Web Of Spider-Man #118
Marvel (November, 2001)
“The Exile Returns” part one: “Memories”
WRITER: Terry Kavanagh
PENCILER: Steven Butler
INKER: Randy Emberlin
COLORIST: Eric Fein
LETTERER: Steve Dutro
EDITOR: Eric Fein
GROUP EDITOR: Danny Fingeroth
Ben Reilly continues to attempt to pull himself away from the Spider-Life but ends up on a tour of the important places that made Peter Parker the Spider-Man he was at the time Ben was first created. He ends up saving a woman from falling off the top of a bridge but runs after delivering her to the hospital to avoid talking to the cops and risking Peter’s identity. He’s not the only one on a memory tour, though. Venom is going to the places that led to Eddie and the symbiote bonding and is now off to kill the other symbiote on Earth, Carnage. After hearing a news report that Venom has been spotted in a part of the city, Ben gives in to his hero self, using an all red costume and a ripped hoodie from the museum store for the outfit that will lead to his own spider-identity, the Scarlet Spider (not named so here though).
What they got right: Ben’s internal argument as to who and what he is (is he just a clone or a man who happens to be a clone with someone else’s memories) isn’t as annoying as it got in the comic I reviewed this time last week. I like the design of the Scarlet Spider costume (again, ruined on the cover). It’s a bit nineties but not in the usual bad way. Note the lack of unnecessary pouches, although he wears his web shooters and utility belt (yes, Peter wears it to; it holds spare web fluid cartridges and his spider-tracers, as well as a light on the buckle) outside the costume instead of in it. I’ve seen worse superhero costumes easily but it does give Ben his own identity, the name coming in a later chapter or storyline.
What they got wrong: I could ask my Dad, who grew up in New York, if women walking on top of the bridge and fainting for no reason is normal but I’m going to assume it’s not and wonder what the heck she was doing up there except for suicide. Or how she got up there since she lacks spider powers and sticky line arm shooter thingies. Also, as I keep harping on, the reveal of Ben’s own costume is spoiled right on the cover. There has to be a better way to show off the story and tease the costume instead of showing it outright. And yes, I think Re-Covered has its second topic.
Other notes: I picked up this comic with the KB Toy Works exclusive Scarlet Spider figure, which I reviewed over at The Clutter Reports.
Recommendation: If you really want to see how the Scarlet Spider costume was created or if this turns out to be the rare good storyline from the Clone Saga, it might be worth checking out. Otherwise there isn’t much here to miss.