Ben Reilly

Ben Reilly


caption=Variant cover for "Amazing Spider-Man #525".
Art by Mike Wieringo
character_name=Spider-Man (Ben Reilly)
alter_ego=Benjamin "Ben" Reilly (originally Peter Parker)
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="The Amazing Spider-Man" #149
creators=Gerry Conway
Ross Andru
alliances=New Warriors
aliases=Scarlet Spider, Spider-Man, Spider-Carnage
powers=Ability to stick to walls,
Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, durability and agility,
Precognitive "Spider-Sense"

Ben Reilly (also the Scarlet Spider, the second Spider-Man and Spider-Carnage) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. He is a clone of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), and is prominent in the Clone Saga. He first appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #149 (October 1975).

Publication history

Reilly was first featured as Spider-Man in "Amazing Spider-Man #149". The issue was later revisited in "What If vol. 1 # 30."

The character returns to the comics during the "Clone Saga," which ran from October 1994 to December 1996 through all five of the then running Spider-Man titles, "Amazing Spider-Man", "Web of Spider-Man", "", "Spider-Man Unlimited", and "Spectacular Spider-Man." Between November 1995 and December 1995, Scarlet Spider replaced Spider-Man in the four featured Spider-titles, becoming "The Amazing Scarlet Spider", "Scarlet Spider", "Scarlet-Spider Unlimited", "Web of Scarlet Spider", and "The Spectacular Scarlet Spider." Reilly was also featured prominently in the supplemental material provided for the storyline including: "Spider-Man: The Lost Years" and "Spider-Man: Clone Journals." The storyline would later be revisited in "What If vol. 2 # 86".

Reilly was passed the mantle of Spider-Man and was featured through the Spider-Man titles "Amazing Spider-Man", "Spectacular Spider-Man", "Spider-Man", "Spider-Man Unlimited" and "Sensational Spider-Man" which replaced "Web of Spider-Man" as an on-going monthly title. Reilly remained as the featured Spider-Man between January 1996 until December 1996. During this period, the character also was featured in Marvel vs. DC.

Though the character has not been utilized in comics since Peter Parker has resumed as Spider-Man, the character is often alluded to and provided the foundation to the backstory in Spider-Girl mythology.

Fictional character biography


Ben Reilly is the Jackal's second wholly successful clone—the first is the clone of Gwen Stacy, and the first Spider-Man clone, Kaine, is flawed. Through arcane science, the clone was imprinted with Peter Parker's memories and actually believed himself the original. After Parker was captured by the Jackal, both Parker and Reilly found themselves in Spider-Man costumes at Shea Stadium, and fought briefly before teaming up in an attempt to save the Gwen clone and Ned Leeds. In the process, the clone appeared to be killed and Spider-Man, fearful of the consequences, dropped the "body" in a smokestack.Comic book reference
writer=Conway, Gerry
penciller=Andru, Ross
inker=Esposito, Mike
story=Even if I live, I die!
title=The Amazing Spider-Man
date=October, 1975
publisher=Marvel Comics
] The clone survived and escaped from the smokestack. Naming himself "Ben Reilly" after his aunt and uncle, May Reilly and Ben Parker respectively, and taking some old clothes Parker had intended to donate to charity, he left New York deeply depressed.

Five years on the road

Stricken with influenza, Ben met Seward Trainer, a scientist secretly blackmailed by agents of the Green Goblin into keeping track of him. Trainer helped Reilly in two ways. First, Trainer helped the sick and depressed clone to get back on his feet. Second, when Reilly returned to his life of wandering, Trainer supplied references to allow Reilly to obtain jobs; the references were never effective enough for a long-term life, but they allowed Reilly to make some kind of life for himself during his travels. Reilly came to see Trainer as a father figure, and he trusted Trainer completely. During this time, Reilly was hunted by a failed clone of Peter Parker named Kaine (after the biblical Cain). Kaine believed Reilly to be the real Peter Parker and hated his "brother" for it (while admiring the "clone" Parker living Parker's life) [""] .

