This November, writer Peter David and artist Will Sliney to bring back the Slingers in Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #10.
In the story, David and Sliney take the idea of "Legacy" to the next level by bringing in four heroes who inherited their identities from Peter Parker. But as David points out, not all is as it seems for the cult-classic superteam.
Newsarama spoke to David and Sliney ahead of the issue's November 15 release to find out what's waiting for Ben Reilly when he crosses paths with the Slingers, the "Big Bad" behind it all, and what it's like bringing the band back together.
This article also contains previously unseen pages from Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #10.
Newsarama: Peter and Will, you’re bringing back the Slingers in Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #10. Is this the same team we’ve been seeing in Spider-Man’s world for years?
Peter David: Well, that's one of the questions that has to be answered. Because the first member of the team that the Scarlet Spider squares off against is the Hornet, and the Hornet was killed by Wolverine and beheaded by Elektra. So that would seem to make his identity somewhat dubious. It begs the question of, If this guy isn't the original Hornet, then who the hell is he? That's a question in which Scarlet only has the mildest interest, but Ricochet is really determined to find out.
Nrama: How do the Slingers and the Scarlet Spider cross paths?
David: The Hornet, as it so happens, is in the employ of Cassandra's brother, Thorne, and Thorne puts the Hornet on Cassandra's trail. Cassandra is determined to send truck loads of food to help starving children, and Thorne convinces the Hornet that she came by the food illegally and must be stopped. When the Hornet attacks the food trucks, the Scarlet Spider barges in and it all goes straight to hell...especially when Ricochet shows up to intervene.
Nrama: As you just pointed out, there’s something going on with Hornet – what can you tell us about that?
David: Well, I could tell you everything, but then you'd have less reason to read the books.
Nrama: Point taken.
Will, you’re fresh off a long run with Peter on Spider-Man 2099. How has your working relationship developed now that you’ve been doing this together for a while?
Will Sliney: It's been great as always. Peter and I have worked together for nearly 50 issues now and I hope there will be 50 more to follow. Together with the whole team nobody in comics has produced as many issues as us over the last few years and its been a privilege to draw his scripts.
David: I've had plenty of time to work with Will and adapt to both his strengths and weaknesses...which I would have to do if he had any weaknesses.
Nrama: Speaking of Spider-Man 2099, Will, you got to draw Miguel O’Hara in a new costume. Will we see any of your design work with the Slingers?
Sliney: No new designs as of yet, but that’s to really tug on the nostalgic strings of the Slingers.
Nrama: Since Ben is a clone of Peter Parker and the Slingers each use costumed identities originated by Peter, the tangible connection to “Legacy” in this Slingers story is obvious. How has the ethos of “Legacy” affected the way you each approach the story as creators?
David: Ultimately what it comes down to is that they are all endeavoring to measure up to the examples that Peter Parker set. They are all trying to be heroes. Whether they succeed or fail if really going to be the measure of how they adhere to the entire concept of Legacy.
Nrama: Is there a “big bad” pulling the strings here?
David: Yes, there is, but if I told you who it was, what fun would that be?
Nrama: Without being too spoilery, what is each of your favorite thing coming up in Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider that we haven’t seen yet?
David: The return of Mysterio.
Sliney: I always thought Miguel was the crazy Spider-Man, the one who was most unpredictable. But Ben Reilly has taken things to a whole new level. Peter has already had me draw things I never thought any version of Spider-Man would do, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes.