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July 26th, 2011 – Marvel just revealed the October solicits and guess what was included:

SPIDER-MAN: THE COMPLETE BEN REILLY EPIC BOOK 2 TPB
Written by VARIOUS
Penciled by VARIOUS
Cover by JOE ST. PIERRE

There’s a new Spider-Man in town: Ben Reilly! But a new web-slinger doesn’t mean fewer problems — or any less danger! Just ask the Punisher, Mysterio, the New Warriors, the Black Cat, Tombstone, Poison, Silver Sable, the Human Torch, the Sandman and Venom! It’s the continuing adventures of the clone of Spider-Man!
Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1962) #407-408, NEW WARRIORS (1990) #67, SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN (1996) #1, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #230, SPIDER-MAN (1990) #64-65, SPIDER-MAN/PUNISHER: FAMILY PLOT #1-2, WEB OF SCARLET SPIDER #3-4, and material from SPIDER-MAN HOLIDAY SPECIAL and VENOM: ALONG CAME A SPIDER #1-4.
424 PGS./Rated A …$39.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5612-3

As usual, the original Clone Saga cover recolored looks very sharp. On to our next order of business. Normally, I would stay away from this sort of speculation, because it came back to bite me during The Grim Hunt, but could the most recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man have hinted at Ben's return? Spider-Island officially kicked off in Amazing Spider-Man #666, complete with the return of The Jackal to the main story of the book, as well as many Dr. Miles Warren clones. Jackal's sidekick is a mutated Kaine, who now looks more like a jacked version of the villain from the Spider-Man Final Adventure mini series during the Clone Saga. Toward the end of the issue, a man is shown in a stasis tube that The Jackal reveres as being "Perfect. Down to the last cell." Jackal goes on to say, "After all my years of obsessing over Parker's DNA... I have to admit, I'd always dreamed of studying this prime specimen." He also tells the Kaine monster not to be jealous. He goes on to question the woman in the shadows who brought him the man in the stasis tube, asking "and now you want me to try out our experiment on a real firstborn of this era?" The Jackal then turns the man into a large white Man-Spider, similar to what Kaine has become.

Could this be Ben? Is seems like Marvel wants us to think so. To Marvel, a simple message: "I dare you."

Last but not least, we have the solicit for the end of Spider-Island:

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #671
Written by DAN SLOTT
Pencils & Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS
"Spider-Island" PART FIVE
Now the moment you’ve been dying to see, Tiger!  Mary Jane Watson finally spiders-up! Plus a giant battle pitting brother against brother. But let's face it, you just care about that cover!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Hmmm... brother against brother. Who in the Spider-books could fill the role of "brothers"? Who indeed... Mind games, Marvel. Mind games.


July 26th, 2011 – It has been a crazy weekend coming out of the San Diego Comic-Con. The Internet was set abuzz (OK, 12 people were set abuzz) when this photo was shown during the Amazing Spider-Man panel at the convention:

Now, one could assume that with the return of The Jackal, Ben might be coming back, too. Or is this another Marvel fake-out designed to tease those hopeful for Ben's return? Well, here are some quotes from the panel regarding Ben:

Ben Reilly will not be coming back any time soon. “It’s a fun character, but I think that story has been told. Or I’m lying, and he’s in Spider-Island,” said Wacker. And after a pause, “But he’s not.” -MTV.com

Will we see more clones? Remender says that Jackal's cloning of core cast members plays into Slott's plans. -theouthousers.com

The "one Clone Saga fan in the entire room" (his words) asked if Ben Reilly was going to come back anytime soon. Wacker: "No." -ComicBookMovie.com

So it seems that we got the standard "Ben isn't coming back" shoot-down from Marvel only to have them tease the audience with the image of Ben's Scarlet Spider hoodie in flames. What does it all mean? I have no idea, but at least it keeps the News page fresh! Bring Back Ben!


July 16th, 2011 – In a recent Newsarama interview with Dan Slott promoting Spider-Island, Dan was asked about the Jackal playing a pivotal role. Here is an excerpt:

Nrama: One interesting thing about "Spider-Island" is the choice to have Jackal play a major role, since the character is so heavily associated with the Clone Saga, which is still seen as kind of radioactive — no pun intended — among some fans. Is the choice to use him here inspired in part to give him another major storyline to be associated with?

Slott: He's going to be very true to character. He's one of the wonderful mad scientists of Spider-Man's world, and we're going to play him for all he's worth. If you're not a fan of the Clone Saga, there have been other controversial Spider-Man stories over the years with many villains, and they've come back, and they’ve had fan favorite stories.