Three years after his creation, Reilly got a job in Salt Lake City as a research and teaching assistant, thanks largely to Trainer's references. There, he met a woman who called herself Janine Godbe, a waitress in a diner that Ben was eating in. Janine initially resisted involvement with Reilly, and then revealed she was really a child abuse victim named Elizabeth Tyne who had killed her abusive father, changed her name (she regarded 'Elizabeth' as being a victim, and wanted to escape that) and ran away to escape her crime. Expecting to be rejected, Tyne was shocked when Reilly instead trusted her enough to reveal his spider-powers and the fact that he was a clone to her. Expecting rejection, Reilly was relieved when she accepted him for who he was, even teasingly calling him 'Spider-Man'.

While in Salt Lake City, Ben Reilly (and later Kaine) became involved in fighting against the Tannen criminal gang, wearing a makeshift costume of green, mummy-like bandages. When Janine's identity was revealed, the two were forced to flee. After Kaine, who possessed the same fingerprints as Reilly and Parker, killed corrupt policewoman Louise Kennedy (a woman he had come to love before the truth about her was revealed to Kaine), the police believed Reilly was the culprit and Detective Raven pursued them both, despite Reilly having saved him and his son from mobsters. Reilly and Tyne were on the run together for a year until Kaine forced her to leave Reilly, dropping a dead clone of her off a bridge to make Reilly think she had died. Meanwhile, Kaine continued killing, attempting to frame Reilly for the murders.

As well as fighting Kaine, Reilly would sporadically and rarely engage in heroics; although he disliked playing the hero as it reminded him of the life he'd never lived as Peter Parker, he found himself unable to ignore his spider-sense when it went off with sufficient force. It would be revealed later that he had fought the mystical villain D'Spayre and a psychopathic showman named Wild-Whip during his time on the road.

Return to New York

Two years later, Reilly discovered that May Parker was dying from a stroke, so he returned to New York. There, Reilly encountered Parker, who has become bitter and angry following several consecutive tragedies. While they initially came to blows, they quickly began working together. Soon after, Reilly donned a makeshift costume, and was dubbed the "Scarlet Spider" by the press - a name that took him some time to hear without wincing. As the Scarlet Spider, Reilly decided to take down Venom. Although a clone of Spider-Man, Ben was able to use his spider-sense to anticipate the attacks of Venom, as Reilly was never bonded to the symbiote. Venom did sense that Ben was not the Spider-Man responsible for their creation, but vowed to kill Reilly anyway. Reilly ended up separating Eddie Brock and the symbiote.

For a brief time, the Scarlet Spider was a member of the New Warriors, though none of the members of the team really fully accepted this. When Peter Parker was arrested for Kaine's murders, Ben switched places with him so Peter could remain free and uncover the truth, allowing him to use the Scarlet Spider costume for a brief time. Ben was finally forced to drop the Scarlet Spider identity when, after getting involved in a technological gang war between the second Doctor Octopus and Alistair Smythe, a holographic evil version of the Scarlet Spider was created and ruined his reputation in a vicious rampage.


He later became the replacement Spider-Man for a time at the original's request, when Parker retired to raise his unborn child. This was at a time when both men had been misled by Seward Trainer (who was still working under orders from Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin) into believing that Ben was the original and Peter was the clone. Osborn hoped that this revelation that his life was a lie would make his nemesis give up. Reilly started working at a restaurant called the Daily Grind and spent a year in the role, battling villains new and old. The change in costume initially prompted the Daily Bugle to claim there was a new Spider-Man, but Ben, with the help of Mary Jane, threw them off the scent and the story was dropped. Only Venom and Silver Sable—and through Sable's deductions, Sandman and the Human Torch—ever seemed to realize that they were dealing with a different Spider-Man to the one with which he was familiar, although Ben also told Daredevil and the Torch the truth.


"The Amazing Spider-Man" #410.
Cover art by Mark Bagley.]

During the Web of Carnage ["Sensational Spider-Man" #3] ["Amazing Spider-Man" #410] ["Spider-Man" #67] ["Spectacular Spider-Man" #233] arc, Ben Reilly was bonded with the symbiote Carnage. While incarcerated at Ravencroft, the symbiote left Cletus Kassidy and bonded with John Jameson. While trying to stop a rampaging Jameson, the symbiote changes host to bond with Reilly to form Spider-Carnage. Throughout this period, Ben struggled for control of himself, trying to prevent the murderous impulses of the symbiote from taking over.

