Off My Mind: Why The Scarlet Spider Is Still Alive

Posted by G-Man (39821 posts) - - Show Bio

The Clone Saga. Those words make most Spider-Man fans and comic book readers cringe. While it's been years since the infamous story took place and was resolved. To this day, I am still unsatisfied in the outcome.

When I first started reading The Amazing Spider-Man in the 80s, I did pick up the back issues that involved Professor Miles Warren, aka the Jackyl. He was a brilliant man that was able to discover the key to creating clones. While a little unhinged, he became obsessed with some of his students, specifically, Gwen Stacy. He created a clone of her but she wasn't the only one. Because Peter Parker was one of his prized students, he borrowed a DNA sample of him when it came to testing his cloning theories. This lead to his discovery that Parker was Spider-Man. Spider-Man fought his clone. The clone died and Spider-Man disposed of the body. Or so he thought.

Years later he (and us readers) discovered that the clone did survive. Coming to terms with the fact he was a copy of Peter Parker, he headed west and took the name Ben Reilly (using Uncle Ben's name along with Aunt May's maiden name). When Aunt May was on her death bed (again), he felt he had to return to New York City and Spider-Man's life.

Readers were subjected to the fact that Ben could actually have been the original Spider-Man and the character we had been reading for years was a fake. This outraged fans (along with some other crazy overuse of Spider-clones) and Ben was killed, putting an end to the question of who was the original and who was the clone.

With the way his death was handled, I still do not believe he truly died.

This isn't just wishful thinking from a fan of the Scarlet Spider. Yes, trying to convince readers he was the original was asking a bit much. Yes, there were way too many clones and the story did go on a little longer than it should have. These aren't reasons for it to be necessary for Ben to die.

Ben dyed his hair blonde to differentiate himself from Peter Parker. He created a new identity and, even in New York City, had a completely new cast of supporting characters. Ben could have easily moved west, perhaps all the way to California. We could have had the Scarlet Spider fight crime on the West Coast and Marvel would have another Spider-character to add to their merchandising franchises. This would also give them a single 'Peter Parker' with the old girl problems that they craved. Thus, the marriage between Peter and Mary Jane could still exist. Instead, Ben was killed.

As brilliant as Professor Warren was, apparently he couldn't completely perfect the cloning process. Many of the clones he created suffered from a flaw that caused them to deteriorate over time. Their bodies weren't completely stable. Ben was his one perfect clone. He didn't have the flaw that the others did. Simply put, his body wouldn't dissolve into a mess of human goo.

The return of Norman Osborn would play a part in the downfall of Ben Reilly. Knowing Spider-Man's secret identity, Osborn unleashed several diabolical plans intended to torment Peter. Using Alison Mongrain to drug a pregnant Mary Jane, MJ went into premature labor. At the hospital (where Mongrain also popped up as a nurse), the Parkers were told their daughter didn't survive. Later we were told that Mongraine actually took the infant and gave little May Parker to the Scriers, a group Osborn worked with. This was merely one of Osborn's ways to torture Peter.

Seeing the close relationship Peter had developed with Ben (they had become like brothers), Norman's next plan was underway. The question of who was the original and who was the clone caused some tension. Fake data was leaked to them that almost put them at odds against one another. This plan failed as the two didn't really care, as long as they had each other in their lives.

Norman proceeded to kidnap Ben and beat him within an inch of his life. Norman's Green Goblin glider was about to impale Spider-Man but Ben pushed him out of the way, taking the hit meant for Peter. When Ben died, his body immediately decomposed, confirming that Peter was, in fact, the original and Ben was the clone.

But that doesn't make sense.

Ben was the perfect clone. He didn't have the genetic flaw the other clones had. His body didn't break down and decompose like the others. If he was a perfect clone without this flaw, why on Earth would his body decompose just because he died. HE DIDN'T HAVE THAT FLAW!

Shortly before his heroic sacrifice and death, he was kidnapped by Osborn. Osborn didn't kill him right away. Sure he beat on him but kept him alive as a way to torment Peter. Because Peter and Ben had become as close as brothers, Norman should be satisfied with Peter having to cope with Ben's death. But people get over death eventually. What if that wasn't actually Ben that made the noble act of saving Peter? What if Norman's scheme went further.

After taking Ben, he could have easily had Ben replaced with another clone (he had been working with Professor Warren in all this). This clone could have been programmed to think it was Ben and to give his life for Peter on cue when Norman unleashed his glider. Ben could be alive and being held captive. He's rotting away in some dark dank prison while Peter thinks he died saving his life. Whenever Norman sees Peter, he can laugh inside about this.

