I'm one of those folks who really really liked Ben Reilly in the 1990s. Don't get me wrong, my teenage self was well aware that much of the reviled Clone Saga was drek -- particularly the nonsense with Judas Traveller, Scrier, and Maximum Clonage. But Ben? I liked Ben.
I didn't much care about the mock drama around "who is the clone, and who is the real Peter?" I certainly didn't care for Peter slapping Mary Jane. That was so transparently artificial, done just to make him less sympathetic. Sort of like a sloppy version of "Hal Jordan goes Parallax" (which I actually rather enjoyed).
However, I was perfectly fine with Peter losing his powers (again) and riding off into the sunset to be a parent with Mary Jane. And the stories that followed, with Ben starring as the Sensational Spider-Man, whilst working in the Daily Grind? Those were fun!
I was very sorry when Marvel killed Ben off, but hoped they would have the dignity to keep him dead. Nope. Bringing him back as the Jackal was pretty damn awful. Giving him his a new turn as Spider-Man in October 2021 -- twenty-five years to the month since they killed him off -- seemed hopeful.
But no. Once again, Ben is there to be kicked around. Gah.
I get it. He's not the primary Spider-Man, and never will be. Marvel could still treat the character with a bit more respect, though. Miles Morales is not Peter Parker, and he gets by just fine. Same for Miguel O'Hara.
Man, just pack Ben off to California with Janine and let him do his the webslinging bit there, as Spider-Man West Coast.
The whole Beyond arc was one of the worst in any Spider title. It seems like editorial didn't anticipate Spencer leaving sooner than they thought and had to throw this garbage together on the fly. The only Spider title worth reading at the moment is the retro Ben Reilly mini by JMD. It is such a contrast to this disaster.