Marvel has provided a preview of the first issue of Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider, the new title spinning out of The Clone Conspiracy.
In the history of comics, there are storylines that have become legendary for all the wrong reasons. Storylines that are considered so bad that fans and critics alike use them for generations as examples of what not to do in comics.
And then there are storylines that are so terrible and so infamous, that they become the stuff of legend.
“The Clone Saga” from the pages of Spider-Man falls squarely into the latter category.
For those lucky enough to have avoided it, “The Clone Saga” was a storyline that ran through the Spider-Man titles during the mid to late 90s. It saw the return of Peter Parker’s clone from Amazing Spider-Man #149 as well as the supervillain The Jackal. The clone took the name Ben Reilly, wore a hideous costume, replaced Peter Parker for a time and then died.
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And that’s all the detail I will go into seeing as the entire storyline fills so many trade paperbacks you’d need a separate bookcase just to hold them.
For years afterwards Spider-Man writers avoided “The Clone Saga” and Ben Reilly like the plague. They wanted to put the Spider-Man titles as far away from that storyline as they could. But for some reason, current Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott just couldn’t stay away. For years since he took over solo writing duties on the book he has been bringing elements of “The Clone Saga” back. It all culminated in last year’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy which saw the return of Ben Reilly from the grave.
And now he is getting his own series.
This April’s Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 picks up where The Clone Conspiracy left off, with Reilly back from the dead and once again in a terrible costume. The new series is written by Peter David with artwork by former Amazing Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley.
From the Marvel solicitation:
"That’s right, Ben Reilly is webslinging his way back into comic shops everywhere and he’s bringing two of the most accomplished & beloved Spider-Man creators of all-time with him! Only question is – will it be as a hero…or a villain? In the aftermath of The Clone Conspiracy, Ben Reilly has returned with a new lease on life. Not as Peter Parker’s clone – but as his own man. Will suiting up once more as the Scarlet Spider be enough to outrun his personal demons? All while being able to stay one step ahead of the man hunting him – Kaine Parker – the former Scarlet Spider?! More importantly, can you ever truly outrun your past?"
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 goes on sale April 26 and features a cover by Bagley with variant covers by Greg Land, Tom Lyle, J. Scott Campbell and John Tyler Christopher.