Ben Reilly is a genetic clone of Peter Parker, the super hero Spider-Man, who went on to determine his own identity as the Scarlet Spider. Ben was created by Miles Warren, the super villain known as the Jackal, to torment the hero, and seemingly died in their first encounter. The clone survived and exiled himself for five years, only returning to New York after learning that Parker's Aunt May was sick. After making amends with Peter, Ben fought alongside him as the Scarlet Spider. For a brief time, Ben and Peter were tricked by Norman Osborn via Seward Trainer to believe Ben was the real Peter Parker. Peter left New York with his wife Mary Jane Watson, leaving Ben to pick up the mantle of Spider-Man. During a subsequent confrontation against Osborn as the Green Goblin, Ben was impaled and died in Peter's arms, also discovering that Peter being the clone was a fabrication.
Ben was later brought back to life by Miles Warren using a new cloning method, and spent years being constantly killed and resurrected by his creator to improve on the cloning technology. Driven mad, Ben managed to escape and overthrow Warren, becoming the new Jackal. He founded New U Technologies in an ill-conceived attempt to use cloning technology for good, but was ultimately stopped by Spider-Man. Seeking redemption but still mentally unstable, Ben moved to Las Vegas and resumed his identity as the Scarlet Spider. He came into conflict with fellow clone Kaine, who had also adopted the moniker of the Scarlet Spider. Ben was eventually left with a damaged soul after being killed and reborn one more time. Ben saw a chance at redemption during the return of the spider-hunting Inheritors. Sacrificing himself to defeat Jennix, Ben was then resurrected with cloning technology, which gave him a clean slate. Ben briefly readopted the Spider-Man mantle, becoming a corporate-sponsored hero for the Beyond Corporation. However, Ben turned against his predecessor after Beyond's machinations erased his formative memories. Further tormented after being mutated by a mutagenic polymer, Ben became Chasm.
Origins and Exile
Created from Peter Parker's DNA by the Jackal, this clone was made to fight him as part of Jackal's torment of Spider-Man, whom he blamed for Gwen Stacy's death. In the fight, only one could survive in order to save Ned Leeds from a bomb. The Jackal activated the bomb, seemingly dying and killing the clone. Spider-Man retrieved the "corpse" and buried him at a industrial chimney. The clone, however, was alive and managed to survive due to the Jackal injecting him with something earlier while he was unconscious. In an attempt to sow confusion between Peter Parker and the clone, the Jackal dumped a different, already dead clone of Peter Parker down the same smoke stack Peter Parker dumped the living clone in after the Jackal had rescued him. After regaining consciousness, this clone witnessed Parker and Mary Jane in an embrace, and concluded that he must be the clone as the clone's feelings wouldn't have developed to the point where he could emotionally accept his feelings for Mary Jane.
The clone spent the next five years in exile from New York, believing himself to be a worthless clone. He dubbed himself "Ben Reilly", using his Uncle Ben's first name and his Aunt May's maiden name. After a period where he was stricken by influenza, he met scientist Seward Trainer, who inspired him with confidence to be his own person. Trainer also helped Ben by providing him with fake references to find work. Seward's references and Ben's own skills would allow him to work for a month or so at a time until people learned that his credentials were fake, forcing Ben to move on. Although he attempted to avoid attracting attention to himself, Reilly was unable to simply hide when his spider-sense went off, resulting in him helping the local police deal with various gangs during a stop-over in Salt Lake City. During his time there, Reilly found love with college student/waitress Janine Godbe, but she later revealed that her true identity as Elizabeth Tyne, a fugitive who killed her father after enduring his repeating incestuous abuse. Although Ben spent some time living with Janine, she apparently committed suicide out of guilt at her past crimes, leaving Reilly to be constantly followed by Kaine, who vowed to deny Reilly happiness for as long as he could.
During this particularly bleak time, Ben began working as a janitor in a Portland high school using the alias "Henry Jones", initially allowing himself to be regarded as mentally handicapped until he rescued a woman from home invaders, which helped him realize that he could still make a difference. Following this, he lived for a short time in Italy, where he worked as an English teacher, but he was forced to leave after a Mafia boss discovered Reilly's past after his daughter expressed an interest in Reilly. The Mafioso learned about the gaps in Reilly's work record and forced him to leave the city.
Returning to New York when he found out about Aunt May's failing health, Ben came face-to-face with Peter and had to explain his reasons for returning. His presence also inspired Peter to get through his current dark mood after recent tragedies.
After an initial distrust of each other, Peter and Ben became friends and worked side by side as Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider it was revealed by Seward Trainer that Peter was the clone and Ben had been the real Peter Parker all along. This drove Peter almost insane and left Ben stunned. They agreed to keep their names, since Ben still didn't feel like he deserved the name. Peter soon gave up the webs when he found out that Mary Jane was pregnant, leaving Ben as New York's only web-slinger.
