BEN REILLY: THE SCARLET SPIDER #18/ Writer: Peter David/ Artist: André Lima Araújo/ Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna/ Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg/ Publisher: Marvel Worldwide Inc./ May 16th, 2018
Are you looking for a spider-themed hero comic but not Peter? Do you need a fun story with moral and mental dilemmas? Look no further than the original clone himself–Ben Reilly!
Ben Reilly kicks off fresh from Damnation, a story arc in which our hero learned a lot about himself. With the answers he discovered came more questions about the hero he needs to be.
Writer Peter David does a fantastic job bringing Ben to the forefront of this book and establishing him as his own character, distinct from Spider-Man. Up until this issue, Will Sliney had been the artist on the book, playing pivotal role in bringing the Scarlet Spider to life. Sliney takes a break away from the book in this issue, and André Lima Araújo takes over the reins. Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez designed the cover of this issue. It features a very manga style Scarlet Spider gripping the cape of a fallen Mysterio. With the hood of his costume pulled up and only his eyes visible, the cover hints at a darker side of Reilly.
The book opens with Ben back on the mission he began before Damnation–curing Cassandra Mercury’s daughter from Crook’s disease. He had recruited Sheldon Sanders to assist with the mission, but Sanders sends him an e-mail claiming to be on a secret government op and unable to assist at that moment. Reilly notices the e-mail was sent from an air station only a couple of hours away and decides to pay Sanders a visit. Just as he is about to set off, his spider-sense goes wild.
The reason for his spider sense going wild? Misty Beck, daughter of Mysterio!
The introduction of Misty in this book honestly surprised me. Judging by the cover, it seemed Mysterio was back to his old tricks, but this has thrown a spanner into the works. With Misty being hired to work for Cassandra, this could become very difficult for Ben, and I am seriously intrigued to see where it goes. There is a very mysterious (pun intended) moment between Misty and her father later in the book that will definitely provide an interesting dynamic as this story rolls on.
Throughout The Scarlet Spider run so far, we have seen a lot of interaction between Ben and Kaine, usually as opponents. Along with another old acquaintance of Ben’s, Kaine returns in this book, but the sibling rivalry between the two needs to be put on hold at least for now. Ben needs Kaine’s help to find out whether Misty is legit or if the apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. At the end of the book, Misty is scheduled to debut with a Copperfield-eclipsing show of magic.
During her debut, Misty’s stage name is revealed–Mysteria! The new alias along with the green color palette is really interesting and brings an extra sense of curiosity out in the reader. When Mysteria is performing, the artwork does a great job of showing the magic through the coloring and well-drawn lines. The final page of this book looks like something straight out of Wonderland. Rachelle Rosenberg really flexed her coloring muscles to end the book with an extremely beautiful page. At the book’s conclusion, Kaine utters, “We are very likely going to die.” I can’t wait for the next issue after being left on this cliffhanger.
Overall, this week’s issue was very welcome after the last few Damnation tie-in issues.
Peter David has been at his exceptional best with Ben Reilly, and he continues to bring the character past the moniker of being just another Spider clone. His move to include Mysterio in the earlier issues was bold since he is seen as a Peter Parker villain. It paid off then, and it’s paying off now with the introduction of Mysteria.
The artwork of Araújo is very different to that of Sliney’s. If you have been reading this book up to now, it takes a couple of pages to get used to it. Once you get over the initial change of artist, it is obvious why Araújo was put on this book. His style is more simplistic than Will’s, but it focuses a lot more on the colors of each scene, making the characters and situations pop. Ben Reilly fans can rest well knowing the Scarlet Spider artwork is being done by a very talented artist.
Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #19 will be released June 6th
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Clones