Rave : 1997 : What Happened to Ben?

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When Ben Reilly took the glider in the back and plummeted to his death in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #75 (he should have taken a look at the new title of the book and run for the hills), there was mixed emotions among Spidey-fans. Makes sense since Spidey fandom is a diverse group comprised of many different opinions. But I think there is one thing all Spider-Man fans agree on. They all love continuity. They all hate loose ends.

When Marvel ended the Clone Saga with the bang of Ben's death, they left a million loose ends lying all over the place. You all know what they are. I won't repeat them. But here's the question that bugs me...What Happened to Ben's Life? And its corresponding question...if Marvel decided a year ago to rescind all they had set up, why did they bother giving Ben one?

You know what I mean. When Ben died, it had been established that he had been introduced to Peter's friends as Peter's cousin. (Even Aunt Anna knew about him.) He had started a relationship with Betty Brant. If we can assume that all stories that include Peter were created AFTER the reversion was planned (otherwise he'd still be off in Portland living happily ever after, right?) why bother to bring Ben into Betty's life? Hadn't he already gotten the death sentence?

And then there's the life Ben developed on his own. The people at the Daily Grind. His dates with Desiree. His great love Janine Godbe now languishing in prison. Do they all just disappear? Is Marvel so embarrassed by them that they fall forgotten?

What is supposed to have happened anyway? Do people know that Ben is dead? Did they recognize him taking the header off the Bugle building? If so, was there a funeral? Did people offer condolances to Peter? Did people wonder why Spider-Man would bother to steal the body of Peter Parker's cousin? Are the police ready to question the Parker family about it?

If not, is the Daily Grind wondering why Ben hasn't shown up to work? Is Betty wondering why he isn't calling? Is Desiree feeling jilted? Is Janine waiting for Ben during visiting hours? Aren't people asking Peter what became of his cousin?

Come on, Marvel! You may want to forget the whole Clone storyline, many of the fans may want to forget the whole Clone storyline, but all lovers of continuity and haters of loose ends need to know! You gave Ben a life. How about finishing it up properly?

(Editorial Comment by Al Sjoerdsma)