Personally, I like the Clone Saga era. I think it's fun — Ben Reilly, impact webbing, and all that stuff.

Read the rest of the article here.


April 27th, 2011 – Maybe you read Amazing Spider-Man 659? Guess who's baaaaaaaack...


April 14th, 2011SPIDER-MAN: THE COMPLETE BEN REILLY EPIC BOOK 1 TPB
Written by TOM DEFALCO, MIKE LACKEY, HOWARD MACKIE, TODD DEZAGO, GLENN HERDLING, EVAN SKOLNIK & DAN JURGENS
Penciled by MARK BAGLEY, GIL KANE, JOHN ROMITA JR., TOD SMITH, SAL BUSCEMA, PARIS KAROUNOS, TOM MORGAN, SCOTT MCDANIEL, PATRICK ZIRCHER, JOE ST. PIERRE & DAN JURGENS
Cover by STEVEN BUTLER

Meet Ben Reilly, clone of Spider-Man! When Peter Parker decides to retire, Ben takes up the job as the new web-slinger in town, the Scarlet Spider! And there’s no shortage of foes waiting to fight him — including Dr. Octopus, Venom, Carnage, the new Green Goblin, Kaine, the High Evolutionary, Joystick and the Looter! Plus: The Scarlet Spider joins the New Warriors! Collecting SPIDER-MAN: THE PARKER YEARS, NEW WARRIORS (1990) #65-66, SCARLET SPIDER UNLIMITED #1, WEB OF SCARLET SPIDER #1-2, AMAZING SCARLET SPIDER #1-2, SCARLET SPIDER #1-2, SPECTACULAR SCARLET SPIDER #1-2, GREEN GOBLIN #3. and SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN (1996) #0 and MINI-COMIC.
424 PGS./Rated A ...$39.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5545-4


April 5th, 2011 – Thanks to Matthew for pushing me to post up this info. I was reluctant to do so because there is nothing specifically involving Ben, and it feels too much like a tease for Clone Saga fans - but here we go. it looks like the next big arc in Amazing Spider-Man this Summer is called Spider-Island, and the covers feature some Ben Reilly costume references, and seem to boast the return of the creator himself, The Jackal! Could we see the return of the Gwen clone and possibly even Ben!? Probably not, but it is nice to see the Clone Saga is still acknowledged.


February 23th, 2011 – Today we got a nice little surprise in the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man (Issue 655). The story was another rehash of Peter being tormented over those who have died because he failed to act or act in time. While this has been done to death (pun) it is always a great opportunity for Ben to reappear! And reappear he did! Two panels worth of Ben dressed as the Scarlet Spider. We also get some Kaine and even a single panel appearance for The Jackal! Thanks Dan Slott! Keep it coming.


February 16th, 2011 – Ben has a new figure coming out! Hasbro will soon release this Scarlet Spider figure as part of their 3-inch scale Marvel Universe line. This should be due out by Summer.


February 10th, 2011 – Yes, I'm sorry... but this is what passes for news these days. I have added another Ben appearance to the list. Found a panel in Spectacular Spider-Man #250 where Norman Osborn returns after his near death at the end of Revelations. Click on the image to see the whole thing.


January 20th, 2011 – Happy New Year Clone Fans! I have an image for you: The cover to the Complete Clone Saga Epic Book 5! I also have the original cover for comparison. The trade will be released on February 2nd. Thanks to Adam for the heads up that the Clone Saga trades are being renamed to The Complete Ben Reilly Epic and restarting with book 1. This new series should begin in the Summer.


November 17th, 2010 – Since things have slowed considerably regarding Ben Reilly news, I thought I would post a panel from Fantastic Four 416. Ben makes a cameo, and so I present to you his relatively unknown appearance. Click to view the full panel.


October 12th, 2010 – News has been a little slow for Ben fans recently (feels a lot like 1997-2009, again!) but we do still get to look forward to the Clone Saga Epic collections every few months. Check out the recolored cover to the 4th book.


September 19th, 2010 – Ben gets a mention in a very strange article. Nice to see he is still remembered... I guess.


September 16th, 2010The Complete Clone Saga Epic Book 3 hit shelves this week! Check out the recolored cover side-by-side with the original.


September 15th, 2010 – Well, I don't know who collects the merchandising checks for poor departed Ben, but it looks like a new Ben product will be hitting stores this month in the form of this new HeroClix figurines in a series called "Web of Spider-Man." Check out the new Ben Reilly and Scarlet Spider HeroClix!


