Marvel Comics has announced that Ben Reilly, currently acting under the persona of the Jackal as the villain of The Clone Conspiracy event, will return to his former persona as the Scarlet Spider for a brand new series.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider will be written by Peter David (Spider-Man 2099) with art by quintessential Ben Reilly artist Mark Bagley.
Reilly will debut a brand new Scarlet Spider costume, designed by Bagley, that pays homage to the character’s classic “blue hoodie” look from the 1990s.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider will launch in the aftermath of The Clone Conspiracy.
“He is trying to decide what to do with his Jackal personality, and he is literally being haunted by his earlier incarnations,” David tells CBR of Reilly’s mental and emotional state following The Clone Conspiracy. “He has his Scarlet Spider identity on one shoulder, urging him to follow his better angels, and the Jackal on the other hand, trying to get him to return to the path that led him to disaster. He’s trapped in the middle, endeavoring to balance the two. Of all the characters I’ve written who are having identity problems — and God knows, I’ve done a few — Ben is easily the most unhinged.”
David notes that Reilly’s return doesn’t mean that fans have seen the last of Kaine Parker, the other Peter Parker clone who has been operating as the Scarlet Spider for the past several years.
“Kaine Parker has a major place in this comic,” David says. “Kaine is not going to believe that Ben is really dead, and he feels that it’s up to him to be the one to track him down. He’s on the hunt, right from issue #1.
"I think he sees himself as a political opposite of Peter Parker. He respects Peter’s wishes and desires, but privately feels that Peter doesn’t go far enough in his endeavors to fight crime. Kaine doesn’t really have the same problem with killing, for instance, that Peter does. The only reason he doesn’t kill is because he feels it would upset Peter if he knew, but he is perfectly capable of doing whatever he has to in order to take down bad guys and won’t hesitate to do what he feels needs to be done, Peter’s feelings be damned."
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Check out the teaser art for Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider and Bagley’s new Scarlet Spider design in the gallery below.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 releases in April 2017.