Starting on January 19, Ben Reilly, the Spider-clone, is getting his own Ben Reilly: Spider-Man title that flashes back to Ben's original time in the mantle of the Wall-Crawler.(opens in new tab)
Set during the era of the 'Clone Saga,' Ben Reilly: Spider-Man is written by one of the famed '90s story's original writers, JM DeMatteis, with art from David Baldeón. The series will tell stories set when Ben first took over as Spider-Man for Peter Parker, during the 'Clone Saga' itself, leaving Ben's contemporary adventures to be told separately in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, which will publish three times a month.
And to kick-off the series, Marvel will publish a variant cover showing off creator Dan Jurgens' original (but unused) 1995 costume design for Ben.
Two variants sporting the design will be available, one from the color design sheet and one from the black and white sketch art.
And Marvel is hinting the design variants are not just a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but that the costume may also play a "surprising role" in Ben's saga before the end of the series.
"Back in 1995 when we were launching the new Sensational Spidr-Man series with Ben Reilly taking over as Spidey, we decided to tweak his costume," explains Jurgens in a press release debuting the covers. "Mark Bagley and I each took a swing and Mark's classic design — quite appropriately — was the winner. I filed the art away and pretty much forgot about it until the new series came up in a recent conversation and I happened to think of it.
"Definitely cool now that, after all these years, this other version will finally see the light of day as one of the variants to Ben Reilly: Spider-Man. It's even more cool to be drawing Ben again, with regular variant covers for the duration of the series!"
In addition to Jurgens' covers, Marvel released all six covers to Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1, including variant covers by Alex Maleev and Skottie Young. You can check them all out here, above and below:
"What I've always found fascinating about Ben Reilly is that he's Peter Parker — and yet he's not, DeMatteis said in the series' original announcement. "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," he continued. "It's been a true joy returning to the Spiderverse and reuniting with my old friend, Ben."
As for what Ben Reilly will face in these flashback tales, Marvel's announcement promises the return of some classic foes with a story that leads Ben directly to Ravencroft Asylum, sort of like Marvel's equivalent of Batman's Arkham Asylum.