Marvel Comics has announced another retro-continuity Spider-Man series, from the author of preview retro-continuity Spider-Man series Spider-Man: The Lost Years, J.M. DeMatteis. The fan-favorite writer will team with artist David Baldeón to write Ben Reilly Spider-Man, a new comic featuring stories set during Ben Reilly's time as Spider-Man during the 1990s Clone Saga, coinciding with Reilly's return to the role in the post-Nick-Spencer Amazing Spider-Man series. Yes, what's old is new again at the House of Ideas. Again.
Of course, selling comics based on nostalgia for the stories of yesteryear is one of Joe Quesada's 22 Cheap Sales-Boosting Gimmicks That Always Work, a list of tried and true methods of convincing comic book readers to buy a comic regardless of the quality of its contents. That's not to say that the quality is necessarily good or bad; just that it's totally irrelevant if you know how to use Joe Q's 22 Gimmicks. You know what they say about comic book readers: there's one born every minute!
Once reserved for aging Boomers and Gen-Xers looking to relive their glory days of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Millennials, many of whom are now have now reached middle age and begun yearning for their youth, have become more frequent targets of nostalgia-based comics set in or rehashing stories from the 90s and early 2000s. And what story could be more hopelessly 90s than the Spider-Man clone saga, an event that seemingly lasted throughout the entire decade and became synonymous with all of the time period's worst traits, now apparently fondly remembered and therefore rehashed over and over by the House of Ideas, recently in Miles Morales: Spider-Man, soon-to-be in the main Amazing Spider-Man title, and now with this retro-continuity series, Ben Reilly: Spider-Man.
Welcome to the club, aging Millennials. No, those aches in your knees and back are not going to go away. Yes, it's okay to read the comic with a magnifying glass to make the fonts bigger. Please file your complaints about the Zoomers and their damn Tik Toks in the appropriate bins on your way into the clubhouse. How dare they say that you're sus?!
From the press release:
J.M. DeMatteis, writer of influential Spider-Man stories such as "Kraven's Last Hunt" and SPIDER-MAN: THE LOST YEARS, will make his celebrated return to Marvel Comics this January with BEN REILLY: SPIDER-MAN!
The iconic Spider-Man scribe will reveal new stories in the life of Peter Parker's clone, Ben Reilly, during his time as Spider-Man. DeMatteis will be joined by X-FACTOR and DOMINO artist David Baldeón as they unlock new secrets about this fan-favorite hero! In the same vein as Peter David and Greg Land's hit SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN series, BEN REILLY: SPIDER-MAN will explore thrilling new mysteries set in this classic time in Spider-Man history!
Darkness looms over New York City as murders begin to pile up…but how are they all connected? Meanwhile, a mysterious figure from Ben's past has crawled his way back into Ben's life—does the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane hold the key to their identity?
And DeMatteis had the following to say about the new series:
What I've always found fascinating about Ben Reilly is that he's Peter Parker—and yet he's not. Life has taken Ben on a strange, twisted path and altered him, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse; but, like Peter, he's a man who's constantly striving to do the right thing, even if he doesn't always succeed. Ben is wonderfully, painfully human, immensely relatable—and our new BEN REILLY: SPIDER-MAN series allows me to dive even deeper into Ben's psyche, to explore him in new and, I hope, interesting ways.
Having David Baldeón bringing this story to visual life has been the icing on the cake. David's work is incredibly dynamic. Fluid and powerful. He nails the big moments—we've got some major antagonists going up against Ben—but he always holds tight to the characters' humanity, so that even the smallest, quietest moments shine and have resonance.
It's been a true joy returning the Spider-Verse and reuniting with my old friend, Ben.
Personally, we're sick and tired of Marvel bringing back classic writers to return to past eras of continuity and deliver new stories! Jeeze! Get some new ideas, Marvel! That is unless they finally agree to bring Chris Claremont back to the X-Men, in which case, never mind, we are actually all for it, so forget everything we just said! Ben Reilly: Spider-Man will hit stores in January.
BEN REILLY: SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by J.M. DEMATTEIS
Art by DAVID BALDEÓN
Cover by STEVE SKROCE & DAVID STEWART