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Why Ben Reilly Could Return as SUPERIOR Spider-Man

Small, subtle things have been leaning toward the return of the original Scarlet Spider, and despite his controversial status, many would definitely approve.

One More Day stands as one of the few times comic fans actually followed through on their threats to drop a series. Sales showed a marked drop in the immediate following issues, DESPITE the fact that the creative teams did an amazing (pun FULLY intended) job with the character in the aftermath and told some of the most interesting, character-building stories in the last several decades (particularly the Grim Hunt storyline, which could have a whole other article dedicated to why it was an extremely risky idea that worked out great).

There were...certainly other solutions...
There were...certainly other solutions...

But what if there was another way? What if there was a way to bring about a "single, younger, unattached" Spider-Man withOUT having to resort to selling his marriage to the devil? We've come up with a few examples of what could have taken the place of that storyline, but none of those answers ever included one from the past, until our own editor-in-chief, Tony Guerrero, talked about it on a podcast: why not a clone?

Ben Reilly was originally meant to be a replacement for Peter Parker, but unfortunately the storyline of his succession was clouded with confounding retcons and nonsensical twists (Ben Reilly being the original while Peter Parker's twenty years of continuity as a clone being prime among them), the actual intent was quite noble: Peter Parker would remain married to Mary-Jane Watson and would be a mentor to this new Spider-Man, who was his clone...alright, it's not perfect, but these days it's feeling quite possible.

== TEASER ==

Think about it: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer Dan Slott has claimed that he'll have to go into hiding and give no interviews after ASM #700 is released, so unless he's very intentionally misleading readers, it will have to be something big. What could trigger such a response in fans? The resurrection of Gwen Stacy or Uncle Ben?? While Ed Brubaker may have changed the retcon from dirty word to worthy plot point, the two of them (either or both) returning would be far, far worse than Jason Todd or Bucky!

The master cloner's been involved in not one but two major storylines recently.
The master cloner's been involved in not one but two major storylines recently.

And there hasn't been any indication to harbor their return, BUT Marvel has been putting out the Complete Ben Reilly Epic volumes (a practice they honed while putting out Venom's '90s books before unveiling Flash Thompson as the new symbiote's host), as well as Scarlet Spider figures and even placing the character in their multimedia empire (the costume is an unlockable in the underrated Shattered Dimensions game) even though that specific costume is widely hated by all but a select (wise) group of editors/users/freelancers on an ESPECIALLY glorious comic book website.

And lest you think we're reading too much into it: remember that Marvel has already begun promoting the Guardians of the Galaxy in their comics and games in preparation for a movie two years away (at minimum) and even created a book series (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE) that more closely mirrored the continuity of another one of their movies. But even beyond that, for fans of Amazing Spider-Man Ben Reilly's return makes plenty of sense.

Jackal, the evil mastermind behind the clones originally has returned to prominence in both the Spider Island storyline as well as returning to menace Peter's most recent protege Alpha, and even the brand Scarlet Spider has returned led by Kaine, another Parker clone, in his own title. Most of all: the presence of Ben Reilly frees Peter Parker to return to a life of relative calm AND, as has been frequently mentioned, there was no reason for Reilly to dissolve at the end of his run as it had already been mentioned that he was a so-called "perfect clone:" not possessing the genetic flaw that caused them to breakdown. It wouldn't even be the end of Parker in the comics, he could still be a mentor/advisor within the title.

Still holding out hope for this costume's return.
Still holding out hope for this costume's return.

The Clone Saga essentially was Marvel's first attempt at a One More Day-style resetting of Spider-Man's life, but it seemed to turn into a case of too many clashing ideas with different creators having different storylines, different visions contradicting each other and, ultimately, being impenetrably confusing and rejected by fans, requiring still ANOTHER messy retcon in the melting of the "perfect" clone.

