Scarlet Spider is a character that had a lot of potential but due to a misunderstanding was quickly swept under the carpet. Spider-Man is Marvel's most iconic character and it makes perfect sense to try to expand on his popularity. The creation of the Scarlet Spider was a way to deliver another Spider-character virtually identical to Spider-Man, especially since he was a clone. Peter Parker was married but Ben Reilly wasn't. Having two Spider-Men would have taken care of the concern that readers wouldn't be able to relate to a married hero which caused the end of Peter and Mary Jane's wedding.
The decision was made to have the Scarlet Spider be the original Peter Parker while the one that everyone had been reading since Amazing Spider-Man #149 was actually a clone. This outraged some readers and the decision was made to kill the Scarlet Spider.
I've already gone into detail about how his death didn't make sense. The spider-clones all had a genetic defect that caused their bodies to dissolve. Ben Reilly was the only one without that defect. Having his body dissolve upon his death makes no sense because he did not have that defect. My theory was Norman Osborn had yet another clone created to die in Ben's place while keeping him captive as another way to get revenge against Spider-Man. The problem with this is Norman today doesn't know Spider-Man's identity. Keeping Spider-Man's clone captive would reveal his identity. With the teaser that Marvel released at San Diego Comic-Con and the current storyline, there is another way for the Scarlet Spider to return.== TEASER ==
Norman Osborn isn't the only one that deeply hates Spider-Man. There was another man involved with the Clone Saga that despised Spider-Man/Peter Parker as well. Professor Miles Warren, a.k.a. the Jackal. Warren was a college professor of Peter and Gwen Stacy's. Warren had fallen in love with Gwen and blamed Spider-Man for her death at the hands of the Green Goblin. When his lab assistant reached success in cloning, Warren tricked his assistant into using a DNA sample he had acquired from Gwen back when she was his student and the human cloning had begun.
The Jackal attempted to create several clones of Spider-Man (again from a DNA sample obtained when he was teaching). He even made clones of himself. Because of his hatred for Spider-Man and the lengths he would go to, having the Jackal be the one that is keeping an alive Ben Reilly captive makes more sense. Because he has already made several clones of the same subject and was working on a way to be able to clone people and control them, he could have created a Ben Reilly clone and convince it that it was Ben and to make a noble sacrifice.
The Jackal could be sitting back enjoying the fact that Peter and Ben became as close as brothers and he was the one to separate them. Peter thinks he died and that's something he has to deal with. He will continue to have to live with the guilt...unless the Jackyl's plans change or Ben manages to escape.
The image of the burning spider-hoodie raises some questions. Marvel has teased the return of the character such as having Peter use the name as an alias, releasing the Clone Saga miniseries, etc. Apparently when asked at San Diego Comic-Con if Scarlet Spider was coming back, the response was "no." Could Marvel have been...lying? What if Ben Reilly will return but not in his Scarlet Spider guise (hence the symbolic burning of the hoodie). Or does the burning mean they're are finally putting an end to any and all speculation of his return?
The image of the fire leads you to believe that it won't be a happy time. If Ben has been a captive of the Jackal (or someone else) all this time, he would have to be a little bitter. Could he be angry that his brother never found him? We don't often see Peter mourning over him (most likely because we're not supposed to think about him). Peter's lost a lot of people close to him over the years but hasn't said much about losing Ben,
The Jackal's current scheme involves infesting all of New York with spider-powers. Despite Marvel firmly saying the Ben Reilly won't be coming back, Amazing Spider-Man #666 makes it hard not to think that it could be him Jackal is about to tinker with. But given the image and dialogue, it would make sense that Ben...the real Ben, has been in captivity or on ice since the end of the Clone Saga.
Unfortunately my gut is telling me Marvel won't bring Ben back. Because of all the backlash they got in saying Ben Reilly was the true Spider-Man, Marvel might believe it's best to let him rest in peace rather than open up a potential can of worms. If handled correctly, there is such potential in another Spider-Man character. He might not be for everyone but why kill off a franchise possibility that many fans want to see. Every now and then a new Scarlet Spider toy is released or reference is made in a comic or video game. Marvel needs to stop teasing his return if they have no intentions of delivering. Isn't it time to finally bring Ben Reilly back for good?