Okay I really loved this character. Thought it'd be fitting that one of my first new topics would be about him. He had so much potential but Marvel F'd it up. They were moaning how the "kids" couldn't relate to a married Spider-Man. This was their answer. You had the single hero with girl problems and so forth. They messed up when they tried telling all the faithful readers that the Spider-man they had been reading for 20 years was a fake, a clone.
To get the foot out of their mouth they had Ben die in a battle against Norman Osborn and his dead body decompose ('cause that's what all the clones' bodies evenutally did).
My problem with this (besides being a copout) is he was a perfect clone. His body didn't have the decomposing defect. Why oh why would his death bring that on? Makes no sense.
My theory is he is still alive. Norman, being such a bastard, made another clone, programed it with Ben's memories and had him die in front of Peter as another way to torment him. The real Ben is being held captive somewhere.
Peter David teased us with the meniton of Ben in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14. I really hope that's a hint that he'll come back soon.
I've gone on about this at another message board and was surprised that a lot of people did like him.