If we consider that Ben Reilly essentially IS Peter Parker, complete with the parental figures of Aunt May and Uncle Ben (from which his name is derived) but without the inherent attachement to MJ or Black Cat: we get a completely unattached Spider-Man, which is what One More Day was supposed to achieve, but instead of an out-of-nowhere retcon involving unnecessary demonic intervention, it's something that should have happened decades ago, just more gracefully. It isn't at all that Peter Parker isn't a worthwhile protagonist, it's that Marvel has been trying to find a way for him to step aside, not be eliminated fully, even since before One More Day.

110 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for lvenger
Posted By lvenger

And I'm going to post an awesome theory I just read by the king of ASM 700 and Superior Spider-Man theories. This latest one is a real killer.

@Strider92 said:

Another thing I hadn't considered is what if its amnesia. According to BleedingCool Dr Strange is somehow involved with Superior.

What if Dr Ock after finding out Peter's identity as an act of revenge sends a message or broadcast to the entire world (like he did in 600 he hacked all the computers and TV's to broadcast a message using octobots) that Peter Parker is Spider-man. Ock is apparently assembling a lot of villains for 698 what if this is how he does it. This causes Dr Strange's spell to break so everyone everywhere will know Peter is Spider-man (as Strange said this is what would happen). So suddenly Peter is beset on all sides by his enemies who now remember who he is. They come to attack him all the way untill 700 when Peter goes to Dr Strange to ask him to do the mind wipe again. Strange has already said this was to dangerous to repeat but Peter convinces him to do it.

As Strange is doing the spell to make people forget something goes wrong just like Strange predicted and instead of simply masking Peter's identity to everyone it erases Peter completely from their minds. No one ever knew he existed including Strange (his spell worked on himself and Peter). Peter is now stuck with no identity but Spider-man. Has no idea who he is and because he has no memory doesn't remember the "with great power comes great responsibility" line so he will no longer have morals to restrain him.

Peter Parker is no longer Spider-man as Slott said because Peter Parker doesn't exist only Spider-man. Mary Jane and Spider-man are free to try and find each other again. She would technically only be dating Spider-man because Peter Parker doesn't exist. Everything ends in a flash of gold like Madame Webb said as that could be the Octobot that televises Peter's identity across the world. the picture of him speaking to his Uncle Ben in that preview by Wacker may not be his death but simply his psyche talking to him telling him not to forget who he is (which is then followed by the mind wipe). Peter would now not know who he is hence the name of the first issue "Hero or Menace" because he has no recollection of who he was he'd have to make a moral decision based on nothing at all about whether to be a hero or a villain. There's no Uncle Ben to guide him this time so the choice is on him. We already know that Peter before becoming Spider-man was capable of being an a$$hole (letting the burglar go for example) this would take Spider-man back to that time where he had no moral code thus explaining the brutal treatment of his villains.

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Posted By Michiel76
@G-MAN:  i disagree completly with your statement that the return of uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy would be so terrible. If it leeds to great stories i'm all for it. I'm 36 and have been reading comics for far over 20 years, but even i wasn't around when these stories happend so why would i care? I'm more interested in great stories being written right now.
Spidermans character wouldn't be changed if they would return. With great power comes great responsibility will still uphold. Maybe the return of uncle Ben would teach him even more. Maybe Spidey would become greatly protective of uncle Ben, so much that he loses focus on other things happening around him, this could lead to great stories imo.
My only concern would be that the return of Uncle Ben or Gwen should be handled in a correct way, it would have to make sense and be a great story. But i'm not opposed to the idea of having them back in spidey's live.
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Posted By LordRequiem

I wouldn't mind if Ben Reilly reappeared but the one main thing for me is that he doesn't replace Kaine in his current form because his Scarlet Spider is excellent!!!!!

Avatar image for uggiboogie
Posted By uggiboogie

I am waiting for Ben Reilly's Return since the End of the 'Revelations'-Storyline in 1996..i never thought it was the best Idea to kill off Ben in that Story, at least Peter could have started to wear Ben's Spider-Man-Costume since then as a tribute to his lost 'brother'..i still love Ben's Costume-Design!!! :)

But unfortunately i don't think he will be coming back in 'Superior'..Marvel wouldn't make Kaine the new Scarlet Spider and bring Ben Reilly back then..i mean what do you need two Peter-Clones for in the current Timeline? :/

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Posted By TheMess1428

I did a video on this over a month ago. Everyone replied saying it wasn't Ben, it was Miguel O'Hara.

