Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly)

Benjamin "Ben" ReillyScarlet Spider

A clone of Spider-Man, this wall-crawler overcomes his identity issues and blazes his own trail as the heroic Scarlet Spider.


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Created by an insane professor, the Scarlet Spider is an exact clone of Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, and a ploy to destroy the wall-crawler! Taking Uncle Ben’s name and Aunt May’s maiden surname Reilly, Ben Reilly overcomes his original purpose and becomes a full-fledged hero.


Clone Saga

Biology professor Miles Warren, AKA the Jackal, becomes infatuated with his student Gwen Stacy. He’s devastated when she dies during a battle between Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin, and Spider-Man (Gwen’s boyfriend). Having experimented with cloning for years, Warren seeks to re-create Stacy. When his assistant Anthony Serba attempts to expose his plan, he accidentally kills Serba, and his grief turns into insanity. Convincing himself someone else had committed the murder, Warren devises a criminal alter ego, the Jackal; suspicious that Parker was somehow involved in Gwen’s death, he subsequently discovers Parker’s alter ego as Spider-Man and seeks to clone Parker in a misguided effort to make him suffer for his role her demise.

Eventually, after several failed attempts died from spontaneous cellular degeneration, Warren creates stable clones. Kidnapping Parker’s friend Ned Leeds, the Jackal pits the Spider-Man clone, who believes himself the genuine article, against Spider-Man at Shea Stadium, battling one another to rescue Leeds from a bomb. Unwilling to risk himself, Warren sends a clone Jackal for the confrontation, but the Jackal clone repents and dies, saving Ned. With both Spider-Men knocked unconscious by the explosion, the real Jackal emerges; wanting to deprive Parker of all he held dear by making him believe himself a clone, Warren injects the Spider-Man he believed to be the real one with a drug to simulate death, unaware his new assistant, Seward Trainer, secretly coerced by Osborn (then publicly believed dead), had tricked him into injecting the clone. When the real Spider-Man wakes up, he disposes of the “corpse” in a smokestack, from which the Jackal retrieves it.

The Jackal creates a new clone and implants the original clone's memories into it. When the new clone returns home, it covertly observes that the other Peter is already there. Rightly believing himself the imposter, the clone names himself Ben Reilly, after Peter’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May Reilly Parker, and spends the next five years traveling. He’s frequently attacked by a surviving unstable Parker clone, Kaine, who believes Ben to be the real Parker. Ben thinks he finally finds that happiness as he settles down in Salt Lake City with a job as a science professor and a new love in waitress Janine Godbe (actually the fugitive Elizabeth Tyne, who was also on the lam for murdering her abusive father). They end up living together but Janine seemingly commits suicide, unable to live with the guilt of killing her father.

Though Reilly never adopts a costumed identity while on the run, he cannot escape the obligation of power and responsibility that originates from sharing Peter Parker’s memories, so he occasionally uses his powers to save lives. He also frequently and anonymously checks in on Aunt May’s health, and Seward Trainer befriended him.

When Kaine kills corrupt police officer Louise Kennedy, his fellow clone’s identical fingerprints make Reilly the prime suspect, forcing him back on the run. Hearing Aunt May had been hospitalized for a stroke, Ben returns to New York, unaware that the hospitalized woman was an actress hired by Norman Osborn to lure Reilly back into Peter Parker’s life as the first step in a larger plot against Peter. Visiting May, Reilly comes face-to-face with Parker, whose enemies had been subjecting him to psychological attacks. Believing his clone’s return was yet another attack, Peter fights Ben; however, their brief battle ends in a draw, and they go their separate ways. Ben adopts a new costume and receives the name the Scarlet Spider from newspaper reporters.



Reilly possesses superhuman strength (lifting up to 10 tons); he heals much faster than an ordinary human, and his bodily tissues and skeleton are more durable and resistant to trauma. Ben’s tendons and connective tissue are twice as elastic as the average person, making him extremely limber. He also has superhuman reflexes, improving his reaction time by a factor of 15.

Ben’s spider-sense provides an early warning system that manifests itself as a tingling sensation in the back of his head when danger’s imminent; the spider-sense combines with his enhanced reflexes allow Ben to dodge bullets. While his spider-sense could not specify a threat’s nature, he can determine its severity by how the strength of the tingling sensation. Unlike Peter, Ben’s spider-sense is not overridden by the Venom symbiote since Ben does not share Peter’s bond to Venom’s symbiote.

Ben can also adhere to virtually any surface by mentally controlling electrostatic force between molecular boundary layers. Reilly wears a web-shooter on each wrist, triggered via controlled wrist movements, which fire thin strands of highly adhesive web fluid at high pressure, used mostly for binding opponents or providing lines to swing from building to building. The web line’s tensile strength was estimated to be 120 pounds per square millimeter of cross section. The 300 psi pressure in each cartridge is sufficient to force a web pattern 60 feet or more. Exposure to air diminishes the webbing’s strength, and after one or two hours the webs dissolve into dust. Reilly added balls of “impact” webbing to his web-shooters that exploded to envelop each target upon impact. Another port on his web shooters fired stingers, fast acting sedatives. Like Parker, Reilly kept up to 30 spare web fluid cartridges in his belt. He also used spring-loaded, tiny red mini-dot tracers, similar in function to Parker’s arachnid-shaped spider-tracers that operated on the same frequency as his and Peter Parker’s spider-sense, allowing them to locate an object or person once a tracer was attached to it.

When Ben drowns in psycho-active goo and becomes known as Chasm, his spider-sense evolves to be offensive as well as defensive. He also can manipulate the goo into light energy weapons.


Unstable Foes

Though his creator, the Jackal, gives Reilly life, he also subjects him to dozens of torturous experiments, driving Reilly mad and to the point of Super Villain status for a time.

One of Reilly’s most frequent foes is Kaine, one of the surviving unstable Parker clones who believes Reilly to be the real Peter Parker. Kaine frequently attacks Reilly, seeking, in his own twisted way, to ensure that his “fellow clone” Peter would have the chance for happiness forever denied Kaine. They have a kind of sibling rivalry that mostly involves fighting, but there are occasional moments of reconciliation.

As both the Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man, Reilly fights many of Peter’s old foes, including Adrian Toomes, AKA Vulture, Aleksei Sytsevich, AKA Rhino, and Quentin Beck, AKA Mysterio. Reilly also battles the insane Green Goblin, who impales him using his glider, and perishes.



Spider Team-Ups

Reilly often teams up with the original Spider-Man against the Jackal, the other Spider-Man clones, and Kaine. Since Parker and Reilly share memories, they eventually bond and become as close as brothers. He even takes over Spider-Man’s mantle when Parker retires from Super Hero duties. When the vampiric Inheritors return and threaten Spider-Totems across the Multiverse, Reilly joins the Spider-Army and helps defeat them.

Reilly dates photographer Jessica Carradine, daughter of the burglar who killed Peter’s Uncle Ben. Believing Spider-Man killed her father, she plans to reveal his identity to the world. When she learns the truth of Reilly’s alter ego and more about her father’s death, she chooses love over vengeance. Though their relationship isn’t as long-lasting as the romance that Reilly later has with Janine Godbe, who’s his stalwart supporter through his most difficult times.




165 lbs.






Brown (bleached blond)

Universe, Other Aliases, Education, Place of Origin, Identity, Known Relatives, Powers, Group Affiliation
  • Universe

  • Other Aliases

  • Education

  • Place of Origin

  • Identity

  • Known Relatives

  • Powers

  • Group Affiliation

A Complicated Clone’s History

Reilly soon battled Peter’s foe Eddie Brock, AKA Venom, defeating him with relative ease because Ben’s spider-sense, unlike Peter’s, was not blocked by Venom’s symbiote; Ben was disappointed to learn Peter had previously struck a deal with the murderous villain. He later briefly joined the New Warriors, but they never fully accepted him, partly because he insisted on keeping his identity secret; only Angelica Jones, AKA Firestar, was truly friendly with him, fostering tension between Ben and team leader Vance Astrovik, AKA Justice, Firestar’s boyfriend. Reilly’s return prompted the Jackal to resurface and suggest that Peter, not Ben, was the clone. Warren’s return forced Ben and Peter to reluctantly work together. When Seward Trainer, following up his earlier deception, announced that Ben was indeed the original Spider-Man, Ben assured Peter he had no intention of taking back his life. Together, Peter and Ben stopped the Jackal’s plan to unleash the Carrion virus on the world.

Originally distrustful of each other, the two Spiders developed an uneasy alliance that slowly grew into a strong friendship. When Detective Jacob Raven investigated new leads into his former partner Louise Kennedy’s death, his search led him to Peter Parker, whose fingerprints were also identical to Kaine’s. Ben switched places with Peter in prison so he could search for the truth behind the killings, leading Kaine to ultimately confess to his crimes.