While Peter Parker was on trial for a murder he didn't commit, Ben Reilly took Peter's spot in prison; giving Peter the mantle of Scarlet Spider, while the police figured out how to prove Peter Parker innocent. It was later revealed Kaine had committed the murder and due to being a clone, they thought it was Peter's fingerprint on the skeleton.
With Peter and Mary Jane leaving New York to lead a more quiet life in Portland, Peter offered Ben his Spider-Man suit. Ben, having turned down Peter's original costume, continued to operate as the Scarlet Spider, and joined the New Warriors, though none of the team members fully accepted him because he refused to reveal his identity. After Peter and Mary Jane moved away however, he took over the role of Spider-Man. He soon quit the New Warriors after Lady Octopus and Alistaire Smythe ruined his reputation using a holographic copy. Reilly concluded that the deception had worked because he was too new to the group for them to trust him.
With Peter gone and Ben still feeling guilty over letting his Uncle Ben down, he decided to become Spider-Man again and make up for that one moment of inaction. Having become Spider-Man, Ben began to shape his own life, between dyeing his hair blonde to distinguish himself from Peter (which almost didn't convince J. Jonah Jameson) , and working as a barista at local coffee house the Daily Grind. He even started dating local university students Jessica Carradine, whom he ended things with when it was revealed that she was the daughter of the burglar who killed Uncle Ben; and then Desiree Winthrop.
As the rumors of a new Spider-Man spread through the streets, Ben thought of contacting the Human Torch but had no idea what kind of relationship he and Peter had, the Human Torch eventually took the initiative and wrote a message to Spidey in the sky, asking him to meet with him at the Statue of Liberty. Ben saw this signal and went. On his way there Ben found Sandman and the Silver Sable and attacked Flint, unaware that the former criminal had reformed, which started a fight between the two. Ben was rescued by Johnny, who realized that he was indeed a different person to Peter Parker and angrily asked Spider-Man who he was but Ben said that he didn't have to explain himself to him.
During Christmas, Spider-Man learned about a mysterious new channel network called Mystery-Vision. In the Daily Grind, Ben met a photography student of the Centennial University named Jessica Carradine, she invited Ben to join her on a walk to the University where the two stumbled upon Doctor Ramirez, with Ben leaving Jessica to follow the Doctor as Spider-Man, he found him on his lab watching Mystery Vision on TV and being in some sort of trance by it. Spider-Man was able to resist the transmission thanks to his spider-sense and broke Ramirez out of the trance, the Professor told Spider-Man that Mystery Vision was using his DIT Chip to enthrall viewers. Spider-Man went to Mystery Vision's head office, which turned out to be an abandoned movie studio where he met Rudolph Hines, president of the company, who offered him to try a new pair of virtual reality goggles, as Hines disappeared and smoke filled the room, Ben learned that Mysterio was behind the new network.
Unfortunately and due to having put on the virtual reality goggles, Ben started to believe that all of which he saw was real when in reality they were all Mysterio's illusions. As Spider-Man kept being victim to the illusions that were broadcasted through Mystery-Vision, he was also attacked by Armada, who had escaped from Ryker's Island, Ben was saved from being killed by a kid named Shakim Panzos, who shot Armada to distract him while Spider-Man had time to get back up and defeat him. After this, Ben realized that he was seeing illusions created by the eyepieces he put on earlier.
Spider-Man couldn't find Mysterio at the abandoned theater so he decided to get some rest and even went on a date with Jessica, Ben then developed a means of tracking Mysterio's signal with a DIT tracking device developed by its creator. Spider-Man found and destroyed the transmitter which stopped the hypnotic signal, with Mysterio later being taken into custody. After saving a woman from committing suicide and stopping a supervillain known as Scorcher on christmas, Ben met up with Johnny Storm at the Statue of Liberty the next morning after the latter wrote another message in the sky for him. He learned that the Human Torch and Peter always met up on the statue on Christmas morning and received a Fantastic Four communicator as a gift from Johnny in case he needed someone to talk to in the future.
While chasing Slyde, Spider-Man encountered the X-Men, who seeked Peter Parker's help, so Ben had to explain to Cyclops, Storm, Angel, Iceman, and Wolverine his whole backstory. Spider-Man helped the X-Men stop Mister Sinister who was after a sample of Carnage, so the heroes fought both villains on Ravencroft. With Ben hurting Mister Sinister when he tried to get into his mind and was instead subjected to his horrible memories. Though they managed to stop Carnage from escaping Ravencroft, Mister Sinister got away.