September 1st, 2010 – Some disappointing news of out of the Canadian Fan Expo. The highlights?

Continuing with questions from the crowd, a Ben Reilly-era Spider-Man cosplayer caught the attention of the panelists. Fittingly, the clone costumed reader asked if the recent Marvel miniseries revisiting the “Clone Wars” was testing the waters for a possible return of Reilly.

“Break his heart, Steve,” said Singh.

“We’re not bringing Ben Reilly back. His story is told, he turned to dust,” said Wacker to the noticeably hurt fan.

Taking the time to divulge further on the controversial Spider-Man era, Wacker explained that, initially, the idea of bringing a clone into the series was an attempt to get rid of the marriage between Mary Jane and Peter. After editorial cold feet -- and not to mention bringing in different artists, writers, editors -- the story took a turn for the convoluted. “People who worked on the books will tell you, they were grasping for something. It was not a strong story but I felt there were elements of that which were great. I like Peter to have those memories and to be inspired by that stuff,” said Wacker.

The whole article can be found here. Looks like Marvel hasn't made up their mind on Ben. Why dangle the random stories in Web of Spider-Man? Time will tell.


August 14th, 2010 – Here is a video with footage of the Scarlet Spider alternate costume from Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions!


August 11th, 2010Marvel.com has posted more images of Scarlet Spider from Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.


August 4th, 2010 – Ben Reilly will make another video game appearance in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions! Scarlet Spider will be a Kmart exclusive for fans who pre-order the game.


July 29th, 2010 – The Ben Reilly Tribute is now on Twitter! Follow us to get all the latest news and updates as soon as they are posted.


July 25th, 2010 – News from the San Diego Comic-Con! Ben Reilly was on the minds of a few fans who pressed the new panel of Spidey creators for answers about our favorite clone:

"While many fans expressed their desire to see the return of Ben Reilly — something that is being worked on, according to (Tom) Brennan — the end has arrived for Mayday Parker, with her swan song coming up in "Spider-Girl: The End" from Tom DeFalco. Brennan told the crowd that there's still some hope for Mayday's future if sales warrant her eventual return."

This is amazing news, and we can't wait to see what happens next for Ben. Possibly unrelated entirely or a hint of things to come for Ben, the panel also had this to say:

"Audience members were invited to ask their questions, with most inquiries directed Slott's way. He was asked if there would be any new villains introduced in "Big Time," with Slott teasing that we'll see characters that haven't been seen in a while coming back to true form and some with new spins, in addition to new villains. "I've got to write two of these [books] per month," he said. "So I've got to write a lot of stuff.""

Check out the rest of the article here.


July 20th, 2010 – First I want to apologize for the recent site outages, my host is switching over servers, and this is a price we pay for free service. To make up for it, I have added a few new Ben pics to the Images section as well as created a wallpaper for all to enjoy which is now posted to the Thumbnail Gallery.

For those who have been following the Grim Hunt storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, we already know Ben did not make an appearance and Ezekiel was not who he claimed to be. Disapponting, but hopefully we will see more of Ben Reilly sometime soon. This will not be happening in the current Web of Spider-Man series, which has been cancelled after issue 12. Perhaps the Clone Saga will be mentioned in the upcoming One Moment in Time arc where every unanswered question about the Brand New Day changes to continuity will be revealed.

Finally, while fans were not treated to a Ben Reilly appearance in Grim Hunt, Clone Saga survivor Kaine played a major part in this arc, able to redeem himself as a hero and seemingly make the ultimate sacrifice to save Peter. Kaine even had his own back-up story in each Grim Hunt issue. Not too shabby for our favorite degenerating imperfect clone (who admittedly looked pretty good the way he was drawn in the Grim Hunt.)

For those who read to the very end of the special sized issue of Amazing Spider-Man 637, they were treated to a small glimpse of Kaine's fate.


June 16th, 2010 – We have some purely speculative news today: Two issues of Amazing Spider-Man were released this morning, issues 633 and 634. Issue 633 finishes the Lizard arc and leads directly into The Grim Hunt storyline. A few months ago we posted the cover of the Spider-Man: Grim Hunt - Kraven Saga issue which featured Ben on the cover as well as in some interior art. Here is a piece of that art which is relevant to today's news.

