Ok, I left it long enough. We’re about to pass the 50 mark and I still haven’t brought up one of the biggest alternate Spidey’s there is. That would be when Ben Reilly, the perfect clone of Peter Parker, formerly the Scarlet Spider, became the one and only Spider-Man himself!
I already talked a lot about Ben himself, which you can check out in my Scarlet Spider post which was all the way back in the single digits of these Spider-Who posts. Second entry in fact. The reason Ben Reilly took over the role of Spider-Man for a short time once again brings us back into perhaps the most confusing period of the dreaded Clone Saga.
Well after Ben had returned to New York, made peace with Peter, and taken on the identity of the Scarlet Spider, new information surfaced that the ACTUAL clone was Peter, and that Ben had been the original Parker THE WHOLE TIME! With both Ben and Peter left reeling that their lives had been successfully switched YEARS past, Peter, barely hanging on to his own sanity, stepped away from the role of Spider-Man, deciding to live a quiet life with Mary Jane as she was pregnant with their child. Ben took on the title believing he was finally getting some element of his life back, though he decided to keep his name as Ben Reilly as he still didn’t believe he was worthy of the Parker name.
Ben started living a normal life, got a job at a coffee joint called the Daily Grind (AMAZING NYC coffee place name), and dyed his hair blonde so he’d look at least a little different from Peter. He even started dating again.
Sadly it was not meant to be for poor Ben. It was eventually revealed that the doctor that gave Ben and Peter the news that their lives had been switched years before was all fake, and that this doctor had been working for Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin. It was all an elaborate, years long set-up. Both Peter and Ben fought the Green Goblin, and during the fight the Goblin impaled Ben on the spikes on the front of his Goblin Glider. Ben’s body disintegrated in rapid degeneration just like previous clones had when they died, proving Peter really was the real Parker after all.
During Spider-Verse, a universe in which Ben Reilly still lived was found, but once again he sacrificed himself to save his fellow clones, his “brother” Kaine and the Ultimate Universe clone Jessica Drew.
RIP Ben Reilly, you were one of the best.