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Posted By Hiddensix

@darkrider said:

not going to happen SUPERIOR Spider-Man is going to be spider man and he will give up peter parker idintey

agreed , from what i heard , doc ock would learn peter parker's secret identity at the end of the amazing spiderman run.

Avatar image for mediumflyer7
Posted By Mediumflyer7

@Hiddensix: I agree too. It will be the same Spiderman just with no secret identity and the reason he is "darker" is that Aunt May or someone will probably die and he won't have to have a secret identity because he has no one to protect. Thats my opinion

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Posted By thespideyguy

Originally I thought that it was peter and he was superior because he kills doc. oc.

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Posted By kagato

Great article Corey! I was actually talking about this with friends a few weeks ago, the moment we learned that the new Spiderman wouldnt be Parker. I think something really bad is going to happen to Peter, something involving Alpha and Reilly will come out of hiding to cover for him and hopefully after that get his own series. Story line wise, it would make sense for Parker to want someone to cover as Spiderman to hide the fact he and the webslinger are the same guy, if he for instance is hospital bound then if Spiderman vanished it would ring alarms out to those who know him.

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Posted By slade_wilson

While Parker is the classic Spider-Man and will forever be associated with the Spider-Man identity, I always loved Ben Reilly. There seems to be another dimension with Reilly, something he has that Peter lacks.

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Posted By Mycroftian

That's a pretty sweet theory (I'd be all for it), but Peter is in the solicits for February's Venom and Alpha issues, so it seems unlikely.

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Posted By Wowlock

Sometimes, I wonder if Marvel really want to cripple their titles by going through with their '' smart'' twists that would ultimately end in failure ...and then they want to cover it up with even MORE failures.

I keep thinking that this 'Superior' Spider-man may try to be too much of a Batman and lose it's uniqueness of Spider-man.

If it is Ben Reilly and Peter might get a time off with his life with MJ or Aunt May , I can say '' fine , give the guy a break and bring the new guy '' but the early info we have does not sound promising to me.

Avatar image for lvenger
Posted By lvenger

@Mycroftian said:

That's a pretty sweet theory (I'd be all for it), but Peter is in the solicits for February's Venom and Alpha issues, so it seems unlikely.

He's not in the Alpha solicitation but I didn't notice that in the Venom one. However it has to be admitted that

  1. Peter's been replaced before and Slott promised something new for Peter, something that had never happened before
  2. Slott is a huge Spider-Man fan, especially a Peter Parker fan. And when someone's a huge fan of a character, killing him off or replacing him isn't something Slott would like to do. So the other option is to do something that changes his status quo but keeps him as Spider-Man

Peter's in the February 2013 solict for Venom so I don't think everyone will forget about him.

Avatar image for stmichalofwilson
Posted By StMichalofWilson

I still think it's gonna be Harry Osborn, but if Ben's coming back, that'll be good too.

Avatar image for realitywarper
Posted By RealityWarper

Let's Spidercide get back.

He's not really dead.

Ben Reilly has returned to dust.

Avatar image for bluelantern1995
Posted By BlueLantern1995

I hope Ben returns, that would be AWESOME!

Avatar image for d_knight
Edited By D_Knight

i think alpha may use his diminished alpha powers to fake spider powers like super strength and wall climbing to fill in for peter for some reason like peter powers go out or someone dies causing him to take a step back for a bit.

though, i would love for ben to come back!

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Posted By Onemoreposter

The superior spiderman will be Ben Parker. Cloned and given his nephews powers by the Jackal.

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Posted By NXH

I'd be okay with that.