Spider-Man learned through the Daily Bugle that Andrea Havershaw, a woman that helped him during his time on exile while he tutored her son Jason, had been murdered and the main suspect was the Black Cat according to Ken Ellis. Ben eventually found Felicia, who revealed to him that she knew that he wasn't Peter Parker and said that she didn't killed Andrea. Spider-Man later deduced that Andrea's killer was in fact Skull-Jacket on behalf of Jason Havershaw who owed money to the Russian Mob. After clearing the case, Black Cat told Ben that for the first time he earned the right to be named Spider-Man and kissed him before swinging away. Peter Parker and Mary Jane then returned to New York, due to missing it. Peter got a job at the Daily Bugle, using Ben's predicament as Spider-Man as a way of getting good cash.
When the Carnage symbiote escaped Ravencroft, Ben Reilly bonded with it to stop it harming anyone else, managing to keep himself under control long enough for John Jameson to drive it out with a potentially fatal blast of microwave radiation, forcing it to return to Kasady. Soon after this confrontation, Seward Trainer disappeared as Peter was trying to research his background, and Ben was framed for arson when the Grind was burned down. It was later revealed that it was actually the new Hobgoblin that was hired to burn down the diner.
While swinging through Manhattan, Ben was found by Daredevil, who wanted to learn who he really was as he was just talking to Peter Parker earlier. Ben explained his whole complicated history to him while eating a chili-dog and the two later fought the Shooter.
Ben Reilly's old girlfriend, Janine, eventually found him in back in New York, seemingly out of nowhere. After a short while of bliss, Kaine had come back and seemingly killed Janine. In anger, Ben chases him down only to get drugged and was sent into a hellish trip. Kaine then reveals that Janine was also drugged to appear dead and after a long anguish filled battle, Ben convinced Kaine to stop attacking them; and give himself in. Following Kaine's footsteps, Janine turns herself in; claiming that she was done running and wanted Ben to finally be happy.
During the Onslaught event, Sentinels invaded the city, which Ben and Peter helped fight off before the other heroes were sent to Franklin Richards' pocket dimension. Eventually, it was revealed that Trainer was working for Gaunt and Norman Osborn. Norman had survived the glider to his chest all those years ago and created the whole clone saga in order to drive Peter mad. During a confrontation between the Green Goblin and the two Spider-Men, Norman impaled Ben Reilly with his glider and Peter watched as he seemingly disintegrated, proving that Ben was the clone all along. Peter dispersed Ben's ashes across New York City from a rooftop.
Ghosts of the Past
Years later, Peter was attacked by a man named Damon Ryder (using the name Raptor), believing him to be Ben Reilly. Raptor showed Spider-Man a sketch of the arsonist and revealed that the arsonist looked like Peter and Ben. Ryder then appeared in New York City and confronted Peter, still believing him to be Ben Reilly and repeatedly calling him "Ben". The two fought in the middle of the office of Front Line after Raptor threatened to target Peter's family. Ryder gained the upper hand before Peter's coworkers got in the way, then left after handing over the article on the arsonist, with Ben Urich noting that it appeared to be Peter in the sketch. Ryder ditched his jacket not knowing a spider-tracer was on it, and headed to Peter's apartment to seemingly attack his roommate.
When Spider-Man reached the tagged jacket, he was attacked by Kaine. After a scuffle with Kaine, Peter returned to his apartment and found his roommate unharmed, though she gave him the address of Aunt May's home. Peter headed there, only to find Raptor holding Harry Osborn and his cousins hostage at gunpoint. As Raptor announced his plans to burn his friends and family to death right in front of him after he admitted his "true identity" as Ben Reilly, Kaine arrived, revealing that he had been working with Raptor. Kaine exposed both Peter's identity and his status as a "clone" of Reilly to Raptor, encouraging him to kill him, since if Reilly was a murderer, then Peter could be driven to kill as well. Refusing to accept this, Peter beat Raptor unconscious, while affirming his and Reilly's innocence and the fact that they would never murder anyone. He was forced to flee when the police arrived, which allowed Kaine and Raptor to escape.
Dead No More
Ben Reilly was brought back to life by Miles Warren through a new cloning procedure he devised that allowed his subjects to retain old memories, in the case of Ben, to the point of his death. As the procedure caused the clones to suffer from cellular degradation, Reilly was constantly killed and resurrected by Warren in an attempt to find a cure for it. Reilly managed to break free from the shackles used to restrain him and attacked Warren, almost killing him. However, at the last second, Reilly realized there were other ways to deal with Warren and decided to knock him unconscious instead and cloned him. Tricking Warren into thinking he was a clone, Reilly convinced him and his clones to work for him in return for the pills he created to keep the cellular degeneration at bay. Ben took on the identity of the Jackal, impersonating the real Miles Warren, and created New U Technologies with the intention to use Warren's new cloning technology for good.