Ben Reilly decides the only person able to help him rid himself of the Carnage symbiote is Peter Parker. After arriving at Ben Reilly's apartment, Peter, unaware that Ben is bonded with Carnage, turns the conversation toward resolving the mystery of the skeleton found in the smoke stack, which testing showed also was a clone of Peter Parker. Ben's internal thought struggle to kill Peter Parker then becomes more and more intense until Ben tells Peter to leave.

After Peter's departure, Ben continues to struggle with thoughts of killing Peter Parker. The symbiote convinces Ben that he has to protect Seward Trainer from Parker, who was on his way to visit Seward in the hospital to find out what he knew about the cloned skeleton. As Ben continues to struggle with thoughts of killing Peter Parker, he finds himself on the roof of the hospital fighting for control of himself. The symbiote nearly dominates Ben Reilly as hospital security guards attempt in vain to engage him. The rooftop fight causes Peter Parker to investigate and he is surprised to find a "Spider-Carnage". Spider-Carnage immediately attacks Parker and nearly knocks him off the roof of the hospital. Peter reaches out to Ben Reilly and pleads with him to fight the symbiote that is nearly in complete control of him. Ben barely regains control of himself and warns Peter to stay away from Seward or he would not be responsible for his actions against Peter.

Reilly was eventually able to free himself of the symbiote, after a long inner battle with the creature, overcoming it with the strength of his character. Shortly after separating from Ben, the symbiote rejoined with Kassidy. Seward Trainer disappeared while Ben fought his battle with the Carnage symbiote. Ben had his bank account frozen and his possessions stolen before, finally, the Grind was burned down and Ben was framed for arson.

Blood Brothers

It is later revealed that the Hobgoblin was behind many of these events, on the orders of the mysterious Gaunt and the company Multivex. It was later revealed that the true mastermind behind all this was the original Green Goblin.

Janine Godbe and Kaine returned to Ben's life but it was not destined to be a happy reunion; Kaine had deliberately brought her back in order to traumatize Ben by taking her away again, tipping off the police to her crimes and whereabouts and forcing the two lovers to go on the run (Ben appeared to be ready to abandon New York, saying that his life as Peter Parker was over and the people he loved back then were irrelevant). Although Kaine was convinced by his 'brother' to give himself up to the police after saving Ben and Janine from a burning diner (despite the fact that Kaine caused the fire himself), Janine also decided to stop running. Following Kaine's example, she was prepared to accept Ben's previous advice that she should entrust herself to the law and hope that the truth about her father's murder would be enough to keep her alive.

Revelations and death

Ultimately, Reilly died saving the original Spider-Man from the original Green Goblin, revealed to have survived his last fight with Spider-Man ["" #75 (December 1996)] , intercepting the Goblin Glider as it flew towards Peter. The glider struck his spine and sent Ben falling to the ground, crashing into a taxi below him, leaving him in poor condition. As he lay dying, Ben told Peter that, clone or not, Peter was now Spider-Man and would have to carry on for Ben, and for Peter to tell his unborn child of her "Uncle Ben." After dying, Reilly's body decomposed rapidly, Spider-Man barely managing to get Ben's body out of public sight before it collapsed, revealing Trainer's deceptions and proving once and for all that Ben had actually been the clone. This sacrifice, coupled with the concurrent "stillbirth" of his child, led Parker to reclaim the Spider-Man identity, his last words to Ben's remains being "Rest easy... brother".

References to the character

Civil War

During the Civil War, Peter Parker used the pseudonym Ben Reilly as well as a holographic disguise device given to him by Beast. ["Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" #14]

The Initiative

While on a mission to depower Spider-Man, the Initiative employed three "Spider-Men" in the Iron Spider costume to aid in the capture of the Sinister Syndicate. They were called Scarlet Spiders by War Machine. ["" #3]

One of the people Mister Hyde gave Spider-Man's powers to appears in a costume that Ben wore as the Scarlet Spider in a jail cell, where the real Spider-Man had put him in ["Sensational Spider-Man" vol. 2] .

Powers and Equipment

As Peter Parker's clone, Ben Reilly possesses powers identical to that of Spider-Man. His powers include superhuman strength, speed and agility, a precognitive "spider-sense" warning him of danger, and the spider-like ability to cling to almost any surface, referred to as "wallcrawling". Reilly's reflexes operate up to 40 times faster than those of a normal person, while his strength allows him to lift 40 times his own weight, although he has been proven to lift much more.

