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Review: Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1

Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1

Growing up, I wasn’t the biggest Spider-Man fan. It’s not a character I read a lot of comics of. I’d hope into arcs every so often but never regularly reading the series. I missed the controversial “Clone Saga” and thus Ben Reilly wasn’t a character I really knew beyond the initial hatred. With “Beyond”, I’ve gotten to know the character a bit more as he’s taken center stage again. Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1 builds off of that renewed interest taking us back to those early years in a story focused on Reilly as he attempts to figure out what he should do next.

Not being familiar with the history, I’m sure there’s a lot I miss with Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1. But, even not knowing a lot, it’s a hell of a comic that’s fun and enjoyable with a nice emotional punch to it. Taking us back to when Ben was the one true Spider-Man, the comic does a smart job of catching readers up to what the status was at this point in comics. But, it also moves things along at a brisk pace. The focus is Ben as a person as he struggles with his history and his role as Spider-Man. Is he the clone? Is he the real Peter? What should he do? Reilly delivers a hero who is the very definition of unsure of himself. He literally does not know who he is on multiple levels. It’s an interesting focus that can be dissected in so many different ways.

J.M. DeMatteis delivers so much more than that though. We get the setup of the villain to come, a killer who murders on the first date but also a battle with a villain. The battle feels very “classic Spider-Man” despite it being a “new” version of the character. He uses his fists and so much more to stop the villain and it delivers an emotional punch. It emphasizes this is a bit of a different Spider-Man in some ways and that DeMatteis is going to take us on a journey that explores Reilly as a person.

The art by David Baldeón is solid with a look that feels like an updated take on that classic era. With color by Israel Silva and lettering by Joe Caramagna, the art really delivers home to emotional swings DeMatteis goes for in the issue. From anger to sadness, and everything in between, it’s an issue that you really need to focus as much on Reilly’s body language as to what’s also being written in the dialogue and thought bubbles. It’s a fantastic combo and deliver.

Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1 is a solid issue. It feels a bit like Ben Reilly has had some redemption since his debut so many decades ago and this is a prime example of how well the character can be used. There’s a lot to mine and this series feels like it might be the final bit of vindication that his creation so long ago might have been a hell of a thing after all.

Story: J.M. DeMatteis Art: David Baldeón
Color: Israel Silva Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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