As the Jackal, Ben started laying a network of influence across the United States, using New U's cloning procedure to bring back to life the loved ones of members of government, law enforcement agencies, medical institutions, and even the media. At one point, Ben also resurrected Gwen Stacy, offering her a place in his circle because he couldn't "trust himself with this." At first, she wasn't enthusiastic about it until she encountered her father, George Stacy, whom Ben had resurrected earlier, which convinced her to join.
In order to strengthen his enterprise, the Jackal recruited numerous of Spider-Man's foes, including the Rhino, the Lizard, and a depowered Electro. He also attempted to approach the Kingpin, who refused, claiming the Jackal had tainted the memory of his dead wife Vanessa, whom Ben had brought back to provide Fisk with an incentive.
Ben eventually had New U come to light, appearing in the world as a pharmaceutical company which provided high-end medical solutions using cloned organs. As part of Ben's plan to slowly convince Peter Parker to join his enterprise, he had New U doctor Rita Clarkson enter in contact with Peter Parker to offer him to save the life of his step-uncle Jay Jameson. Peter was initially reluctant, but ended up paying for New U's services, albeit for another patient, an employee of his named Jerry Salters who had suffered a near-fatal accident while working at Parker Industries and had but hours left to live. However, when the "cured" Jerry Salteres triggered his spider-sense, Peter became suspicious of New U, and had his ally the Prowler investigate their base of operations at San Francisco.
The Prowler arrived at New U's base when the Jackal attempted to submit Electro to a procedure that would restore his powers, but ended up powering up his lover Francine Frye instead, who Reilly had resurrected in order to make Dillon cooperate. The Prowler was accidentally killed by Frye when he was discovered snooping around, but Ben made a clone of him and convinced him to join his cause. The Jackal later brought back to life the late wife of John Jonah Jameson to use his news chain for publicity, as well as countless of friends and foes of Spider-Man. Through the machinations of a duplicate of Doctor Octopus, Ben also acquired the corpse of the original Doc Ock. The duplicate agreed to work for Ben once he took control of his new cloned body.
After Jerry Salteres mysteriously disappeared, having being taken by New U after suffering from cellular degeneration when he forgot to take his pills, Spider-Man personally investigated New U. When he infiltrated their base of operations, Peter was confronted by the Jackal, along with all of the villains who had been resurrected by him, Gwen and Captain Stacy. Ben offered Peter a chance to join him, in order to use the combined power of New U and Parker Industries to help the world, but Peter turned him down. When Gwen Stacy was outed as an impostor, with the original having being replaced by her superpowered counterpart from an alternate universe who had been investigating the Jackal's operations, Peter found the chance to escape with her.
Eluding capture from other villains, Ben caught up with Peter, who overpowered him easily. Finally, Ben unmasked and revealed his identity to Peter. He made his offer again to Peter, this time offering up the chance to bring back Uncle Ben as an incentive. After hearing Ben's story of his resurrection, Peter accompanied him to his secondary base of operations, seemingly giving Ben a chance.
Once there, Ben showed Peter the apparent utopia he had built, a place where Spider-Man's friends and foes coexisted peacefully. Having realized that Ben possessed power but not responsibility, Peter reprimanded him, prompting Ben to order the villains he had brought back to attack him. Reilly returned to the lab, where Doc Ock and Ben's hostage Anna Maria Marconi had discovered it was a specific type of frequency which caused the cellular decay, and an inverse frequency could stop the decay altogether. Doc Ock amplified the frequency responsible for the decay and piped it throughout the base after discovering that the Jackal was a clone, having decided to sabotage his enterprise for having disrespected Anna Maria, whom Otto loved. When all the clones in the base began to break down and turn into Carrions, Ben decided to broadcast the decaying signal across the entire world, causing an outbreak of the Carrion Virus globally, with the intention to bring every single person back as a clone once they had died.
Ben kept fighting Doctor Octopus while Spider-Man hacked into the emergency system of his Webware and had all of these devices globally emit the inverse frequency, stopping the outbreak and curing all those who hadn't yet completely broken down. During their fight, Octavius shattered Ben's Webware, preventing both of them from being cured. Ben then attempted to transfer his mind to a prototype body of New U's ultimate clone template created by Octavius. However, Octavius was already expecting Ben to do so and set a trap on the mind-transferring device that rendered Ben unconscious. When Ben woke up, the proto-clone was gone and Doc Ock's old body was dissolved, suggesting that Octavius was able to transfer his mind to the clone before his body broke down and fled. After using the dissolved remains of a Miles Warren clone to make it seem he had perished, Ben escaped the building and stole a Webware to stabilize his own body.
