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  1. #1
    Y'know. Pav's Avatar
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    Default Comparing Scarlet Solos: A Brief Analysis

    Hey all! With the expected end of Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider coming in a few months, I've started thinking about how this series compares with Kaine's solo from a few years back. Just now, it hit me how similar both of these series are! Think about it: both series gave us...

    -new settings, Houston and Las Vegas

    -multiple costumes: Kaine's stealth suit changed look for the Wolverine arc, and obviously Ben had that Spidercide-looking number at the beginning of his series

    -weird love interests: Kaine's lady-friends consisted of that crazy bazooka lady and Shathra, while Ben has flirted with Death herself and Cassandra Mercury

    -creepy kids: Kaine teamed up with Hummingbird, while Ben has fought that little red-haired girl from the Diogenes Initiative

    -superhero guest teams: Kaine's book featured an appearance from the Rangers, while Ben's book gave us a healthy dose of the Slingers

    -crossovers: Kaine participated in the Minimum Carnage crossover with Venom, while Ben was a part of the Damnation event

    -perspective: both characters emerged from life-altering events prior to the start of their respective series

    -old school villain spotlight: Kaine took on Kraven the Hunter and Ben fought Mysterio

    And these were really just off the top of my head!

    Perhaps, when Ben's series finishes, it might be fun to go back and read both series again for comparison's sake.

    Curious what others may think about this.

    -Pav, who hopes Ben can establish himself as well as Kaine has post-solo...
    Last edited by Pav; 08-02-2018 at 03:22 PM.
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Hey all! With the expected end of Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider coming in a few months, I've started thinking about how this series compares with Kaine's solo from a few years back. Just now, it hit me how similar both of these series are! Think about it: both series gave us...

    -new settings, Houston and Las Vegas

    -multiple costumes: Kaine's stealth suit changed look for the Wolverine arc, and obviously Ben had that Spidercide-looking number at the beginning of his series

    -weird love interests: Kaine's lady-friends consisted of that crazy bazooka lady and Shathra, while Ben has flirted with Death herself and Cassandra Mercury

    -creepy kids: Kaine teamed up with Hummingbird, while Ben has fought that little red-haired girl from the Diogenes Initiative

    -superhero guest teams: Kaine's book featured an appearance from the Rangers, while Ben's book gave us a healthy dose of the Slingers

    -crossovers: Kaine participated in the Minimum Carnage crossover with Venom, while Ben was a part of the Damnation event

    -perspective: both characters emerged from life-altering events prior to the start of their respective series

    -old school villain spotlight: Kaine took on Kraven the Hunter and Ben fought Mysterio

    And these were really just off the top of my head!

    Perhaps, when Ben's series finishes, it might be fun to go back and read both series again for comparison's sake.

    Curious what others may think about this.

    -Pav, who hopes Ben can establish himself as well as Kaine has post-solo...

    i'd add that the life altering events were also character altering results. neither character was much like their 90s incarnation by the time of their solo series.

    oh, and both of them were haunted by imaginary ben reillys...weirdly enough.
    troo fan or death

  3. #3
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    The two series are very similar when you put it that way. The crossovers and classic (you made Mysterio sad with your "old" comment!) villain guest stars are things that you could say work on a marketing level as a way to attract new readers. Maybe also the new places and new costumes. So I would have expected those.

    I'd also add, along the lines of perspective, that there was a fresh start involved for Kaine and Ben respectively in their two series. Both were escaping from a recent villainous turn. And both struggled with baggage from that during their series