As Peter became temporarily powerless and considered the impending responsibility of fatherhood, he relinquished the Spider-Man identity to Ben. Additionally, Ben had to abandon the Scarlet Spider identity after FBI Agent Joe Wade, investigating the new Doctor Octopus’s (Carolyn Trainer) use of virtual reality technology, was abducted by Trainer and his consciousness downloaded into a holographic Scarlet Spider that subsequently went on a rampage. Reilly lightly modified the Spider-Man costume and created his own life, bleaching his hair and working at the Daily Grind coffee shop

He soon began dating photographer Jessica Carradine, unaware she was the daughter of the burglar who had murdered Peter’s Uncle Ben. Mistakenly believing Spider-Man had murdered her father (who had actually died of a heart attack during a later encounter with Spider-Man), Jessica hated him and sought to ruin his reputation by selling incriminating photos of him to the Daily Bugle. After inadvertently catching Reilly changing into his alter ego through her camera’s telescopic lens, Jessica contemplated using the photo to destroy Spider-Man and Reilly, but after Reilly confronted her with the truth behind her father’s death, she decided that she loved Ben more than she hated Spider-Man; keeping the photo to herself, she left town, unable to reconcile loving the man who had such history with her father.

When Cletus Kasady, AKA Carnage’s symbiote escaped from Ravencroft by bonding to John Jameson, AKA Man-Wolf, Reilly intervened, but the symbiote bonded to him, creating a Spider-Carnage. Ben struggled to preserve his own humanity and resist the symbiote’s murderous impulses. Reilly sought Peter’s help, but it was Ben’s own strength of character that ultimately broke his bond with the symbiote, which returned to its preferred host, Kasady.

Reilly fought alongside Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, looping him in on all his clone history, against Shooter. In a surprise twist of fate, Janine returned from her seeming suicide and they happily reunited. Kaine interrupted them, however, and apparently killed Janine and then drugged Reilly when he chased after him. It turned out that Kaine also drugged Janine. After a battle, Reilly helped Kaine realize the error in his ways and Kaine turned himself in. Tired of running from the law, Janine did the same.

Reilly battled Spidercide, invading Sentinels, and many of Spider-Man’s old foes, including Vulture, Rhino, and Mysterio. When the evil geneticist Nathaniel Essex, AKA Mister Sinister, sought Carnage to obtain symbiote fragments to stabilize his own cloning experiments, Reilly teamed up with the X-Men to stop him. Reilly also faced many new foes, notably participants in the Great Game, an underground gambling ring created by James Johnsmeyer, in which wealthy sponsors would wager on the outcomes of fights between unknowing super-powered participants. Initially content to let the wealthy waste their money on this, Reilly and Parker grew intent on breaking up the Game when the corpse of sponsor Chu Chi-Huan turned up wearing a Scarlet Spider costume. Great Game participant Sergio Torres, AKA el Toro Negro, had killed Chi-Huan, hoping to take over his corporation. When the Game’s sponsors learned this, they promptly ended the Great Game.

Reilly was finally beginning to accept his role as Spider-Man when Norman Osborn returned from his self-imposed exile and put his plans against Parker and Reilly in motion, having Seward Trainer murdered by Gaunt, Osborn’s former partner turned reluctant servant Mendel Stromm. Stromm next targeted both Parker and Reilly, but was defeated. When Peter left after receiving a distressing message about Mary Jane Watson, Reilly tried to interrogate Stromm alone. Taking Ben by surprise, Osborn quickly subdued an unprepared Reilly.

Later, Osborn also attacked a newly re-powered Peter Parker, revealing his part in manipulating both the Jackal and Seward Trainer into casting doubt onto who was the real Peter Parker. As Osborn confessed that Ben Reilly was really the clone, a barely conscious Reilly warned Peter their mutual foe had planted explosives in the Daily Bugle intended to kill all their friends. While Peter, as Spider-Man again, battled Osborn atop the Daily Bugle, Ben collected all of Osborn’s pumpkin bomb explosives, save for one that Flash Thompson (later Agent Anti-Venom) had picked up. His spider-sense going on high alert, Ben jumped in front of the bomb, shielding Thompson from the explosion and saving his life. Believing to the end that he was the real Spider-Man, Ben then sacrificed his life to save Peter from the impaling spike of the Goblin’s glider. Ben’s body degenerated into dust immediately after his death, proving to all that he was the clone.

Peter Parker later honored his “brother’s” memory by using the name Ben Reilly as an alias when the world briefly knew of his secret identity. The Scarlet Spider identity was co-opted by the federal Shadow Initiative team for its three clones of Michael Van Patrick (Michael, Patrick and Van) who adopted the name while wearing versions of the “Iron Spider” costume originally developed by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, for Peter. Michael and Van died in action, but Patrick remained active as the Scarlet Spider and has joined the New Warriors like Reilly before him.