Arriving at his safe house, which had been built by the Miles Warren clones to resemble Aunt May's house, Ben was confronted by the real Miles Warren in his original Jackal costume, bent on getting revenge on Reilly for stripping him of his identity. The Jackal started a fire to burn what was left of New U's resources and attacked Ben, but was ultimately defeated and buried under the wreckage of the burning house. After leaving the Jackal to die (metaphorically and literally), Ben set out to pave a new future for himself.
Life in Las Vegas
Ben relocated to Las Vegas in an attempt to begin a new life, returning to mantle of Scarlet Spider in the process. Ben's past still haunted him, seemingly in the form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which caused Ben to hallucinate with his past alter-egos. Not long after that, Reilly was forced into an alliance with one of his former clients from New U, influential businesswoman Cassandra Mercury, whose terminally-ill daughter Abigail had been one of the many people replaced with healthy clones by the Jackal. Reilly reluctantly agreed to investigate Abigail's disease and find a cure for her condition. On Ben's trail was Kaine, who wanted to kill Reilly for his actions as the Jackal. Once both Scarlet Spiders came face to face, Kaine agreed to let Ben go until Abigail was cured.
In an unusual turn of events, Ben was confronted by the personification of Death itself, who had become fixated on Reilly due to the many times he had died and come back to life. Death warned Ben that his many passings through the afterlife had corrupted his soul, though it would eventually heal in due time to the point he could return to being the hero he once was; however, one more death and resurrection would forever contaminate his soul. As a parting gift, Death offered to bring either Kaine, who had been killed by Death when he tried to attack Ben, or Abigail, who had died of her injuries, back to life, prompting Ben to offer his own life in order to save theirs. Amused, Death not only resurrected Kaine and Abigail but healed the scars in Ben's face too. In the middle of continuing his research on Abby's disease, the Scarlet Spider came into conflict with Hornet, who had seemingly returned from the dead. Although he learned that his restoration by Death came at the price of regaining his scars if he compromised his heroism, Reilly collected himself to confront the newly-reformed Slingers and their accusation of his recent beating of a man responsible for stealing food from the Mercury Casino. Learning that the Hornet was actually Cyber and the Black Marvel a demon, Reilly worked alongside Kaine and the Slingers to exorcise the demon. The Slingers accepted Reilly's apology for the earlier beating, recognizing that there were shades of grey. On the advice of Dusk, Reilly investigated reports of Quentin Beck in Las Vegas, but departed satisfied at Beck's story that he had decided to retire after his recent experiences, since that reminded Ben that he came to Las Vegas for the same reason as Quentin: having a second chance.
Ben became entangled in a demonic conflict that erupted in Las Vegas, since the mysterious Diogenes Initiative coerced him into assisting the Midnight Sons stop Mephisto's attempt in taking the souls of the residents of the city. During the conflict, Mephisto approached Ben offered him to save Abigail's life and purify his soul in exchange for helping him stop the Midnight Sons. Ben accepted the offer, but ultimately went back on his word.
Continuing his search for a cure for Abigail's disease, Ben crossed paths with the Diogenes Initiative again and met its leader, the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel gave Ben a vial containing his own blood to cure Abigail. However, when Ben was about to inject the cure on Abigail on her deathbed, a lesser demon posing as Mephisto acted on Ben's defiance. It created created a complex deception that stopped Ben from saving Abigail, falling under the belief that the cure would condemn her to an immortal existence at her current age, and subsequently altered Kaine and Cassandra's memories so that they would try to kill Ben; believing that Ben willingly withheld the cure for his own profit. After learning of the Mephisto-lookalike's deception, Ben injected the cure on Abigail, but since she had passed away it didn't have an immediate effect. Although Ben was killed by Kaine just as the hour ran out, his spirit was saved by Abigail's as she ascended to an spiritual level of existence because of his cure. Abigail rewarded Ben for all of his sacrifices by offering to give him his life back. Ben refused, recalling Death's words that his soul would be shattered if he came back to life once again, nevertheless, Abigail revived him. Initially fearing the consequences of Death's warning, Ben quickly discovered that he had been driven sociopathic due to the damage to his soul, and he enjoyed it. Afterwards, Ben assaulted Kaine and fatally injured him, threatening him to leave Las Vegas if he survived. However, after he left, he soon broke down in an alleyway, crying.
