Spider-Man: No Way Home featured a trio of different Spider-Men on screen, but one version of Peter Parker it didn’t portray was his clone, Ben Reilly. Ben Reilly is a product of Clone Saga, one of the most controversial storylines in Spider-Man comics history. However, comic book fans know he’s since become a key piece of the modern Spidey mythos and one of Peter Parker’s closest allies.
He’s now become one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies. Ben Reilly has become Chasm, and his evolution from him may signal his eventual future on-screen appearance as part of either the MCU or more likely the Sony Marvel Universe. Ben Reilly’s comic book history is well worth brushing up on as his importance increases in the Marvel Universe and his live-action debut seems inevitable.
Though Ben Reilly is generally considered to have first appeared in Clone Saga from the 1990s, a Spider-Man comic storyline the MCU should avoid, he actually appeared much earlier. Ben Reilly actually appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 from 1975.
He wasn’t called Ben at the time and wouldn’t be for decades, but Spider-Man fought the clone of himself to his apparent death. The clone’s survival would be considered in a classic What If..? story years before he was actually brought back in 1994.
Created By The Jackal
The Jackal, one of Spider-Man’s most underrated comic book villains, is responsible for Ben Reilly. In The Amazing Spider-Man #149, the Jackal obtains a DNA sample of Peter Parker and creates a clone of him as part of his bid to clone the late Gwen Stacy.
The confusion over which Peter Parker is the clone begins immediately and Clone Saga would later capitalize on it to extremes by playing out the mystery for years across all of the active Spider-Man titles at the time.
Ben Reilly was a drifter for many years after his apparent death. During this time, he fought the first and unsuccessful clone of Peter Parker, Kaine. Kaine is one of the most powerful versions of Spider-Man and one of the most dangerous.
Kaine would go on to threaten both Ben and Peter Parker during Clone Saga but his earliest encounters with Ben were perhaps the evilest. He killed Ben’s mentor, a scientist who encouraged Ben’s growth and value of him as an individual.
The Scarlet Spider
Believing he is the real Peter Parker, Ben Reilly returns to New York City after learning of Aunt May’s declining health. This leads to an identity crisis for the real Peter and a major shift in the status quo of Spider-Man, with Ben becoming the Scarlet Spider.
Thinking he’s the clone, Peter Parker leaves behind Spider-Man and New York, and Ben takes over. He dons a new costume that in some ways reflects its mid-90s era, but the hooded look has since become synonymous with another major Spider-Man, Miles Morales.
The Jackal returns in the Maximum Cloning storyline to add to the confusion over who is the real Peter Parker. Things escalate further when Peter teams up with The Jackal out of severe confusion over his identity, despite The Jackal’s plan to wipe out humanity.
This leads to more conflict between Peter and Ben, and for a time after the end of the story and The Jackal’s apparent death, Ben Reilly wants nothing to do with Spider-Man at all. He’s not able to escape his destiny from him, though.
Ben Reilly would officially become Spider-Man when Peter decided to retire from the position. Ben created a new costume that echoed the original Spidey look but with an exaggerated and off-center Spider-icon that would become his default look for years.
This suit features upgraded web-shooters that are more powerful than Peter Parker’s. They also introduced new capabilities, like “stinger” webs that could incapacitate enemies, a concept that would be further developed in the MCU with Peter’s different suits.
Clone Saga would seemingly end along with Ben Reilly when he died at the hands of Norman Osborn, who returned after being dead for nearly twenty years in the comics. Ben died saving Peter’s life, seemingly bringing his story to a close.
His death also answered the question of which one was the clone, as his body de-materialized, as all the other clones did. No one is ever dead in Marvel Comics, though, and Ben would return after a lengthy absence, as yet another clone.
The New Jackal
Ben Reilly would initially reappear in the form of the New Jackal, a disturbing echo of his villainous creator. This version of Ben is a clone who has been replicated dozens of times after a scientist named Miles Warren failed to recreate him initially.
The New Jackal assumes the clone ambitions of his predecessor, perfecting the process and bringing back many villains of Spider-Man who were previously thought dead. He also tries to carry out The Jackal’s original plan to replace all of humanity with clones.
The New Warriors
The New Warriors have a shot at becoming one of the best MCU teams with the news Nova is coming to the franchise. Ben Reilly could join them in live-action as he did in the comics, becoming a member for a brief period in the mid-90s.
Ben joins the team of young superheroes in The New Warriors #62 and begins a brief romance with Firestar, who was originally introduced as Peter Parker’s friend and partner in the animated series Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends.
Ben has been Peter Parker’s close ally and friend in recent years, with the two forming a strong bond. That has taken a dark turn in recent comics, with Ben becoming a new and powerful enemy named Chasm after being manipulated by the Beyond Corporation.
Ben bonds with what appears to be an alien symbiote similar to Venom and Carnage, a development that makes him very likely to appear in the context of the Sony Marvel Universe, where both Venom and Carnage have already appeared. Ben and Chasm could potentially appear in the MCU though, thanks to Venom leaving behind a bit of symbiote matter in the closing moments of No Way Home.
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