supposedly the clone, while Ben was the original. Ben lashes out at Otto for the revelation before Otto attempts to kill them both and ends up murdering Harry instead. As Ben begins to have an identity crisis, Peter gives him a folder detailing his own life from the last 20 years and allows Ben the opportunity to retake his life as "Peter Parker" once more. It is later revealed that Peter found out that Norman had manipulated Otto into kidnapping them and rigged the results, meaning that Ben is still the clone. However, Peter allowed Ben to take over his life so he could live quietly with Mary Jane and his children.

In 2006, Ben is murdered by Morlun, as Peter ignored Ezekiel's warnings about him in this timeline, prompting Peter to return to New York to reveal that he is the true Peter Parker so he could prevent Morlun from coming after his family and stop Tony Stark from taking over Parker Industries.[58]

Spider-Man: The Clone Saga[edit]

In September 2009, a six-issue miniseries based on the Clone Saga comics of the 1990s, titled Spider-Man: The Clone Saga, was issued. The purpose of the miniseries was to tell the story as it was initially conceived. It is a condensed version of the Clone Saga without the plot points involving Traveler, Scrier, and covers several months of a fictional time period. The first issue introduces readers to the characters Ben Reilly and Kaine, and addresses Mary Jane's pregnancy and Aunt May's hospitalization. Reilly and Parker bond after Kaine attacks them, and Reilly decides to stay in New York, pretending to be Peter's blonde-haired cousin so that he can build his own life. Reilly adopts the identity of the Scarlet Spider and begins working at the Daily Grind.[volume & issue needed]

Reilly and Parker later work with Kaine to reach the lair of the shadowy figure responsible for infecting Mary Jane and Aunt May with a deadly genetic virus. The mysterious villain is revealed to be the Jackal, who captures all three and reveals his plans to make an army of Spider-Man clones in order to take over the world. Since Reilly is the only stable clone, the Jackal takes a sample of his blood to perfect his cloning technique. When the Jackal reveals another stage of his plan, to clone Gwen Stacy and another unknown figure, Kaine goes berserk and breaks himself, Parker and Reilly free. During the subsequent fight, the clones dissolve and the Jackal plants the first seed of doubt over who is the original Peter Parker. After Kaine kills the Jackal, Reilly and Parker escape with the cure for Aunt May's and Mary Jane's virus. Parker retires and hands the Spider-Man identity to Reilly. Reilly spends several months in the role, while Parker gets ready to become a father. Reilly is shown as a less-polished Spider-Man and is somewhat insecure due to his relative inexperience because of his exile. Eventually, Mary Jane gives birth, Allison Mongrain kidnaps the baby, and later gives it to Kaine.[volume & issue needed]

When Reilly goes searching for the baby, he is attacked by the Green Goblin, who is revealed to be Harry Osborn and working with Kaine. Though Reilly appears to gain the upper hand in the ensuing fight, the Goblin impales him in the back with his Goblin Glider. Miraculously, Reilly survives the attack. Osborn had been plotting his revenge against Parker since his apparent heart attack. Osborn creates a clone of his father, Norman, to help him defeat Parker and Reilly; however, Norman jumps in front of Harry's Goblin Glider as it is about to hit Parker and is impaled in the back. Afterwards, Kaine returns baby May to Parker and Mary Jane, Aunt May survives and wants to help raise the child, and Ben Reilly leaves once again to travel the world and find a life for himself.[59]

"Spider-Verse"[edit]

During the 2014 "Spider-Verse" storyline, Ben Reilly of Earth-94 was recruited into a team of multiverse Spider-Totems who were teaming up to fend off the Inheritors, who were trying to devour each and every Spider-Totem.[60] In this particular universe, Peter Parker's powers did not return, with Peter remaining in Oregon while Ben has developed into a far lighter character without the burden of Peter's past, particularly aided by the string of successes that he had as Spider-Man, including saving Marla Jameson from Alistair Smythe and preventing Doctor Octopus from taking his body.[61]