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Edited By cmaprice

Anyone consider them plucking Miles Morales out of the Ultimate continuity?
Not saying I want it to happen, or that I think it's likely.
As for the image of Spidey kissing MJ, that could be Peter, while someone else takes over the superhero stuff.

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Posted By ClintsEvilTwin

@Onemoreposter said:

The superior spiderman will be Ben Parker. Cloned and given his nephews powers by the Jackal.

Interesting. I dig this theory.

@Lvenger: This would be pretty cool

Avatar image for icon
Posted By Icon

I'll never understand Marvel's desire to get rid of Peter Parker. Spider-Man is Peter Parker. Spider-Man isn't a job title you can pass onto whoever wants it. It is an identity created by Peter Parker. It is him. All these other Spider-Men are in bad taste imo. Anyway we'll see what happens.

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Posted By jeanroygrant

@Master_Thief said:

Avatar image for jeanroygrant
Posted By jeanroygrant

What about both ? And wouldn't they have to kill peter first ?

Avatar image for barkley
Posted By Barkley

ive always liked Ben Reily

Avatar image for mewmdude77
Posted By mewmdude77

Either Ben or Miguel is fine with me, they're both awesome, and it would be neat to see either of them back. I do have a problem with this article though. The part about the Grim Hunt. I liked Grim Hunt until they brought Kraven back, and then just did nothing with him after Grim Hunt. I mean, Kraven is one of my favorite villains, and they're not using him to his full potential. why bring him back just to put him in comic limbo?

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Posted By Zghost

I think Peter is going to get really hurt where he wont be able to be spiderman anymore. I would love for it to be ben and it would mak more sense sense you see superior spider-man kissing mj on one of the covers as he knows the history. My biggest question is how how would they bring him back and how is doc oct involved sense he knows peters secret

Avatar image for redhood21
Posted By redhood21


Avatar image for scarspider
Posted By scarspider

Please let Ben be Superior Spider-Man! And if he's not, just bring him back already Marvel!

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Posted By ronzimmerman



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Edited By Sinfulplayerx

I think it's all a temporary stunt to either get Ben Reilly back from the dead or SpiderMan 2099 into the currect Earth 616. Getting rid of Peter parker would be like getting rid of Clark Kent Or Bruce Banner. Then again....... look what they did to Nick Fury....

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Edited By kid Apollo

if they brought Ben back it would be sick. Pete, Ben, Kaine, Eddy, and Flash as the spider clan. id read that event any day

Avatar image for blues32
Posted By Blues32

For god's sake, he's dead! I liked Ben too, but he died properly! I don't mind some comic book resurrections, but not Ben Riley. He turned to dust! There's no way he'd be alive. And the reason he turned to dust was because he DIED! That's why the "perfect clone" turned to dust. Because his metabolic processes came to a sudden, screeching halt. Just leave the man dead. Besides, he's hardly a more hardcore version of Spider-Man. He's identical to him! There would be no change in behavior at all. How would he be a "Superior Spider-Man"?

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Posted By mrpandopool

I think the superior spiderman is going to be someone close to Peter and Mj beacuse I don´t think Peter even in a depowered or retired state (yeah I´m pretty sure he going to be depowered or retired of the shocking event of #700 at least for the superior series) he is going to give someone completly unknown his alter-ego, his image, his legacy. Even Slott said on twitter that the new spidey has a serious spider-pedigree (thats how he said it) so it has to be someone who has experience using powers and the trust of Peter to be Spiderman. And I said MJ too beacuse it´s obvious that Peter is going to ask her for some advise or she is going to be there when the new spidey is born but as it was established MJ and this Spidey are maybe going to be a couple (I doubt that) but MJ it´s not the type of character that falls in love in two issues (considering the cover for number two although her expresison shows surprise more than love) she has to know him if they are going to establish a relationship so fast and if not I bet she is going to unveil the truth pretty fast.

Avatar image for travmadison
Posted By travmadison

There are two logical outcomes for this, One it will be Ben Reilly (which i am hoping for) or the big piss off need to hide moment will be the fact that Harry will become the new Spider-man. And there is evidence to support both claims.

