The Scarlet Spider, also known as Ben Reilly, is a fan favorite Spider Man character introduced during the 70’s. Cloned from Peter Parker’s DNA by the mad scientist, Dr. Miles Warren, Ben became a popular figure in the Spider Man mythos, and actually took over the mantle of Spider Man for a time as well. Unfortunately, Ben was killed off during a later storyline, but fans of the character were hopeful that he would eventually be revived. During the events of The Clone Conspiracy story arc, Ben Reilly returned, but it was not quite what fans had wanted. Dan Slott, who wrote Clone Conspiracy, has become known for his controversial choices regarding Spider Man, and turning Ben Reilly into the main villain of said story was not received well by Ben’s fans. When it was announced that Ben would be receiving his own ongoing comic after The Clone Conspiracy, many did not know what to expect. Once the new costume was revealed however, fans voiced their disdain for Scarlet Spider’s new look. One common criticism was the design of the suit was incredibly similar to Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman’s design, especially with the addition of the hood. Then around a week ago, the news dropped that at the end of the first arc of the comic, Ben would revert back to his original costume.
Even though I agree with most of the fans that the new costume was not great, I am a little disappointed that Mark Bagley, the artist for the upcoming Scarlet Spider title, did not stick to his guns. This situation reminds me of when Jim Gordon became Batman for a short time, and people had issues with the design of the mech suit.
While I cannot speak for anyone else, the mech suit eventually grew on me, and Jim’s other costume was also pretty cool. I thought Gordon’s secondary costume appeared as a sort of compromise, and the story was also pretty good. While this suit does have problems, I think it might have eventually grown on some people. Also, there was nothing stopping Bagley from going back and revising his design later in the series, so nothing said this costume was permanent. Flawed as the new suit is, I still think it might have had potential if it had stayed around longer in the series.
As for its resemblance to Spider Gwen costume, that is where I had most of my issues with it. I like Gwen’s costume just fine, but Scarlet’s costume appears as if they just gave Gwen’s costume a different paint job. While superheroes change costumes all the time, the ones that work best are those that incorporate both classic and new elements. This not only pleases new readers who are looking to get into comics, but also long time fans who may not enjoy such a drastic change to the costume. Bagley’s design did not incorporate any classic elements from Scarlet Spider’s original look, and in turn caused the repercussion from fans.
This also could be seen as a business move, as to draw in a larger audience and appease longtime fans. While it was said when this news came out that Ben’s return to the classic Scarlet Spider costume was based on the first story arc of the series, I think most of us could guess it was done because of the backlash it received. If people were not going to pick up the book for this reason, then it makes sense for them to change this from business perspective. With the re-introduction of the classic costume, it is more likely that the comic will attract more long-standing fans than originally perceived. Whether or not the content is good or not, I don’t know, but I am hopeful that Peter David, the writer for Scarlet Spider, and Bagley will come up with an interesting storyline for the return of Ben Reilly.
See you all next week,
P.S. What did you all think of this segment? Should I do more of this? Leave a comment down bellow and tell me what you guys think