This version of Ben Reilly lead a team featuring fellow clones Kaine of Earth-616 and the Jessica Drew of Earth-1610 who are sent on a mission that requires their 'expertise' as clones of Spider-Man.[62] Their mission sends them to Earth-802, a world conquered by the Inheritors and ruled over by the Inheritor Jennix, whose efforts to clone Spider-Totems failed to clone the Spider-Essence itself. Despite their best efforts to infiltrate said world, the Spider-Clones would end up doing battle with the dimension's versions of Iron Man and the Human Torch, as well as Jennix himself, before Reilly later sacrificed himself to destroy the Inheritors' cloning facility; which they used to resurrect themselves if they fell during their trips to other worlds.[61]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • An unnamed evil clone appeared in the 1970s The Amazing Spider-Man television series episode "Night of the Clones".
  • The Scarlet Spider made a non-speaking appearance in the X-Men The Animated Series episode "One Man’s Worth, Part One".
  • The Scarlet Spider made a non-speaking cameo appearance on the 1990s Fantastic Four animated series episode "Nightmare in Green".[63]
  • The Ben Reilly incarnation of Scarlet Spider makes his first official appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes.[64][65] Appearing in the two-part series finale "Spider Wars", this series' incarnation of Ben Reilly hails from an alternate reality where Miles Warren created a clone of Peter Parker and altered his and the original's memories. Unsure of whether he was the clone or not, the original Peter changed his name to "Ben Reilly" and adopted the Scarlet Spider alias. Despite learning he was always the original, he chose to maintain his life as Reilly. Having also discovered the truth however, the clone went insane with jealousy. He attempted to kill Scarlet Spider so he would be the only Peter, but the Carnage symbiote emerged from an interdimensional portal and bonded to him, turning him into Spider-Carnage. After he devised a plot to destroy the multiverse, the Beyonder and Madame Web assembled Scarlet Spider, the "prime" Spider-Man, and other versions of them from other realities to stop Spider-Carnage.
  • A variation of Ben Reilly / Scarlet Spider appears in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six, voiced by Scott Porter.[citation needed] While he goes by Ben Reilly, he wears Kaine Parker's original comics suit and his personality is a hybridization of the former's loyalty and dedication and the latter's aggressiveness. This version is also a synthezoid created by Doctor Octopus using Spider-Man's DNA armed with stingers under his arms who was meant to lead the other synthezoids. Debuting in the two-part episode "Hydra Attacks", he saves Spider-Man before reluctantly working with the Web Warriors to stop Hydra and Doc Ock, all while hiding his true allegiance to the latter.[66] In the two-part episode "The New Sinister Six", Ben is revealed to be Doctor Octopus' mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. during the titular team's attack on the Triskelion. However, after Spider-Man and May Parker appeal to his better nature, Ben betrays his creator and seemingly sacrifices himself to foil his plans, though in reality he chose to fake his death so he can work alone from the shadows. Ben returns in the three-part episode "The Spider-Slayers" after becoming suspicious of his origins and reluctantly works with Spider-Man and Spider-Woman following an encounter with the series' incarnation of Kaine. Once they locate Doc Ock, they travel to Hydra Island, where they discover the truth of Ben's origins as well as confront and defeat Kaine and the Spider-Slayers. In the two-part series finale "Graduation Day", Ben is a teacher at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.

Film[edit]

  • The design for Peter Parker's homemade suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming pays homage to Ben Reilly's original Scarlet Spider suit. Concept art by design artist Ryan Meinerding depicts an alternative version of the suit that was intended to be a representation of the Scarlet Spider.[67]
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the blonde Peter Parker / Spider-Man of Miles Morales' dimension is an homage to Ben Reilly's dyed blonde hair during his run as Spider-Man.[68]

Video games[edit]

Toys[edit]

Action figures of the character have been released over the years, including some released after the character's death:

  • 1996: Scarlet-Spider (Ben Reilly) was released as an action figure by ToyBiz in the "Marvel OverPower Card Game – PowerSurge Invincibles" toyline.
  • 1996: Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) with venom containment gear, featured as an action figure by ToyBiz.
  • 1997: Spider-Carnage featured as an action figure by ToyBiz in the Spider-Man/Venom – Along Came a Spider toyline.
  • 2002: The Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) was a KB Toys exclusive in the Spider-Man Classics toyline.
  • 2004: The Spider-Man Classics range from ToyBiz featured a Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) figure, which comes with a missile launching backpack.
  • 2004: Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) featured as a Kubrick in a five-figure Spider-Man box set released by Medicom Toy.
  • 2005: The Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) featured as a Kubrick in Medicom Toy's Marvel Super-Heroes Series 4 toyline.
  • 2005: Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) and Spider-Carnage Minimates were available in Series 10.
  • 2007: A Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) Minimate was sold with the Hobgoblin.[69]
  • 2008: Ben Reilly, in his redesigned Spider-Man costume, was featured as a figure in the Ares Build-A-Figure series of Marvel Legends. Although he is wearing his Spider-Man costume, his figure is labeled as "Scarlet Spider" to differentiate him from the Peter Parker versions.[70]
  • 2009/2010: Marvel's Super-Hero Squad range features both a Scarlet Spider figure (named "Ben Reilly Spider-Man" and packaged with Bullseye) and one of his re-designed Spider-Man costumes (packaged both individually and with Carnage).
  • 2016: Marvel's Marvel Legends was packaged as "Ben Reilly Spider-Man". This figure also came with a Spider-Carnage set and a Spider-Carnage interchangeable head.
  • The Lego set 76057 Spider-Man: Web Warriors Bridge Battle features a Scarlet Spider mini-figure.[71]

Collected editions[edit]

Title Material collected ISBN
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider Vol. 1: Back in the Hood Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1-5 and material from Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 978-0785194583
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider Vol. 2: Death's Sting Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #6-10, Slingers (1998) #0 978-0785194590
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider Vol. 3: Slingers Return Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #10-14 978-1302911157
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider Vol. 4: Damnation Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #15-19 978-1302911164
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider Vol. 5: Deal With the Devil Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider 20-25 978-1302915049

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The actual published title is "Even if I Live...I Die!". The source gives no indication whether the title was changed prior to publication or Conway simply misremembered it.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]