Is this a stretch? Tell me this isn't something twisted that Norman would do. It just doesn't make sense that a perfect clone without the decomposing genetic flaw would do so just because it died. That wasn't Ben Reilly. Would the comic book readers accept the return of the Scarlet Spider? I didn't have a problem with the debacle of trying to claim Spider-Man had been a clone for twenty years because I knew it would all revert to the status quo eventually. I say it's time to welcome back Ben and Marvel should take advantage of having another character they can make merchandise with so I can buy it all up.

#1 Posted by pulseangel666 (347 posts) - - Show Bio

Ben is cool, but plz let him be death and don't bring him back, give pete his spider-sense back instead during spider-island!

#2 Edited by cmaprice (857 posts) - - Show Bio

Wasn't Ben in that issue (655?) where we saw all of Spidey's dead characters? Was that an editorial view, or merely one from Peter's mind?

#3 Posted by Grim (2188 posts) - - Show Bio


#4 Posted by DarcStorm (254 posts) - - Show Bio
@pulseangel666 said:
" Ben is cool, but plz let him be death and don't bring him back, give pete his spider-sense back instead during spider-island! "
No! Let Ben return in Spider-Island. Scarlet Spider would make for great stories that Marvel wants to use on Peter, but always second guess themselves on. Think about it...Scarlet Spider and Black Cat...huh...huh? The stories are overflowin' in my head right now.
#5 Posted by Eyz (3187 posts) - - Show Bio
@DarcStorm said:
" @pulseangel666 said:
" Ben is cool, but plz let him be death and don't bring him back, give pete his spider-sense back instead during spider-island! "
No! Let Ben return in Spider-Island. Scarlet Spider would make for great stories that Marvel wants to use on Peter, but always second guess themselves on. Think about it...Scarlet Spider and Black Cat...huh...huh? The stories are overflowin' in my head right now. "
I always thought having Ben Reilly aroundwas a good way to tell stories using Pete with wouldn't allow for.
Like his (Pete) romance with Black Cat, or some other girls... Appearing on different Super-teams..
Though with his satanic divorce and Marvel putting Spidey in various teams anyway, doesn't seem they had a problem with both in the end :P
#6 Posted by blur1528 (1095 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it would be cool to see his return.

#7 Edited by DH69 (4324 posts) - - Show Bio



while i wouldnt mind Ben coming back from the dead, i feel that its not the right time. With spider-island coming up he's gonna be up to his neck with arachnid wannabe's it wouldnt be right to bring Ben back so soon after something like that, hell they just killed off Kaine a couple months ago...and brought him back


lets just get them to kill off aunt May once and for all.

#8 Posted by Mrfuzzynutz (1321 posts) - - Show Bio

No No No!!!

Spidey is screwed up enough as it is. We can't mess it up further with the return of the Spider-Clone!

#9 Posted by DarcStorm (254 posts) - - Show Bio

Ben bein' alive doesn't mean "A fight with Pete", in fact it means HELP (for the moment). You see, if it comes out that Ben IS still alive, and that he was held captive all these years. Then he'll probably be pissed at Pete. The thing is, IF Norman DID keep Ben alive, then he probably told Ben that Pete KNOWS he's still alive and wasn't doin' a thing to help save him. The years of his captivity would be proof of that. But this would cause hatred between Ben and Pete, which would result in leadin' Ben down a dark path and pushin' him into bein' a momentary villain for Pete again.

Of course later on this would be resolved, but still makes for great comic stories.

#10 Posted by KRYPTON (2421 posts) - - Show Bio

The Scarlet Spider needs to return. Hopefully Spider-Island will reveal this, who knows.

#11 Posted by pulseangel666 (347 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, it is going to be some batman inc kinda stuff if he returns, peter in New York, Ben in LA or something then...
#12 Posted by tonis (6561 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to say, I'm not normally a fan of resurrecting a character but that's a damn creative explanation and I have to admit I'd be reading it if they did it :)

#13 Posted by Decept-O (7827 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man:  Pat Benatar sang it best:  "My Clone Sleeps Alone".  So does Ben Reilly.  With the worms!


Your obsession with the Scarlet Spider is unhealthy!  Bwa Ha Ha!


Do you think his body wouldn't decompose like other bodies when dead?  Or would it be delayed because of his genetic make-up? 


Well, G-Man, Marvel will probably take you up on your proposed pitch, so when Spider-Man has more Clone story arcs, we will know whom to blame! 


Blast You, G-Man!