Avatar image for mycroftian
Posted By Mycroftian

My bad. The Alpha reference to Peter I was thinking of wasn't in the solicit, it was here:

Two things of note in this article:

  1. Peter is still with Horizon
  2. Superior is on the cover with Alpha, not the more traditional Spider-Man

Definitely interesting to see where all this is headed. Personally, I could see Peter becoming more like a Hank Pym/Reed Richards-like figure after giving up the Spider-Man mantle. Slott certainly has been emphasizing the science...

Avatar image for rscotth08
Posted By RScottH08

I'm still leaning to Miguel. The pic with the claws, the comments about the superior spidey having something wrong with his eyes, makes more sense to me that way. Then again it could just be Slott leading us all on.

Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

Funny how you came across that idea, because frankly its something It hought about years back, bringing back Ben Reilly just for purposes similar to what you state. I'm all for it, and if that's what Slott's intending, then good for him I say. Ben Reilly 4 Superior Spider-Man!

Avatar image for degalon
Posted By Degalon

If they brought him back...i'd want him back in his Spider-Man costume. I loved that costume. SO Much. I still think of it over the regular Spidey costume just because that costume stands out more, to me.

If I could see that costume come back (Spider-Man 2, not Scarlet Spider), I'd be happy. Plus that way, Kaine wouldn't have to give up his new identity as the second Scarlet Spider.

Avatar image for maki_p
Posted By Maki_P

I never understood why Ben had to die. I mean, sure we didn't need 2 spider-men, but that doesn't mean he had to die. He could've just sit in the background and have a bastard son like in MC2 or something

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Posted By Mediumflyer7

@travmadison: Whats the evidence it might be Harry then?

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Posted By TDK_1997

I have never liked Ben Reily.He hasn't been a character that was ever and can be interesting to me.I think that Miguel would be a better choice and particulary would like him more as Superior Spider-Man.

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Posted By BigMaraSpence

I feel like the beginning of SSM is kind of casting a shadow over the end of ASM. One of the greatest comic books, ever, is coming to an end (temporarily or permanently) and I am more interested in that, as of now. I'll worry about who the new guy on the block is when he shows up.

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Posted By wr3h

That's a nice idea.

As long as Peter's alive in 616 then it's all good.

Avatar image for lvenger
Posted By lvenger

@Mycroftian said:

My bad. The Alpha reference to Peter I was thinking of wasn't in the solicit, it was here:

Two things of note in this article:

  1. Peter is still with Horizon
  2. Superior is on the cover with Alpha, not the more traditional Spider-Man

Definitely interesting to see where all this is headed. Personally, I could see Peter becoming more like a Hank Pym/Reed Richards-like figure after giving up the Spider-Man mantle. Slott certainly has been emphasizing the science...

Ah I hadn't seen this before. That adds a wrinkle to mine and Strider's theories that Peter's still Spider-Man. Still Slott is a master of misdirection so he might be concealing the truth amongst all the rumours so that it's staring us in the face. In any case, I guess we'll have to wait until ASM 700 and Superior Spider-Man 1 to find out the truth.

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Posted By DraketheSlaughter

@Icon: I agree why can't Peter Parker be Spider-Man plus Ben is dead....Dead and should stay that way. There already had a clone event don't need more. :P

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Posted By yteez

Spider-Man to me is Peter Parker and that's that. I liked Ben Reilly and it'd be great if they brought him back, but no way in hell would it be a good move to replace Pete as SM

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Posted By Deadcool


I am not sure how the heck Dan would manage this, but no, no... the new Spider-man is:

The Doctor Octopus!!!!

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Posted By TheMess1428

@thespideyguy: Peter doesn't need to kill Doctor Octopus. He's going to die on his own anyways.

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Posted By TwistedBishop

Marvel is too in love with riding whatever the current pop culture craze happens to be. With the ASM movies just starting a new trilogy, no way would they give up Peter Parker as Spider-Man. I'd put my bets on them finding some way to bring Gwen back to life.