30th May2017

‘Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #2′ & ‘X-Men: Blue #4′ Review(s)

by Dan Clark

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Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #2

Written by Peter David | Art by Mark Bagley | Published by Marvel Comics

Dan Slott has stated that every time he has a major event storyline he tries to use the event to propel a character to their own individual series. This process has led to mixed results as a character like Silk has found an audience, but a book like Prowler was dead on arrival. Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider has some major talent behind it. Peter David has had some great success with Marvel, and Mark Bagley is putting in some quality work in this book, but there is this enormous albatross that hangs over this book hindering it from being successful. Unfortunately I do not see them being able to overcome that albatross as it is the titular character Ben Reily. He is simply not that compelling of a character.

Now I will be the first to say that a great writer can make any character work, but it does not happen overnight. Not helping is how many different types of Spider-Man characters have filled the pages of Marvel over the last few years including right now. We have Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, Silk, and the upcoming Spectacular Spider-Man just to name a few. This series is only in issue two and it is already  collecting from a well the long lay barren.

Peter David does give this series some key moments that show some potential. Specifically a sequence where Ben shows he is willing to go places where his clone Peter is not. Threatening to possibly torture someone for information is not something you would expect for a Spider-Man linked hero. I get that they want to make Ben into a darker more anti-hero version of Peter Parker, but is that something the world needs? What makes Peter Parker such a remarkable character is his wiliness to stay moral despite the immense challenges and failures he faces. When you take that away you just have a character that is like everyone else.

**½  2.5/5

X-Men: Blue #4

Written by Cullen Bunn | Art by Julian Lopez | Pulbished by Marvel Comics

When this books was first announced I was disappointed that the past X-Men team was staying in the present. What started as a fun idea wore out its welcome and had no other place to go. Now four issues in this has become the best X-Men book on the shelves in quite some time. Cullen Bunn has ahold of these characters like a true master craftsmen should. He knows what has made them work for so many years and we are now seeing that on the page.

This issue is your classic lead in issue to the next big arc. Nothing truly major occurs as the pieces are getting put in place for the next big conflict.  A new Wolverine shows up to add to the ever growing list. No this is not X23 nor Old Man but rather Logan’s son from the Ultimate universe. How and why he is here is still unknown, but if the final page is any indicator this is only the beginning of strange extra dimensional characters making an appearance.

With Jorge Molina taking a break from this series I was worried this book would lack a big piece of what has made it work. Unlike many artist Molina draws these characters as actual teenagers. Julian Lopez keeps that trend, even if it’s still a little odd seeing Jean Grey with such distinct freckles.

***½  3.5/5

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