In the five years that Ben Reilly wandered America he had time to improve over Peter Parker's original web-shooters. Worn on the outside of his costume, Reilly's web-shooters have no trigger on the inside palm, instead utilizing a twist of the wrist to fire webbing. In addition, two new weapons were designed to aid crime fighting. Impact webbing was fired out as miniature web-pellets that exploded on contact, encasing a target within a web cocoon and rendering them virtually immobile. Stingers were small diamond-shaped darts coated with a paralytic chemical agent for incapacitating opponents. Like Spider-Man, Ben also wore a belt that contained spare web cartridges should he need replacements.

Other versions


* In the alternate future known as MC2, Ben Reilly's 'niece', May Parker Spider-Girl, wears Ben's version of the Spider-Man costume and webshooters, having been raised on tales of her heroic 'Uncle Ben'. Like her father, May has an Uncle Ben. However, unlike her dad, May never knew her uncle: Ben Reilly, Spider-Man's clone. His last words before his death are about her: "Take care of my 'niece,' Peter... tell her about... her Uncle Ben" ("" vol. 1 #75). Her first costume and web-shooters are in fact his, kept in storage since his death. When May asks her father about him, however, Peter leaves out the fact that Ben was really a clone, instead referring to him as a cousin. If May has any children in the future, they too would have an Uncle Ben - May's baby brother. As Peter and MJ named May after Peter's Aunt May, May asks which Uncle Ben the newborn is named after: her Uncle Ben, or Peter's Uncle Ben. Peter asks if it really matters, and May simply responds, "I guess not."

* Ben Reilly had a son by Elizabeth Tyne, named Reilly Tyne, who became the superhero known as Darkdevil after Kaine tried to save his 'nephew' from cellular degeneration. Hints about Darkdevil's true identity in early issues of "Spider-Girl" led many fans, as evidenced by the book's letter page, to theorize that Darkdevil was in fact Ben Reilly himself. Later in the series, Kaine reformed.

* Felicity Hardy, the daughter of Felicia Hardy (Black Cat), assumes the Scarlet Spider identity in an attempt to become partners with Spider-Girl. May's father Peter Parker is angry at what he sees as an inappropriate use of the identity.

Ultimate Ben Reilly

In the Ultimate Universe, Ben Reilly appeared in "Ultimate Spider-Man" as an African American lab assistant at Empire State University, working with Curt Conners. As such, he is not a clone or connected to Peter Parker in this continuity. He was involved in the creation of Ultimate Carnage by combining DNA from Curt Connors with that of Spider-Man, blended with ingredients from "The Suit" (better known as Venom), making Ultimate Carnage something of a clone of Spider-Man. Incidentally, he refers to Carnage (before its escape) as "Little Ben". At the end of the arc, he stole a second Spider-Man blood sample from the lab.

It was revealed that after Ben took the blood sample, he managed to create the five Spider-Man clones while under the employ of the CIA. However, Carnage attacked the lab and the four clones escaped. One of the clones is an amalgam of Ben Reilly and Kaine of the 616 Universe. He has Kaine's insane personality and facial scars, and wears a tattered makeshift version of Ben Reilly's costume. The character of Ultimate Spider-Woman more or less plays the same role that Scarlet Spider from the original Clone Saga did.

What If?

What If #86 gives an alternate ending of the Clone Saga. During the time Spider-Man is under The Jackal's control, The Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man fight until there is an explosion. Ben's body is later found washed ashore and Peter is believed to be dead. Ben awakes in the hospital to find Peter's friends and family around his bed believing him to be Peter.

A little more than a year later Ben and Mary Jane discover that their baby, May, is dying of blood poisoning. One night Ben wakes up to find that May has been kidnapped. Ben goes searching for her and runs into the Green Goblin. The Goblin reveals that he is behind the "clone saga" and needs May's blood for a serum.

The two battle atop the same bridge where Gwen Stacy was killed. During the struggle, they both fall into the river below. Ben resurfaces with possession of the Goblin's mask and the serum. He returns home to find that Mary Jane has discovered that he is really Ben Reilly. The two part with Mary Jane telling Ben to find his own identity, something he's never had the chance to do before.

There is a possibility, that the Spider-Girl that appeared in Paradise X, as a member of Heralds, was in fact the adult May from this world.