When the Superior Octopus approached Kaine and revealed that the Inheritors had used New U's cloning technology to escape their prison, Ben followed them and volunteered his services - wanting to take responsibility for his villainous actions. Otto initially refused, still holding a grudge over Ben's deception as the Jackal, but Ben explained that having been killed and resurrected so many times had driven him insane and that he was trying to redeem himself - something that Otto should be able to identify with.
Otto begrudgingly allowed Ben to join the team, but after Spider-Nor-Man and Spiders-Man sundered Earth-616's connection to the Web of Life and Destiny he betrayed Ben - giving him to the Inheritors in exchange for the other Spiders being left alone. Jennix consumed Ben, but was driven insane by being forced to relive the memories of his 27 deaths and resurrections. Ben was resurrected a 28th time by Otto, who revealed he and Ben had planned for this to happen; and Ben stated it had given him a clean slate. Not only his scars disappeared, but apparently this last death/resurrection has made him sane again, as he declared it has put him "back to factory settings". After the Inheritors were defeated, Ben, like the rest of the Spider-Army, returned home. Ben returned to Las Vegas where he fought Conan and Nyla Skin, thinking they were bad guys, but they were able to knock him out.
Returning to New York, Ben took a part-time job as a night shift security guard for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. During this time, he was one of several off-the-wall heroes recruited into a makeshift team by Iron Man for his mission to defeat the resurgent villainous android Korvac. The team, which would earn the sobriquet of the "Space Friends", raced Korvac to Taa II to stop him from acquiring the Power Cosmic. After both Iron Man and Korvac imbued themselves with the Power Cosmic and ascended to godhood, the "Space Friends" returned to Earth. Following his return home, Ben was approached by the Beyond Corporation to become Spider-Man once again as part of their initiative to privatize super heroes. Ben's boss was Maxine Danger, the head of Beyond's Hero Department. As part of Ben's employment, Beyond arranged the release of Janine Godbe from prison, resulting in the rekindling of their romance. Reilly also counted with an improved suit, gadgets, and a support team headed by his handler, Marcus Momplaisir.
Ben eventually reached out to Peter, who was ill-disposed to him taking up the mantle without asking. Beyond secretly had their own plans for Ben's predecessor, and they arranged for a fight between the two Spider-Men and the U-Foes, which resulted in Peter being hospitalized due to acute radiation poisoning. Before Peter fell into a coma, Ben received his blessing to be Spider-Man. During Ben's subsequent period as Spider-Man, he confronted Morbius the Living Vampire, and Kraven the Hunter. One of his earliest disagreements with Beyond came when the company intended for him to fight Miles Morales, another holder of the Spider-Man mantle which was seen as unacceptable by Ben's superiors due to Beyond's holding of the Spider-Man trademark. Ben also teamed up with the Black Cat to attend to the unfinished business of the deceased Doctor Strange, which ended with her warming up to Ben in his role as Peter's replacement.
Around this time, Ben had a brush with the law after New York City's Mayor Wilson Fisk outlawed vigilantism as part of his vendetta against Daredevil. Ben was one of many super heroes arrested by the government-enforced Thunderbolt Units, but he was quickly rescued from police custody by The Thing and the Human Torch. Fisk's son, the Rose, set his sights on Spider-Man and used a kidnapped Marcus to bait him, but ended up being defeated. Ben's trust in Beyond was subsequently shattered after Doctor Octopus targeted the company for their use of his technology. After being defeated by Ben on behalf of Beyond, Octavius entrusted him with a hard drive containing the company's secrets, as well as the revelation that Ben's employers had picked him because they saw him as psychologically compromised and easy to manipulate. When Maxine discovered that Reilly had learned Beyond's secrets, she forced him into a device to scrub his mind, which unwittingly erased most of the formative memories that Ben had inherited from Peter.
Ben quickly became aware of the missing pieces of his mind, and went on the run from Beyond. By this time, Peter had already recovered from his major injuries, and suited up after Beyond unleashed a new villainess named the Queen Goblin. He helped Ben break into Beyond's Staten Island super villain facility, but with Reilly's moral compass compromised, he set free a monster called Creature Z to cause a distraction while he went after Maxine Danger. Once Reilly stormed Beyond Tower, Maxine enticed him into trying to use the memory-extracting device on Peter to take back his memories from their original source. When Peter caught up with Ben, they fought viciously as the building became flooded with a quantum-shifting polymer intended to cover Beyond's tracks. After Peter destroyed the device, Ben let himself become submerged in this substance in defeat, and the building exploded. Reilly was left for dead, but Janine returned for him and discovered he had become mutated by the polymer. Tormented by his missing memories, Ben fled from Janine, taking on the alias of Chasm.
Ben later met and started to team up with the Goblin Queen. Madelyne made a demon possess a mailbox, with Spider-Man intervening and defeating the demon. Ben and Madelyne watched from afar, with Ben saying that he thinks his teamwork with her will work, with Madelyne agreeing since they have a lot in common.
