Review: Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider (2017) #13


The latest chapter in Ben Reilly’s off-kilter saga includes a big action sequence that’ll make 90s Spider-Man fans smile.

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Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Khary Randolph & Emilio Lopez

It’s rare for a comic to strike a balance of fan service and creative choices as perfectly as this series has.

On the one hand, seeing the original Scarlet Spider team up with the Kaine Scarlet Spider and 3 of the Slingers against 90s Wolverine villain Cyber in a Hornet costume is the sort of action-figure-mashing fun that young me would’ve salivated over. On the other hand, using this batch of characters in this particular way is, well, kinda weird. In this case, I mean “weird” in the best way possible.

This whole Ben Reilly series has been playing with the Spider-Man formula in some unique ways. The writer behind Spider-Man 2099 and “The Commuter Cometh!” is a great fit for the post-Clone Conspiracy Scarlet Spider. The action, which dominates most of this particular issue, feels like it could come out of Amazing Spider-Man. Yet, some of the more inventive ideas could only work in a side series like this. I mean, could you imagine Peter Parker using a priest to turn the tide the way Kaine does?

As much as I dig this series, I can never quite decide how I feel about Will Sliney’s art. He puts in solid work with some bold action sequences, but he suffers a bit in comparison to the other artists to contribute to this book. Initial artist Mark Bagley is a Spider-Man legend. And, both recent fill-in André Lima Araújo and current cover artist Khary Randolph have their own unique flavors. Still, I do have to give Sliney props for how his layouts and poses help sell the humor. Comedy isn’t always easy in comics, so his pulling that off with relatively rigid figures is commendable.

B. . Peter David, Will Sliney, Rachelle Rosenberg. . Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider (2017) #13

Next: Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #15

All in all, this issue did a good job of wrapping up the current threat while hinting at what’s next. The mention of Mysterio certainly peaks my interest. Soon the series will be tying into a Doctor Strange event, which isn’t something I’m too hyped for, but the series hasn’t let me down yet!