Marvel Zombies

Someone in the Scarlet Spider uniform is in a large group shot in the one-shot: "Marvel Zombies: Dead Days".

In other media


*Scarlet Spider made his first animated appearance on the "Fantastic Four" tv episode "Nightmare In Green," in which Dr. Doom fools Hulk into believing that the Fantastic Four are his enemies. While Hulk's friend Rick Jones is hanging out with Human Torch, the shadowed figure of the Scarlet Spider can be seen hanging underneath a building ledge.

*Scarlet Spider's second TV appearance was made in the "X-Men" animated series. In episode 46 "One Man's Worth, Part 1", aired in the 95-96 season, he's briefly featured in one of the scenes depicting a large battle.

*Ben Reilly's alternate universe counterpart also appeared in the final season of "". In the storyline "Spider Wars", numerous versions of Spider-Man from different realities teamed up, including Ben Reilly as the Scarlet Spider. As he explains his origins, he and Spider-Carnage, the main villain of this series finale, realize they are related - Reilly is his clone or maybe Spider-Carnage is his clone. None of them are sure because the Miles Warren in their reality had robbed them of their past. Apparently, it hints that maybe Reilly is the real Spider-Man and Spider-Carnage is the clone, due to the difference in their genetic structures. In the scene where Ben explains his story involving multiple spider-clones, Spider-Man remarks "This is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot!", an in-joke nod to the Clone Saga [cite web |url= |title=Spider Wars Part One - I Really, Really Hate Clones revies |accessdate=2008-02-21 |] [cite web |url= |title=Spider Wars Part Two - Farewell Spider-Man review |accessdate=2008-02-21 |]


One of the larger 1990s Marvel action figures of Ben Reilly in his Spider-Man costume appeared in the Christmas morning scene of the movie "The 40-Year-Old Virgin".


* Reilly, as Spider-Carnage featured as an action figure by Toy Biz in the "Spiderman/Venom - Along came a Spider" toyline released in 1997. Reilly as Scarlet Spider in the Marvel Classics Toyline.
*Ben Reilly, in his redesigned Spider-Man costume, received a figure in the Ares build a figure series of Marvel Legends. Although he's in his Spider-Man costume, his figure is falsely labled as "Scarlet Spider".

Video games

*He appeared in the 2000 "Spider-Man" video game two alternate costumes for Spider-Man (as Scarlet Spider and as Spider-Man). These costumes later reappeared in the sequel, "". In both games, neither costume grants extra abilities.
*The Scarlet Spider is an alternate costume for Spider-Man in the video game "."


"Scarlet Spider" titles

*"Amazing Scarlet Spider" #1-2 (Marvel Comics, November 1995 - December 1995)
*"Scarlet Spider" #1-2 (Marvel Comics, November 1995 - December 1995)
*"Scarlet Spider Unlimited" #1 (November 1995)
*"Spectacular Scarlet Spider" #1-2 (Marvel Comics, November 1995 - December 1995)
*"Web of Scarlet Spider" #1-2 (Marvel Comics, November 1995 - December 1995)

While "Web of Scarlet Spider" #3-4 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - February 1996) exist, they starred a different Scarlet Spider, although Ben Reilly appeared (as Spider-Man) in issue #4.

"Spider-Man" titles with Ben Reilly as Spider-Man

*"Amazing Spider-Man" #407-418 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - December 1996)
*"" #64-75 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - November 1996)
*"Spider-Man: The Lost Years" #1-3, #0 (Marvel Comics, August 1995 - October 1995, January 1996)
*"Spider-Man: Redemption" #1-4 (Marvel Comics, September 1996 - December 1996)
*"Spider-Man Holiday Special 1995" (Marvel Comics, December 1995)
*"Spider-Man & The Punisher: Family Plot (Marvel Comics) February 1996 - 2 issue limited series.
*"Spider-Man Team-Up" #2-5 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - December 1996)
*"Spider-Man Unlimited" #11-14 (January 1996 - December 1996)
*"Sensational Spider-Man" #0-11 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - December 1996)
*"Spectacular Spider-Man" #230-240 (Marvel Comics, January 1996 - November 1996)


External links

* [ Bring Back Ben Petition]
* [ Life of Reilly]
* [ Ben's Profile at]
* [ Brief Bio at Insania 1998]
* [ Brief bio at]


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