As a clone of Spider-Man, Ben possesses the same powers he does.
- Superhuman Strength: The Scarlet Spider possesses the proportionate strength of a spider, granting him superhuman strength. He is capable of lifting 10 tons or more when under extreme stress. The Scarlet Spider's strength extends into his powerful leg muscles which allows him to leap heights and distances far beyond human capability.
- Superhuman Stamina: The Scarlet Spider is able to exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue begins to impair his performance.
- Superhuman Speed: The Scarlet Spider is capable of running and moving at speeds that are far beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete. Scarlet Spider has shown to be fast enough to catch up to an accelerating car while on foot, but preferred to travel by webs.
- Superhuman Durability: The composition of the Scarlet Spider's skeleton, inter-connected tissues, and nervous system had all been enhanced. His bodily tissues are somewhat more durable and resistant to impact or trauma than an ordinary human, although he is certainly not invulnerable. While his body is tougher than an ordinary human, he can still be injured in ways comparable to an ordinary human. He is seemingly killed when impaled in the back by the Green Goblin's goblin glider. He was able to catch a bullet at close range in his hand, although the act was very painful.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: If injured, his body is capable of regenerating faster than an ordinary human being is capable of.
- Superhuman Agility: The Scarlet Spider is extraordinarily limber and his tendons and connective tissues are twice as elastic as the average human being's, despite their enhanced strength.
- Superhuman Reflexes: The Scarlet Spider's reflexes are faster than an average human by about a factor of 40 (he his often able to dodge bullets only inches from hitting him). His practical reaction time is at least a dozen times that of a normal human. In combination with his spider-sense, the speed of his reflexes allowed him to dodge almost any attack, even bullets only inches away from his face.
- Superhuman Equilibrium: The Scarlet Spider possesses the ability to achieve a state of perfect equilibrium in any position imaginable. He seems able to adjust his position by instinct, which enables him to balance himself on virtually any object, no matter how small or narrow. He had developed a unique fighting style that made full use of his agility, strength, and equilibrium.
- Spider-Sense: The Scarlet Spider possesses an extrasensory "danger" or "spider" sense which warns him of potential immediate danger by the manifestation of a tingling sensation in the back of his skull, and links with his superhuman kinesthetics, which enable him to evade most any injuries, unless he cognitively overrides his automatic reflexes. The precise nature of this sense is unknown. It appears to be a simultaneous clairvoyant response to a wide variety of phenomena (everything from falling safes to speeding bullets to thrown punches), which has given several hundredths of a second warning, which is sufficient time for his reflexes to allow him to avoid injury. The sense also can create a general response on the order of several minutes: he can not discern the nature of the threat by the sensation. He can, however, discern the severity of the danger by the strength of his response to it. The Scarlet Spider's spider-sense is directional and could guide him to or away from hidden weapons and enemies. Sudden and extreme threats can cause his spider-sense to react with painful intensity. The Scarlet Spider can also sense and dodge attacks directed randomly or by a computer. Using his spider-sense to time his enhanced reflexes, the Scarlet Spider can casually dodge attacks up to and including automatic-weapons fire, provided there is sufficient distance. His spider-sense is sufficiently well-linked to his reflexes to the point that a threat could trigger them even when the Scarlet Spider is asleep or stunned. His spider-sense has helped him preserve his secret identity since it alerts him to observers or camera when changing into or out of his costume. The spider-sense does react to those who Ben does not consider to be a threat, such as Aunt May. The Scarlet Spider can choose to ignore his spider-sense, and distraction or fatigue diminish its effectiveness. The Scarlet Spider's fighting style incorporates the advantage that his "spider-sense" provides him. An interesting side-note was that, because Ben was not the host of the Venom Symbiote and was cloned before the Symbiote was bonded to Peter, his spider-sense did not see the Venom symbiote as himself, and Venom therefore triggered his spider-sense.
- Wall-Crawling: The Scarlet Spider possesses the ability to mentally control the flux of interatomic attraction (electrostatic force) between molecular boundary layers. This overcomes the outer electron shell's normal behavior of mutual repulsion with other outer electron shells and permits the tremendous potential for electron attraction to prevail. The mentally controlled sub-atomic particle responsible for this has yet to be identified. This ability to affect the attraction between surfaces is so far limited to the Scarlet Spider's body (especially concentrated in his hands and feet) and another object, with an upper limit of several tons per finger. Limits to this ability seem to be psychosomatic, and the full nature of this ability has yet to be established.