The Jackal then resurrected Ben, restoring his memories into a new cloned body. Though the process was imperfect and resulted in cellular degeneration, leaving the Jackal to repeat the process 27 times. The 27th, which was indistinguishable from the original Ben Reilly, turned on the Jackal and fixed the degeneration problem. He then stylized himself as the new Jackal and built himself a pharmaceutical company, New U Technologies and planned to use Parker’s global conglomerate Parker Industries (PI) to expand New U’s influence. Ben revived anyone who lost their lives as a result of Spider-Man’s actions, including several heroes, villains, and allies. He also offered new cloned bodies to anyone who was ill, such as Dr. Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus. In reality, he swapped his patients with clones, without their consent or knowledge. Doc Ock turned on him and caused most of the clone bodies to degenerate. In response, Reilly unleashed the Carrion Virus to replace everyone on Earth with his clones. He was thwarted by Parker and his allies, and Reilly seemingly perished in a subsequent battle, but survived with scars and went on the run again.

After his misguided time as a Super Villain, he settled down in Las Vegas for a new start. Reilly reconnected with his more heroic side as Scarlet Spider though he was haunted by his actions and much more aggressive, partly due to hallucinating his former alter-egos. He was confronted by Cassandra Mercury, casino magnate and master manipulator, for failing to save her daughter Abigail Mercury from an incurable disease. Cassandra offered him resources if he could find a cure this time. In an attempt to become a better man, he accepted this uneasy partnership to help Abigail. Meanwhile, his clone-brother Kaine was hot in his tail, who planned to bring Reilly to justice for his crimes as the Jackal. The pair came to blows, but after learning about Reilly’s efforts to cure Abigail, Kaine offered a truce.

Reilly concocted and administered a serum that would slow the disease’s progress, but it ended up killing Abigail. Then a mysterious woman named Marlo Chandler killed Kaine, who was actually the cosmic entity Death. Death warned him that his soul had been damaged from his many resurrections and if he could avoid dying, his soul could start to heal, but another death and resurrection would permanently corrupt him. He then implored Death to bring both Kaine and Abigail back, to help him on his path to redemption, and Death agreed but would only resurrect one of them. Reilly offered himself as a trade-off so they both could be brought back, and claimed that they were more worthy of life. Death found his offer amusing and restored them back to life, and instead of taking Reilly, she removed his facial scars.

Considering the dire warning from Death, Reilly attempted to heal his soul but ran into some issues, namely Cassandra’s brother and rival casino owner, Silas Thorne. Thorne employed the seemingly resurrected Hornet to thwart Cassandra’s humanitarian efforts as the city rebuilt in the wake of Hydra Cap’s attack during Secret Empire. Hornet attacked a convoy delivering food to the casino, and Reilly, enraged at Thorne’s behavior, attacked him. As a result, scars reappeared on over his right eye and Death returned with a warning, that his face would reflect his actions.

Dr. Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, attempted to help repair the damage done to Las Vegas from Hydra Cap’s attack but his efforts summoned the Hotel Inferno with the evil Mephisto to the strip, who transformed revived souls and the Avengers into his demonic minions. Reilly joined Strange’s ally Wong and the new Midnight Sons and Daughters to save Strange and Vegas from Damnation. Though, Mephisto offered Reilly an opportunity to cure Abigail and save his corrupted soul if he went against the Midnight Sons. He struck a bargain, but then realized he didn’t want to be selfish nor Mephisto’s tool and reneged on the deal. He then helped the Midnight Sons distract Mephisto by fighting his pawns while Wong had Johnny Blaze, AKA Ghost Rider, usurp the throne of Hell.

Reilly continued working a cure to heal Abigail’s sickness but his efforts proved fruitless. His search for a cure led him to scientist Sheldon Sanders, who revealed the existence of a secret organization, The Diogenes Initiative, which might hold the answer to Abigail’s ailment. Coming face-to-face with the shadowy organization’s leader, a man professing to be the angel Gabriel, Reilly was surprised when Gabriel freely offered a vial of his blood to cure Abigail. While administering the cure, the Hell-Lord Mephisto, unwilling to give up Reilly’s soul, tricked Reilly into not administering it until after Abigail had passed. After breaking out of Mephisto’s ruse, Reilly injected the blood into Abigail anyway, but Mephisto altered Cassandra and Kaine’s memories to believe Reilly withheld the cure and let Abigail die. This selfish act prompted Cassandra and Kaine to pursue him across the city. Eventually Kaine gunned him down with a stolen policeman’s gun. Mephisto attempted to claim Reilly’s soul, but an angelic Abigail appeared, now cured belatedly and resurrected Reilly in thanks for what he did for her. However, Reilly came back just as Death said he would, with a corrupted soul and sociopathic. He confronted Kaine, viciously stabbing him with his own girlfriend Terry Wright’s prosthetic arm and threatened to kill him if he survived and didn’t leave town.