The gray haired fellow is Ezekiel who was revealed to be a part of the Spider God Totem several years ago when J.M. Straczynski tried to explain the origin of Spider-Man's powers. He was killed off and never heard from again until today's second issue of Amazing Spider-Man.

Hopefully this means that Ben will make an appearance in an upcoming issue of Amazing Spider-Man as well. I would prefer in non-zombie form. Also, Kaine was heavily featured in the opening issue of the Grim Hunt story and looks like he will have a continuing role. Kaine is also featured in an ongoing back-up story which shows how Kaine and the original Kraven the Hunter first met during the Clone Saga.


June 4th, 2010 – It's almost impossible to believe, but we now have the second volume of The Complete Clone Saga Epic which was released a week ago. The stories Marvel tried so hard to ignore for over a decade are finally being collected for Ben's very deserving fans. To celebrate, I have the newly colored cover pages for both trades and their original counterparts. Enjoy!


May 17th, 2010 – Here is a summary of the Web of Spider-Man #8 Ben Reilly short story:

"Un Nuova Inizio?" was written by J.M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Val Semeiks. Ben has left the States and has been moving from place to place in Europe; first England, then France and finally Rome. Ben has taken a teaching job in Rome and seems to finally be able to settle into a life, even if it is a lie. Before Rome, he constantly questioned his existence, and even sat under a bridge with a gun in his mouth contemplating suicide. Ben goes to dinner with his new friend Paolo who he trusts reluctantly, being very paranoid since he went into exile. Paolo introduces Ben to Simona, who immediately takes a liking to Ben, though Ben is either oblivious or trying to maintain a low profile. Paolo tells Ben he should be so lucky to date a woman like Simona as her father is a very powerful and influential man who could have been Prime minister if he wanted. Paolo forces Ben to follow Simona to ask her out, but she takes initiative and asks him out instead to meet her for coffee. Ben agrees but on the walk home considers if going on the date would be a good idea. He decides that since he has no past, there is no harm in going on a date as he can be whoever she wants him to be with an innocent lie. When Ben arrives at his apartment, a man is waiting for him. He tells Ben that he has been following him, producing pictures of Ben on campus, and informs Ben that his employer loves his daughter very much and keeps a close eye on everyone she associates with. The man tells Ben that he has discovered Ben's passport and identity are fake, and he doesn't care what Ben is running from but he had better leave Rome that night or he would have Ben arrested or detained by other means. The man leaves and Ben decides to go after him, and attacks his car in a rage. Ben pulls the man from his car and tells him he isn't afraid of him or his employer because they have no idea who they are messing with. Before pummeling the man, Ben stops and bolts. His abandons his teaching job, stands Simona up on their date and takes the train out of Rome thinking that he is not yet ready to be real. The story concludes with Simona's father holding a picture of Ben, musing that Ben is both dangerous and unpredictable, two qualities he admires, however Ben is also mysterious... and he despises mysteries.


May 13th, 2010 – This one almost snuck by, but Ben Reilly has another short story in the latest Web of Spider-Man #8. The story picks-up with Ben living in Rome as a teacher. He is questioning his existence and is even shown with a gun in his mouth considering suicide. Stay tuned for a complete summary of the story.


April 1st, 2010 – Many thought this day would never come... The First Clone Saga Trade has been released yesterday! Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic 1 can be found online or at your local comic store. Here is the solicit for the next volume:

Villains die and debut in the nineties’ pivotal Spider-saga! Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider are both fighting crime, and there’s plenty to go around when the Jackal arises – with more clones in the wings! But following a team-up with Daredevil – who’s having an identity crisis of his own – Spidey faces a fate that could wrap up his web-slinging days forever! The answer may come down to one of Spider-Man’s deadliest enemies – but what price will he pay for it, and what prize will he leave behind? Plus: Mary Jane’s revelation! Aerial crime warfare, terrorism and a funeral for a fiend! Guest-starring Kaine, Puma and the enigmatic Nocturne! Collects Amazing Spider-Man (1962) #395-399, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #218-221, Spider-Man (1990) #54-56, Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #8, Web of Spider-Man #120-122, and Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #1-3.


March 2nd, 2010 – Writer Howard Mackie posted on the Spider-Man Crawl Space thanking them for their positive reviews of the Clone Saga mini-series. He also had this to say:

Thanks, Brad. I truly appreciate all the kind words, and that Tom gets all the blame for the minor negatives! Tom and I would LOVE to continue with Ben– and have pitched a series– but that is Marvel’s call. Maybe a grassroots movement would help? Thanks again.