Web-Shooters: Ben originally had web-shooters that were duplicates of Peter's. After his first encounter with Venom, Ben redesigned his web-shooters to use twisting wrist motions as opposed to Peter's double tap. He also added the following to his arsenal:
- Impact Webbing: Web pellets that, upon impact (hence the name), release tendrils that ensnare the target.
- Stingers: Metal darts with a paralytic element that is used to temporarily incapacitate foes.
- Between his first appearance and the Clone Saga, modern science seemed to conclude that cloning wasn't possible. Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8 and Spectacular Spider-Man #149 attempted to address this revelation by having the High Evolutionary determine the Jackal's clones of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy weren't clones at all, but individuals who were exposed to a recombinant-DNA virus that altered them into exact doubles. The Spider-Man Clone was therefore "really" a man named Anthony Serba, under the influence of the RNA virus. When the second Clone Saga brought back the clones (and medical science swung back to believing cloning was possible), Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1 just had the High Evolutionary admit he lied, and Ben Reilly was a clone, not Anthony Serba.
- Although most people had accepted that the 'new' Spider-Man was the same person as the old one (the first time that Ben took up the mantle of Spider-Man), various heroes and villains learned the truth, including Black Cat, Silver Sable, Firestar, Sandman, Venom, the Human Torch, Daredevil, Mysterio, Cyclops, Storm, Angel, Iceman, and Wolverine.
- Ben claimed that he has found a cure for degradation cellular in the form of New U Pills. They apparently prevent the cloned bodies from breaking down as a consequence of a flaw in their cloning process, and need to be ingested daily since the effect of these pills isn't permanent. Ben himself suffered from the same cellular degeneration as the other clones recently resurrected by New U.
- Spider-Geddon seems to ignore the events of Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #24 and #25, as Kaine is alive and well and Ben seems to genuinely want to atone for his sins. As well, his absorption by Jennix is treated as his 28th death and not his 29th. His resurrection by the Superior Spider-Man did not appear to permanently corrupt him, and he even claims he has been returned to "factory settings."
- Wong somehow recognized that Ben wasn't the original Spider-Man he knew, although he's wearing a suit that's almost the same with the real Spider-Man.
- According to Dr. Ashley Kafka, Ben displayed symptoms of PTSD.
- During his brief tenure as The Sensational Spider-Man, Ben dyed his hair blond, to lessen his resemblance to Peter Parker. Since his return in Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, the hair has returned to being brunette. It was suggested by Peter that Ben has kept it this way so he could replace Peter should he not go along with his plans. After being contacted by the Beyond Corporation to become Spider-Man once more, Ben dyed his hair blond again.
- Ben, like all of Peter's clones, does not set off Peter's Spider-Sense and vice versa.
- Venom was not hidden from Ben's Spider-Sense as the symbiote was never bonded to him; however, in Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #16, he claims that wasn't true.
- In the story "What If Spider-Man's Clone Had Lived?" from What If? #30, an alternate climax to Amazing Spider-Man #149 is presented, in which the clone knocks Peter out, thinking he is the clone, and is able to rescue Gwen Stacy's clone and Ned Leeds. He then locks Peter in a Cryo Tube and, after living Peter's life for a day, realizes that he is the clone. He wakes Peter up and informs him about the Kingpin challenging him. After the defeat of the Kingpin, Peter and his clone agree to live together and share duties as Spider-Man. Since, in this tale, he doesn't go in to exile, the clone is never referred to as Ben in this story.
- In the Amalgam Universe, Ben (during his original time as Spider-Man) was combined with Superboy, creating Spider-Boy.
- Ben's first death was on Halloween day.
- The one to give Ben the Scarlet Spider moniker was Ken Ellis.
- At some point, Mister Sinister created a group of clones that all claimed to be Ben Reilly.
- The costume Ben Reilly temporarily wore in his new series was stolen by him from a cosplayer.
- Ben's computer password is "Kaine." He claims it's because he's a sucker for sentiment.
- According to Death, Ben has died more than anyone else in the universe.
- Both Misty Knight and Miles Morales were able to differentiate Ben's voice from Peter's.
- Colleen Wing noted that Ben is slower on his right side.
- As Beyond's Spider-Man, Ben had a Twitter account.
- 301 appearance(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 7 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 47 minor appearance(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 56 mention(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 5 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 410 image(s) of Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 53 quotation(s) by or about Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
- 7 item(s) used/owned by Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616) on Marvel.com
- Benjamin Reilly (Earth-616) on Wikipedia.org
- Ben Reilly (Earth-616) at Spiderfan.org
- Life of Reilly - A very detailed 35-part exploration of the Clone Saga
- The Clone Saga Timeline
- The Official Fans of Reilly Thread - Long Running Ben Reilly Fan Thread at the Superherohype