#14 Posted by ddaann1985 (136 posts) - - Show Bio

Ben should stay dead, pure and simple :)

#15 Posted by danhimself (21320 posts) - - Show Bio

I would love for Ben to come back!!!  I also think it would be cool to see what Peter's deal with Mephisto did to Ben's mind since Ben shares most of his memories with Peter

#16 Posted by Soldier zero (256 posts) - - Show Bio

Last years Marvel put out a "Alternate Ending" to the Clone Saga, which had Harry as the big bad instead of his dad, and Ben Reilly still alive. Some clues after Brand New Day impleid a possible reboot of the Clone Saga.
Personally I liked the character (although I hate how the Clone Saga was handled), especially since he was the demonstartion that nurture can and should be mnor eimportant than nature.

#17 Posted by Arevish (305 posts) - - Show Bio

To take it back again, ruining a character

#18 Posted by halfpastwhenever (143 posts) - - Show Bio

Reading this article has filled me with a small bit of hope that we could see Ben again. Thanks Big G :)

#19 Posted by spider-man 2996 (726 posts) - - Show Bio

Bring him back. This article should give Marvel some idea's into how to bring him back.
#20 Posted by hitechlolife (194 posts) - - Show Bio

I always liked Ben Reilly. It'd be great if he's been around all this time in a completely different guise.

#21 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (41774 posts) - - Show Bio

they should totally bring him back, Pete needs a proper spider family like batman has the network, they should ether bring Ben back or use the current Scarlet Spider more prominently 

#22 Posted by Emerald Dragonfly (225 posts) - - Show Bio


If Ben would return that way and they would find out that Ben actually was real Peter and that dumb bag of stupidness that actually is today's Spider-Man is a clone...
...yeah. I like this already.
#23 Posted by Emerald Dragonfly (225 posts) - - Show Bio
@spiderbat87: What Pete needs is a glider in HIS back. 'cause now this is the only way to change things. Sadly, it won't save all the MARV-- sorry, SHAMELESS SCUM© Comics Universe from getting trashed'n'squashed by people like MARVEL ARCHITECTS GODDAMN MASTERS OF WRITING I WOULD SAY EVEN GODS OF COMICS (sarcasm).
#24 Posted by Primmaster64 (21663 posts) - - Show Bio

I misss Ben

#25 Posted by dondasch (931 posts) - - Show Bio

People who think that death is anything more than a mere speedbump in the Marvel/DC universe should be hit in the face with a rolled up Alpha Flight comic until repenting

#26 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23390 posts) - - Show Bio

Why is Ben Reilly still around? Because he's from the 90s. Now while he may be a terrible character and idea, coming from one of the worst story arcs in history, 90s Marvel was infinitely better than current Marvel. Marvel wants us to remember that they were really good once.

#27 Posted by Psycorvus (71 posts) - - Show Bio

Would this really be any worse than bringing back Mocking Bird after all these years at the end of the Skrull Invasion? She's been dead for how long but no was for what ever reason kept alive by the aliens that wanted to take over the planet. BAM! She's back in nspandex and beating on villains again.


Marvel could totally do it and as a child of the 90's I spent most of those years as a Spider fan with Ben in them.


It would sweem a little odd that Norman would do it and we not seen any other evidence until now but lets face it Marvel are gonna be using Dark Reign as a plot device for SO many years to come. 


I say bring Ben back or bring a spider clone out (Because lets face it, why would Norman give up on this idea? He could have so much fun tormenting Pete with it) that has Parkers memories just like Ben did but make them splintered and decided it would be better to move to L.A. or where ever and with Pete's sense of responsibility flowing through his veins set himself up as the resident web slinger. It really could work.


I know we have a heroic Venom now (and lets face it how long until Flash goes from Spider-Man's biggest fan to his greatest enemy... Just riding the cliche pony all the way) but we do have tow BATMEN at the moment so we could see this work.


GIVE US SPIDER-MAN 2 OR ANOTHER SCARLET SPIDER!!! Hell Marvel could just give us BEN REILY THE UNTOLD STORIES if they wanted. Ben was on the road for five years and in the Marvel Universe that a hell of a long time.



#28 Posted by Caligula (12661 posts) - - Show Bio

it's funny how everyone (including myself) hopes each new Spider-Man arc brings Ben back.

#29 Posted by Scarlet_Rogue (188 posts) - - Show Bio

I hated the clone saga, but I liked Ben and the Scarlet-Spider persona. I think one of the most uncreative things they did was kill him off, unfortunately bringing him back may also fall into that cliche of resurrecting dead heroes.

#30 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm another Scarlet Spider fan so I think what you're proposing here isn't a bad idea at all.  I do not believe it was beyond Norman Osborn's intellectual acumen to create a clone of Ben and that that was the one that died when readers like us were led to believe it was.  I say bring him back and show readers that was the case like you suggested. Great theory!