The general response from Joe Quesada to letters asking about the future of Ben has been "wait and see." Indeed we shall.


February 26th, 2010Spider-Man: Clone Saga #6 was released this week, concluding the retelling of the Clone Saga as it was originally intended. Who was the Man in the Shadows? What happens to baby May? Who was really dressed as the Green Goblin? What is Ben’s fate in this retelling? All of these questions will be answered now! Spoilers to follow:

The issue starts with Ben being beaten and tortured by the Green Goblin. Ben is still alive only because the Goblin wants him to continue to suffer, and that is why he intentionally missed Ben’s major organs when he stabbed him with the glider.  The Goblin taunts Ben telling him that this whole plot was about clones and that Ben himself was the greatest pawn of all.

Meanwhile, Peter swings around looking for Kaine and the baby, thinking that the Jackal must be a behind her abduction, even though he and Ben saw him die at the hands of Kaine. Peter searches the wreckage of Jackal’s lab and finds nothing. He swings off.

The Green Goblin removes his mask to reveal that all along, Harry Osborn was behind the whole Clone Saga. Harry brags about the pain and suffering he will bring to Peter and that Peter was an idiot to believe he died of a heart attack.

At the Midtown Medical Hospital, MJ and Aunt May worry about the baby, and Aunt May asks who would kidnap the child as MJ and Peter don’t have money to pay a large ransom. MJ consoles May by telling her that Peter will not rest until the baby is found.

Elsewhere, Kaine and the Norman clone discuss the baby and what Harry has been up to since Norman’s death. Norman does not agree with the killing of a child but says that Parker must be to blame for his death originally. Kaine informs him that Norman was killed by his own glider, and Norman retorts that Peter must still pay for his involvement, but perhaps not with the death of his child.

Harry continues to beat Ben senseless, and fires a Goblin Flare to lure Peter to their location.

Kaine explains to Norman that initially he hated Peter and Ben for being perfect clones, free of degeneration and able to live normal lives, and this is why he worked for Harry. However, as he watched Peter and Ben and continued to test them at Harry’s command, he grew to respect them, and with the birth of his ‘niece’ he finally felt like he had a family. Kaine tells Osborn that no child should pay for the sins of their father. With that Norman goes off to confront Harry and Kaine leaves to pay a visit to the hospital.

Peter enters the Oscorp building where the flare came from and finds Ben bleeding and hanging from chains. Harry attacks Peter from behind and the two fight briefly before Harry gains the upper hand. Peter mentions that it makes sense a clone of Harry would be behind everything, and Harry explains that he is the real deal, “but it takes a clone to know one.” Peter is shocked by the claim that he is a clone, and Harry nails him with his goblin glove blaster yelling “Gotcha!” Peter is sent reeling into Ben and lays dazed.  Norman bursts in dressed in a Green Goblin costume and says that Peter isn’t to be killed yet. Norman then hits Harry with a blast from his own goblin gloves, much to Harry’s surprise.

Peter frees Ben from the chains and they join the Norman clone in battling Harry. Harry rants that Norman must be a defective clone to turn on him like this, and says that he will simply make a new one after he kills this Norman clone. Harry then threatens that he has three aces left up his sleeve as Kaine has been send to kill MJ, Aunt May and the baby.

Kaine shows up at the hospital and confronts MJ and Aunt May, saying that he needs to finish what he started.

Peter and Ben attack Harry at the same time, and Peter separates his shoulder on Harry’s goblin armor. Ben grabs Harry in a choke hold and demands to know how Kaine can be called off. Harry exclaims that he cannot be beaten and will live forever through clones but Peter only has one life, and sends a spear-tipped goblin glider rocketing toward the injured Peter.  Ben yells for Peter to watch out and launches himself toward the glider. Peter can only turn to see the glider coming, but cannot move out of the way in time. Just before impact, Peter is pushed out of the way by Norman, who is impaled by the glider. Harry holds the dying clone, asking why he saved Peter’s life. Norman says that he wants to stop the cycle, as he doesn’t want Harry to become a monster. As Norman turns to dust, just as Ben did in the original Clone Saga, Harry vows “that this is not over.” Ben restrains Peter who lashes out at Harry and tells Peter that they will find his daughter.

Kaine returns the baby to MJ and Aunt May, apologizing for the pain he has caused and leaves a message for Ben and Peter that they no longer need to worry about the man called Kaine. As he leaves Aunt May asks Kaine if she knows him, and Kaine replies that she does not and that is his loss.

