Comics Reviews

One Spider-Man Doesn’t Deserve a Happy Ending


The latest Spider-Man is having real trouble keeping himself from losing control of himself — and will always seemingly be doomed to a tragic fate.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #85 by Cody Ziglar, Paco Medina, Walden Wong, Wayne Faucher, Andrew Hennessy, Victor Olazaba, Roberto Poggi, Espen Grundetjern, and VC’s Joe Caramagna, now on sale from Marvel Comics

Spider-Man has always been defined by his ability to overcome the weight of the world to be a hero. Regardless who’s under the mask, having the resolve to be a hero even in tough times has always defined Spider-Man as a character. That’s what makes the tragic elements of Ben Reilly’s current internal issues all the more heartbreaking and inevitable.

Amazing Spider-Man #85 reveals just how easy it is to shake Ben Reilly (the former Scarlet Spider) despite his confidence taking on the mantle of Spider-Man. While he might have good intentions, Ben just seems doomed to never achieve a truly happy ending.


RELATED:Spider-Man’s Terrifying New Team May Have Created His Next Major Villain

Ben Reilly’s current tenure as Spider-Man has been something of a mixed bag. Although he’s enjoyed the fresh chance to prove himself as much of a hero as Peter Parker, working for Beyond has resulted in some difficult choices. The company’s history has also suggested they have some nefarious plans in motion, catching the attention of Doctor Octopus. After fighting the villain, Ben is shown the extensive files Beyond has regarding him. Despite getting beaten down by Ben, Doctor Octopus is able to achieve a surprising victory by forcing Spider-Man to consider his recent development.


Doctor Octopus does more to shake Ben with this simple act than any of his punches did. Afterward, Ben returns home to his Beyond-sponsored apartment. Considering himself in the mirror, Ben quickly smashes his mirror — implying he might be losing control of himself after a period of time going through various identity issues. Despite his initial impulse to be a hero, Ben has a history of being a corrupted Spider-Man. Despite his heroic tendencies, Ben Reilly tends to be doomed to a more tragic and complicated fate. Ben’s multiple deaths over the year stole a happy ending from the hero, and resulted in Peter Parker embracing his previous role.


RELATED: Marvel Announces John Romita Jr.’s Amazing Spider-Man Return This Spring

The ensuing mental trauma shattered his nobility, leading him to become the new incarnation of the Jackal. Even his “return” to heroism resulted in a brutal Ben who lashed out at his enemies. It was so bad, he was considered a genuine threat by other Spider-Heroes for a time. Even working for Beyond has quietly had Spider-Man helping the people who should be his enemies. But the ultimate indicator that this Spider-Man isn’t going to get a happy ending is in his response to these discoveries. Despite the stability he’s found with his girlfriend Janine and the benefits of his recent therapy, Ben can’t seem to overcome his more chaotic side.


When Peter Parker has had his entire life thrown into question by his enemies, he looked inward and tried to rise up. Even overcoming the inherent pain of his commitment to being a hero has become a major factor of Peter’s storyline in the hospital. But Ben can’t even take one shock to his worldview without seemingly cracking under the pressure. Ben instead might lash out and become more like his previously villainous form. This is what will keep Ben from becoming the true Spider-Man he seems to believe himself to be. In the process though, he might do some real damage to Spider-Man’s identity, and potentially doom his own loved ones to a chaotic new lift. It makes sense then why Ben has never found anywhere near the stability that Peter has defined — and why he likely never will.


KEEP READING: Spider-Man: How Peter Parker Became Best Friends With One Of His Superior Foes

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