#31 Posted by Scarlet_Rogue (188 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emerald Dragonfly: you're retcon goes too far. Two wrong's aren't making rights. I'm sheepishly for bringing Ben back, and for ending omd/bnd, but doing both at once (and bringing back that terrible "real Peter" question to do it) is bad form.
#32 Posted by EdwardWindsor (14517 posts) - - Show Bio

Bring Back Ben !

#33 Posted by The Hottness (4207 posts) - - Show Bio



Cmon back Ben!



#34 Posted by Kairan1979 (17133 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like too see Scarlte Spider again.

#35 Posted by Sobe Cin (602 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the idea of Scarlet Spider coming back from the dead. Heck you look at the picture frames above (and yes I did read those comics- back then). It almost looks like it could have been Sandman masquerading as Ben Reilly. Which would allow for Ben to imprisoned this whole time (or have him years ago and living somewhere in South America or Australia.) Let him come back. And heck let him join the New Avengers. Spider-Man is on too many teams. Just like Wolverine and Luke Cage. Wolverine should be in Uncanny X-Men, X-Force, Wolverine and maybe New Avengers. Not Astonishing X-Men, or Avengers.


Spider-Man: Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers and FF (And let this be short lived- so they can bring She-Hulk onto the team).


Luke Cage: New Avengers only- Remove him from Thunderbolts, he doesn't fit.

#36 Posted by TheShame (512 posts) - - Show Bio

Totally agree with you G man.  Maybe Ben could be brought back as the Spider society's new hunter and Ezekiel could take the place of Miguel....who knows? Ben's death was probably one of those intentional loopholes.  After the event, an imperfect clone of the Green Goblin decayed suring a fight with maybe it wasn't the real ben.  Maybe the Jackal has more on the conveyor belt...

#37 Posted by CaptainUseless (745 posts) - - Show Bio

I really hope that your theory is right (Or at least that Ben Reilly is alive somehow).

#38 Posted by ssejllenrad (13028 posts) - - Show Bio

When (not if) he comes back, G-Man called it! :D

#39 Posted by Daveyo520 (2469 posts) - - Show Bio

I really liked his costume. 

#40 Posted by AskaniSon295 (453 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah I thinks he's probably still alive and osborne just let Pete think he died. But when he comes back he's gonna need a new costume maybe some kind of combination of Scarlet Spider costume and The Stark Armor Costume.

#41 Posted by zombietag (1621 posts) - - Show Bio

i dont know if its all that, but theyll probably bring him back at some point. it would be really funny if everything you just said happened and they released a story about it somewhat soon haha

#42 Posted by sladewilson30 (238 posts) - - Show Bio

awesome, now they should bring back thunderstrike
#43 Posted by SirSparkington (344 posts) - - Show Bio

The clone saga wasn't all that bad (the first arc of it was pretty good). I'd love to see Ben Reilly come back some way. I always thought he was cooler than Peter when I was a kid.

#44 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2135 posts) - - Show Bio

I miss Ben, Peter and Ben, Double Spidey's!

#45 Posted by Trodorne (2759 posts) - - Show Bio

See now this makes Scarlet-Spider much better than spider-man. because he still has his spider-senses it would be a great thing to use Ben on occassions to fight lets say the sinister six.

#46 Posted by PhantomAres (162 posts) - - Show Bio

I have been rereading old issues for almost a year now, and in my process I read the clone saga in its entirety. I didn't think it's as bad as it was made out. Sure it was a bit sloppily done, and it did like to go in circles, but it was an interesting read. Scarlet's death though just made me laugh. They REALLY piled on the fact that they were killing the guy off, never before have I seen such an onslaught to a single character. It was major overkill in my opinion, and if they tried to undo this now and reintroduce Ben... then I wouldn't complain. As long as they kept Uncle Ben's killer's daughter away, she was just annoying as hell.

#47 Posted by TDK_1997 (16121 posts) - - Show Bio
@pulseangel666 said:
" Ben is cool, but plz let him be death and don't bring him back, give pete his spider-sense back instead during spider-island! "
#48 Edited by leokearon (1952 posts) - - Show Bio

An interesting theory especially since who did Ben )a perfect clone) die and turn to dust, while Kaine (an imperfect clone) died and left a body which could be buried?    




I really want to see Ben back.

#49 Posted by SQReview (227 posts) - - Show Bio

I would love a return of the Scarlet Spider. He's one of my favorite Marvel characters. I would pick up every issue as it was released.

#50 Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy (8841 posts) - - Show Bio

Bring him back.

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