Weeks later, everyone is reunited. Peter and MJ have the baby and are living with Aunt May. Peter explains to Ben that Kaine is still missing and that Harry is in a sanitarium ranting about the resurrection of his father.  Ben thanks them for everything and promises to visit his niece every chance he gets. Peter and Ben agree that now they have their own lives to live, and Ben explains that he must leave and live his. As he rides off on his motorcycle, MJ asks if Peter thinks he will return. Peter responds, “Trust me, Mary Jane. We haven’t seen the last of Ben Reilly – or the Scarlet Spider!”

And with that, Ben Reilly fans are left to hope that is indeed the case.


February 22nd, 2010 - Here are some sales figures for books that featured Ben.

Rank (Month)
Title
Issue #
Price
Publisher
Issues Sold

35

Amazing Spider-Man Annual

36

$3.99

Marvel

49,930

91

Spider-Man Clone Saga

1

$3.99

Marvel

27,674

10

Amazing Spider-Man

608

$2.99

Marvel

71,992

16

Amazing Spider-Man

609

$2.99

Marvel

61,139

99

Spider-Man Clone Saga

2

$3.99

Marvel

21,460

110

Spider-Man Clone Saga

3

$3.99

Marvel

19,469

17

Amazing Spider-Man

610

$2.99

Marvel

61,142

118

Spider-Man Clone Saga

4

$3.99

Marvel

18,324

20

Web of Spider-Man

1

$3.99

Marvel

58,377

118

Spider-Man Clone Saga

5

$3.99

Marvel

16,213

While issues of Amazing Spider-Man performed well up to their usual standards, the Clone Saga mini-series has dropped in sales and out of the Top 100.


February 21st, 2010 - Web of Spider-Man #5 came out this week, and featured a story staring Ben Reilly. Here is the summary:

NOBODY is written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Chad Hardin. Ben Reilly is now going by the name Henry Jones, presumably after what happened with Damon Ryder, and working as a Janitor in Portland. He is harassed by a co-worker for never talking and accused of being brain dead. Ben ignores him and continues to clean a toilet, reminiscing about Janine and how he loved her only to lose her which was fitting since he wasn’t a real person anyway; merely a clone who was not worthy of finding love. The co-worker slams Ben’s face into the toilet and Ben gets up with a look of rage and his fists balled. The co-worker backs off, and Ben simply washes his face in the sink, and thinks to himself how he would have broken the man’s jaw the way he was before Janine. He is not that person anymore. He is nobody. Later, Ben is at a local tavern, thinking about how he drowns his sorrows in beer, which in reality is only one beer, and he thanks Peter Parker’s low tolerance for alcohol for that. While walking home from the bar, Ben’s spider sense goes off, and he ignores it, thinking that being a hero was Peter’s legacy, not his. Inside a house Ben was walking by we see three thugs are harassing a family. The husband is on the ground bleeding out, and the thugs are demanding more money from the wife, who is trying to calm her small daughter. The thugs threaten the daughter, claiming that they were told there would be more money in the house than what they found, and the wife had better come up with the rest of the money or else the husband would be killed and the daughter harmed. The lead thug takes the wife upstairs to the bedroom, and after she only finds another small amount of money, the thug decides he will take payment out of her, and throws her on the bed. As the wife begs the man to stop, Ben grabs the thug from behind and knocks him out. He tells the wife to stay quiet and he goes downstairs and dispatches the other two thugs from the shadows in a very Spider-Man manor. Wiping a tear from her cheek, Ben tells the little girl that everything will be alright and that the police are on their way. The next morning Ben reads the paper, sporting the headline “MYSTERY MAN SAVES FAMILY!”  Ben wonders why he did it, thinking that saving that little girl that night would only mean she would have more pain and suffering in the future. The harassing co-worker starts in on Ben about not being paid to read the paper. As Ben decides that at least now the little girl has a chance at having a life of happiness, we see that he has shoved the co-worker into a garbage can. As Ben rides off on his motorcycle, he credits Peter Parker’s delusional nature for deciding that he would rather not be a nobody.

This story provided a new glimpse at Ben's time in exile, and gave reader's who are unfamiliar with Ben a brief summary of his character up to that point. Aside from the art, which makes Ben look a little different than most readers are used to, this story could fit in perfectly with John Romita Jr's Lost Years installments. Some small Easter Eggs for Reilly fans: Ben is shown in the outfit her wore before his identity was revealed in the original Clone Saga, and the newspaper headline about the Mystery Man was a nod to the taglines on the covers of the original Clone Saga issues boasting updates on the Mystery Man character.