    Hoping PAD is able to end this series with a definitive place in the world for Ben
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  4. #4
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Yeah, they do sound awfully similar, come to think of it, but the difference is that Kaine's Scarlet Spider series was picking up from the ending/epilogue of Spider-Island, where a physically and mentally restored Kaine heroically saved the world, or at least helped greatly, while Ben's Scarlet Spider series picked up from the ending/epilogue of The Clone Conspiracy, where a resurrected and deranged Ben not only took up the alias and modus operandi of the Jackal, but also tried to end the world as we know it (and kill his own "brothers") in a fit of pique over his grand plans to "save" everyone from death being ruined or opposed. The latter was always going to be a tougher sell because of that, since how do you make someone who essentially tried to destroy the world in his previous appearance come off as any sort of heroic? Then again, if they could pull it off with the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius after hijacking Peter Parker's body and life) and more recently the Superior Octopus (also Otto, this time in a body cloned from Peter's DNA and his own), maybe they were thinking lightning might strike twice with Ben Reilly.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  5. #5
    Y'know. Pav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    Yeah, they do sound awfully similar, come to think of it, but the difference is that Kaine's Scarlet Spider series was picking up from the ending/epilogue of Spider-Island, where a physically and mentally restored Kaine heroically saved the world, or at least helped greatly, while Ben's Scarlet Spider series picked up from the ending/epilogue of The Clone Conspiracy, where a resurrected and deranged Ben not only took up the alias and modus operandi of the Jackal, but also tried to end the world as we know it (and kill his own "brothers") in a fit of pique over his grand plans to "save" everyone from death being ruined or opposed. The latter was always going to be a tougher sell because of that, since how do you make someone who essentially tried to destroy the world in his previous appearance come off as any sort of heroic? Then again, if they could pull it off with the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius after hijacking Peter Parker's body and life) and more recently the Superior Octopus (also Otto, this time in a body cloned from Peter's DNA and his own), maybe they were thinking lightning might strike twice with Ben Reilly.
    Great points, Hunt. The question of Ben's appeal after becoming the Jackal is left up to whether or not each fan was able to feel empathy for Ben's perspective, based on the work of the creative team. I think it's safe to say that Dan Slott faltered in building an emotional connection between Ben and the reader - which is a shame, because I think the bones of a good story are here. (Plus, Ben's Jackal costume was pretty boss - that helps with readers, as we all know!)

    For me, I just tried to remember that Ben's motivation was not to destroy the world; he saw himself with a responsibility to save the world from death. I think this deranged take on the power/responsibility dichotomy was really brilliant on Dan's part, but unfortunately, we weren't given enough opportunity to find common ground, though the beginnings of the story with Rhino and Lizard were appreciated. If Ben hadn't become a cackling maniac and instead been portrayed as a good man dealing with a break from reality, it would've worked much better.

    One good thing about comics, though, is that stories can be retroactively "cleaned up" - maybe Ben's CC characterization can eventually get the touch-up it deserves.

    -Pav, who wouldn't mind being saved from death...
    2018 Marvel Monthly Buys: Ben Reilly: the Scarlet Spider Dr. Strange Iron Fist Runaways Spider-Gwen

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  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Captain Craig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    ..... The latter was always going to be a tougher sell because of that, since how do you make someone who essentially tried to destroy the world in his previous appearance come off as any sort of heroic? Then again, if they could pull it off with the Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius after hijacking Peter Parker's body and life) and more recently the Superior Octopus (also Otto, this time in a body cloned from Peter's DNA and his own), maybe they were thinking lightning might strike twice with Ben Reilly.
    Superior Spider-man went for 34 issues.
    The current title is solicited for an issue #25. I'd say lightning struck pretty close. A run of 25 issues in todays market place is like 50 issues was 20yrs ago.
    The Kaine led book went for 26 issues, one of those being a .1
    "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" - Optimus Prime

  7. #7
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Great points, Hunt. The question of Ben's appeal after becoming the Jackal is left up to whether or not each fan was able to feel empathy for Ben's perspective, based on the work of the creative team. I think it's safe to say that Dan Slott faltered in building an emotional connection between Ben and the reader - which is a shame, because I think the bones of a good story are here. (Plus, Ben's Jackal costume was pretty boss - that helps with readers, as we all know!)