When the terrifying and vampiric Inheritors returned from their poisonous prison planet, they used New U Technologies to recreate their bodies. Feeling remorseful, Reilly offered to help the Superior Octopus (Otto Octavius) who refused his help on account of Reilly being the Jackal. Reilly admitted that he was trying to atone for his insanity, which spoke to Otto related to and he allowed Reilly to help. Though Otto betrayed Reilly, handing him over to the Inheritors in exchange for their word that the other Spider-Totems would be protected. The Inheritor Jennix then fed on Reilly’s life force but promptly went insane when they relived Reilly’s many deaths and resurrections. Otto then resurrected Reilly, claiming that his death by the Inheritor was the plan all along. Free of his deaths and resurrections, this new life allowed Reilly a clean slate. When the Inheritors were defeated, Reilly returned to Las Vegas.

After fighting Conan and Nyla Skin, he moved back to New York and worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He joined Iron Man and his allies against the android Korvac to prevent him from getting the Power Cosmic. Afterward, Reilly returned to Earth and at the request of the Beyond Corporation, he joined them as Spider-Man and received a modified suit. He worked for their Hero Department under Maxine Danger and Marcus Momplaisir, his handler. While working for Beyond, he helped release his former flame Janine Godbe from prison, and the pair began dating again. Not happy with the fact that others out there used the name Spider-Man, Beyond planned a fight between the Spider-Men Parker and Reilly and the U-Foes, which left Parker in the hospital. Parker gave his blessing for Reilly to use his alias, despite that he was already using it. Beyond then threatened to sue Miles Morales, AKA Spider-Man, over the use of the moniker, which led to tension between the two heroes when they were both fighting Rhizome. The pair parted ways on good terms but when Reilly returned to Beyond, Maxine expressed frustration that he didn’t do enough about Morales’ use of their trademark. Reilly wasn’t going to beat up a teenager and Maxine had to accept that.

When Doc Ock attacked Beyond for using his technology, Reilly defeated him, but Otto saw an ally in him and handed over all of Beyond’s secrets on a hard drive, including one that revealed why they chose him as their hero-in-residence. Beyond believed him to be unstable enough to control. Once Maxine found out that Reilly knew the truth, she had his memory wiped. Though Reilly had lost his memories that he had from being Parker’s clone, he soon realized what had happened and went on the run from the company.

Meanwhile, Parker had recovered and fought Beyond’s Ashley Kafka, AKA Queen Goblin. When Reilly went after Maxine, she tried to convince him to use technology that would extract Parker’s memories so that Reilly could get them back. Without his memories as a positive guiding force, Reilly attacked Parker at Beyond. Maxine covered her tracks by flooding the lower levels of the building with quantum-shifting polymers to destroy evidence of her misdeeds, which led to an explosion and Reilly seemingly dead in its wake. Janine found him in the rubble but he had been altered by the polymers, which was in the form of a psycho-reactive goo. Now tormented, Reilly fled and called himself Chasm.

He ultimately ended up back in Janine’s arms, and as Chasm, he spent his time stealing tech from Beyond. Hearing calls from Limbo, and with a burning desire to regain him memories, he began working on transport to the other-dimensional dark realm. Once he made it to Limbo and allied with the dimension’s ruler Madelyne Pryor, Janine eventually joined them as the mystical superhuman and ghastly Hallow’s Eve. Both Reilly and Pryor attempted to steal their respective memories from Parker and Jean Grey, AKA Phoenix’s souls, with Pryor successful in regaining the memory she desired, which changed her. Pryor then betrayed Reilly and helped the X-Men and Spider-Man defeat Chasm, who had come into possession of Madelyne’s Scythe and become King Chasm, ruler of Limbo. The reformed Madelyne retook the weapon, resulting in King Chasm’s loss of power, and she placed him in the newly-formed Limbo Embassy in New York City, but in a peaceful cell.

Scarlet Spider: Ben Reilly
Essential Reading
Scarlet Spider: Ben Reilly
Ben Reilly is the clone of Peter Parker, a scientific progeny designed to be Spider-Man’s perfect foil. But as the Scarlet Spider, Reilly’s forged a unique super hero identity, and he’ll soon slip into his iconic costume once more!