Ben Reilly has reached a new low in his war against Peter Parker and he has finally completed his inevitable transformation into a supervillain.
The following contains major spoilers for Venom #14, available now from Marvel Comics.
Ever since Ben Reilly lost his memories, he has held a single-minded grudge against Peter Parker for seemingly stealing everything he ever was. Of course, all of Ben’s hatred has been misplaced at best, although that hasn’t stopped him from crossing nearly every line imaginable. Now, he has finally crossed one that he might not be able to come back from, especially when it will make him a target of none other than the King in Black.
When Eddie Brock finally escaped Meridius’ Garden of Time, he ended up landing in the middle of Limbo. And, when Madelyne Pryor promised him a way out, he ended up right in the middle of her plot with Ben Reilly, aka Chasm. As seen in the pages of Venom #14 (by Al Ewing, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, and VC’s Clayton Cowles), the chance to be reunited with his son, Dylan, cost Eddie more than he could ever imagine. Fans have already seen the King in Black regress to his role as the Lethal Protector, they now know that this transformation came as a result of Ben stealing Eddie’s memories of the past two decades. Most importantly, those of his very own son.
Ben Reilly is Now a True Marvel Villain
While Ben has been desperate to regain some semblance of his former self, stealing Eddie’s memories is a dark turn, even for Chasm. This isn’t just a cruel act of villainy, either, but a sign of even worse things to come. By taking Eddie’s memories, Ben has both gained a powerful new weapon in his war against Peter and proven just what he is capable of. Beyond that, Ben has also showcased one way he might be able to shed his Chasm persona, assuming he lives that long.
Ben’s end goal this entire time has been to get his hands on Peter’s memories, mistakenly believing them to rightfully be his. Ben wouldn’t be the first to do so, however, and fans know all too well what having Peter Parker inside a villain’s mind can do to them. When Doctor Octopus usurped Peter’s body to become the Superior Spider-Man, it didn’t take long for that nagging sense of great responsibility to drive him to genuine heroics. That being the case, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Ben to also develop a crushing sense of remorse for his actions if he did steal Peter’s memories for himself. Doing so was already a tall order, however, and with Eddie in the way, it might actually be impossible.
Ben Reilly Has Always Existed in Peter Parker’s Shadow
If Eddie is able to regain his sense of self, either thanks to the symbiote Hive he lords over or by sheer luck, Ben would absolutely be the first person he would turn his darkly divine tendrils toward. Considering how much power Eddie has at his disposal, a returned Eddie might even be the last person Ben ever sees. This makes the fact that he has finally come into his own all the worse.
Whether as the Scarlet Spider or as Spider-Man, Ben Reilly has never really had a genuine sense of who he is as a person. This isn’t to say that he hasn’t tried or that he never had an idea, but rather that he has always existed in Peter’s shadow in one way or another. Even as Chasm, there is certainly an argument to be made that this is still the case. Yet his new persona has also given him a chance to make a name for himself without tying it to his predecessor. Unfortunately, that name has already become one of the most detested in the entire world, not to mention the one that he is ultimately remembered for.