    For me, I just tried to remember that Ben's motivation was not to destroy the world; he saw himself with a responsibility to save the world from death. I think this deranged take on the power/responsibility dichotomy was really brilliant on Dan's part, but unfortunately, we weren't given enough opportunity to find common ground, though the beginnings of the story with Rhino and Lizard were appreciated. If Ben hadn't become a cackling maniac and instead been portrayed as a good man dealing with a break from reality, it would've worked much better.

    One good thing about comics, though, is that stories can be retroactively "cleaned up" - maybe Ben's CC characterization can eventually get the touch-up it deserves.

    -Pav, who wouldn't mind being saved from death...
    Yeah, I can understand your point. Ben did start off as a good man trying to make sense of what had been done to and inflicted upon him in the only way he knew how, and the warped take on "with great power, there must also come great responsibility" was compelling at first. I'm more mad/disappointed that "Ben the well-intentioned extremist" was unceremoniously thrown out in favor of "Jackal 2.0, lunatic who wants to kill and 'reanimate' everyone on the planet to validate his own existence." My own head-canon for Ben's sudden shift was that he was definitely driven insane, not just by Miles Warren's torturous killings and resurrections of him, but also by the despair demon aptly named D'Spayre, whom Ben mentioned taking on before back in Web of Spider-Man #128, in the aftermath of the (ultimately false) revelation that Peter Parker had been the clone all along. Given Ben's encounter with Death herself in his current solo that started him back on the path of redemption, it's fairly easy to retcon in supernatural manipulation having had a role in his turn to villainy as the new Jackal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Craig View Post
    Superior Spider-man went for 34 issues.
    The current title is solicited for an issue #25. I'd say lightning struck pretty close. A run of 25 issues in todays market place is like 50 issues was 20yrs ago.
    The Kaine led book went for 26 issues, one of those being a .1
    I can concede that point.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  8. #8
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Superior Spider-Man was the replacement for Amazing Spider-Man. As such it was the de facto flagship title. Its run length is barely relevant here.
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Craig View Post
    Superior Spider-man went for 34 issues.
    The current title is solicited for an issue #25. I'd say lightning struck pretty close. A run of 25 issues in todays market place is like 50 issues was 20yrs ago.
    The Kaine led book went for 26 issues, one of those being a .1
    If you want to look at it from how long the series' ran in terms of time, Superior ran from January 2013-April 2014 (16 months), while Ben Reilly ran from April 2017-October 2018 (19 months), so technically SS was the longer running book.

    Although, like another poster mentioned, Superior was the de facto main book that replaced Amazing, and always had a foregone conclusion planned, so its not really a fair comparison anyway.
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, West Coast Avengers, Ms. Marvel, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers, Sonic The Hedgehog

  10. #10
    Mighty Member Minerboh's Avatar
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    Ι simply can't understand why that book (along with Kaine's) was not in the top 10 or 20 and continued to decline in sales. It was a wonderful series. My only complain is that Mark Bagley left pretty early.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minerboh View Post
    Ι simply can't understand why that book (along with Kaine's) was not in the top 10 or 20 and continued to decline in sales. It was a wonderful series. My only complain is that Mark Bagley left pretty early.
    I loved Kaine's series but this one, not so much.

    I liked it early on when Ben's sense of morality was in question and there was a real element of unpredictability to his actions.

    Once Ben became more established as a good guy on the road to redemption, I became disinterested and dropped out.

    Sorry it didn't last longer for those you enjoyed it, though. The discussions on every new issue here always made me wish I'd stuck it out till the end.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    I loved Kaine's series but this one, not so much.

    I liked it early on when Ben's sense of morality was in question and there was a real element of unpredictability to his actions.

    Once Ben became more established as a good guy on the road to redemption, I became disinterested and dropped out.

    Sorry it didn't last longer for those you enjoyed it, though. The discussions on every new issue here always made me wish I'd stuck it out till the end.
    dude was still behanding (is that a word) people in the issues i read
    troo fan or death

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