February 1st, 2010 - Here is a very spoiler filled summary of Clone Saga #5. Read at your own discretion.

The issue starts with Peter and Ben attempting to put together a baby swing, and it's not going well. Mary Jane goes into labor while having a coffee with Aunt May at the Daily Grind. Peter and Ben get the call from Aunt May about MJ and both decide the fastest way to get to the hospital is to don their Spider-Man costumes and web swing there. On their way to the hospital, Peter and Ben see Kaine causing havoc in the streets, beating up random people and tossing cars at police. Ben tells Peter that he will handle Kaine, however Peter insists he will stay and help fight. Meanwhile, Allison Mongrain introduces herself to MJ and Aunt May saying that she will be taking special care of the baby.

While saving the police officers from the tossed car, Peter and Ben do not notice Kaine escape. Peter arrives at the hospital in time for the birth of the baby, who is named May. Mongrain takes the baby saying that she will clean the child up, and then leaves the hospital with the baby. Peter and Ben demand to know who Allison Mongrain was, and the doctor says they have no idea, she wasn't part of the hospital staff. Ben and Peter take off in costume to track down Kaine, who they immediately believe is responsible for the abduction.

Mongrain delivers the baby to Kaine, in a scene which is virtually identical to the original Clone Saga where Mongrain brings Norman Osborn a "secret package." Kaine reports back to the man in the shadows that he has the child and that it is a girl. The mystery man says it is a pity the child will have to die if the plans go wrong, and awakens Norman Osborn from the stasis tube he was being held in. Norman says recognizes the Mystery Man, but is told this is not the time for reunions. The Mystery Man presents Norman with a Green Goblin uniform and tells him that there is work to be done. The Green Goblin attacks Ben, who has split up from Peter and is searching for Kaine. Ben refuses to believe that Norman is behind the mask, and the Goblin taunts Ben by telling him that he is the clone. Ben assumes that Kaine must be dressed up as the Green Goblin because the Goblin knew it was Ben in the Spider-Man costume. Ben finds himself out-matched by the Goblin's pumpkin bombs and bio-bombs, and as he attempts to retreat, he is impaled by the Goblin's glider.

Finally, a very special treat for Reilly fans, some more vintage Clone Saga era reading material and art. Check it out.


January 23rd, 2010 - Some new preview art for Clone Saga #5. Click to enlarge. Also, the early art posted here on November 9th turned out to be a cover for an issue called Spider-Man: Return of the Hunter Saga. It is included in the thumbnails below.


December 19th, 2009 - It has been a great year for Ben Reilly fans, with both the Clone Saga mini and the main continuity appearances... but it looks like 2010 will have some more surprises in store. Here is a solicit you might want to check out:

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #6
Written by FRED VAN LENTE, Tom DeFalco & J.M. DEMATTEIS
Penciled by BARRY KITSON, Ronald Frenz & Chad hardin
Cover by JELENA DJURDEVIC
Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a bird…it’s eating brains…it’s THE VULTURE! While a brand new Vulture terrorizes Spider-Man and New York City in the pages of Amazing, the original Vulture, Adrian Toomes, reflects on his past as Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson bring you the Vulture’s origins. Then, BEN REILLY! You asked for him, and J.M. DeMatteis and Chad Hardin got ‘im. During his years on the road, Ben finds himself in Oregon…and up against a desperate man. Finally, in THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-GIRL, a gang war heats up…and May doesn’t know who she can trust when the BLACK TARANTULA strikes!

Could this mean Ben might be appearing in a monthly feature in Web of Spider-Man? It is only speculation at this point, but if Marvel likes to increase sales (and who doesn't like money??) they may want to strongly consider it.

Finally, here is what happened in Spider-Man: The Clone Saga #4:

The story starts with Ben in his custom Spider-Man costume (YES!) fighting Doctor Octopus, who is in the middle of stealing some precious materials from a laboratory complex. To cover his escape, Ock causes a large amount of the complex to collapse, forcing Ben to save the scientists and allow Ock to escape with whatever he came to steal. Ben wonders if Peter would have had the same trouble if he were still Spider-Man. We find Peter is struggling to live the normal life, and is applying for science grants. MJ and Aunt May support him, and MJ is curious if Peter misses the life of a superhero. Peter says he thought he would at first, but he is happy with his life the way it is now, and is glad he turned the role over to Ben. Ben, meanwhile, is set up on a blind date by Shirley, his boss at the Daily Grind. Ben reluctantly accepts, and when he finally meets the girl he is being set up with, he is instantly reminded of a girl he fell in love with during his time in exile, Elizabeth Tyne. The reader is never shown the date, however Ben is shown walking home after thinking that it went well, but he couldn't shake the thought of Elizabeth, and how she was the one bright spot in his life on the road, until Kaine appeared and messed everything up.

Kaine meets Doc Ock in his sewer hideout, and Ock asks Kaine if they had not met before Kaine came to him with The Jackal's notes and serum. Kaine comments that they had not met previously, and he gives Ock more of Jackal's incomplete notes for Ock to perfect the cloning process, and mentions how Ock will finally be able to achieve his goal of immortality.

Ben catches Ock once again trying to rob the back of a scientific delivery truck, and Ock mentions that Ben seems rusty compared to their previous battles, and Ben thinks to himself how much stronger and faster Doctor Octopus has become since the days when he fought him as Peter. Ock collapses a cement wall on top of Ben and again escapes. Back at his lab, Ock says that he has made clone degeneration a thing of the past, but he will not give Kaine the serum unless Kaine gives Ock The Jackal's complete notes. Kaine refuses and they fight. Ben had tagged Ock with a spider-tracer and shows up just before Kaine breaks Ock's neck. Kaine and Ben fight, and Ben gains the upper hand until Kaine grabs Ock and holds him in front of a burst of impact webbing, smothering Ock's face. Ben allows Kaine to escape with a machine Ock had built in order to save Doctor Octopus. After Ben clears the webbing from his mouth and nose, Ock asks why he would save him, to which Ben replies, "Isn't it obvious? I'm Spider-Man."

Finally, Kaine reports back to his employer into the shadows that with the machine and substance he stole from Doc Ock, they can now clone or revive anyone they want without fear of degeneration. The man in the shadows remarks that he knows exactly who he wants to revive, and we see Norman Osborn in the cloning tube recovered from The Jackal's lab last issue.


November 30th, 2009 - Time for another update on the Clone Saga Mini Series! First up, the solicit for issue 6:

SPIDER-MAN: THE CLONE SAGA # 6
The Story: See how the controversial classic SHOULD have ended, straight from the pens of the Clone Saga’s original architects, Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie. Heroes are born, heroes die, and demons from the past return with a vengeance. Once the smoke clears only one Spider-Man will be left standing! Don’t miss the finish that answers ALL your lingering questions, Spidey fans! Rated T …$3.99





Finally, what happened in Spider-Man: Clone Saga #3?

The Jackal unleashes "thousands" of Peter Parker clones, saying that thanks to Ben's blood sample, he has perfected the cloning process. Jackal also reveals that Kaine is, in fact, a failed Parker clone as well. Additionally, Jackal tells Peter that he is responsible for Aunt May and Mary Jane's illnesses, and he dangles the cure in front of Peter. Kaine breaks free of his restraints in a fit of rage, after a clone of Gwen Stacy is released out of one of a pair of cloning chambers by The Jackal. Kaine manages to free Ben and Peter who begin to fight through the Peter clones to get to Jackal and the cure. The army of Peter clones begins to degenerate in a manner we haven't seen previously in any continuity, and Jackal concludes that Ben must be the real Peter Parker since his blood sample could not fix the clones. Kaine gets a hold of Jackal and gives him the Mark of Kaine. This looks the same as it did in normal continuity, however it isn't lethal. Kaine proceeds to snap The Jackal's neck, and tosses the cure as a distraction to escape. Ben and Peter snag the cure and fight through some of Jackal's goop-men and escape the complex as it explodes.

Aunt May and Mary Jane are given the cure (no one really asks how Peter got ahold of the cure, the doctors just administer it) and are both healthy. MJ's baby is fine. Peter goes to talk to Ben on the roof of the hospital, and says that he doesn't care which of them is the clone, and which is the real deal. Ben agrees, saying that he's fine with being Ben Reilly. Peter then gives Ben his Spider-Man costume, and tells him that he can't be a superhero anymore with a baby on the way. Ben accepts and swings away in the original Spider-Man costume.

Meanwhile, Kaine tells the mysterious employer that he has the clone stabilizing agent, and plans to give it to the one man who can perfect it. He also asks the employer if he was able to retrieve the second clone chamber from the destroyed complex. The employer, who is all but confirmed to be Norman Osborn, says that he has the chamber, and that everything is going according to his master plan.