The Slingers return in Peter David's Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider

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From Marvel:

Las Vegas greets a new quartet of residents in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #8 on September 27 and they will thrill long-time Spider-fans. Ben, on the other hand, might just take a little longer to win over.

The Slingers have returned and they do not think Reilly should be wearing the webs and will not hesitate to tell—or show—him so. Unfortunately, matters have been complicated even more they know as one of their own hides a secret under their mask.

Writer Peter David would not pull back that mask fully, but he did offer us a peek in this interview. As a writer, what attracted you to the Slingers as characters?

Peter David: Actually, I hadn’t been attracted to them at all. I barely even remembered their comic. My editors suggested that they would be a great fit for the book, and once I reread their adventures—which were NOT easy to find, by the way, and Marvel really should collect them—I realized that they would be perfect for the book.

In many ways, they are quite like Ben: they are determined to be heroes, but they engage in some really unexpected decisions in order to try and achieve their goals. So much so that one begins to wonder if they’re heroes or skewing toward the other side of the fence.

... Although they have appeared here and there now and then, the Slingers have been largely absent from the Marvel Universe for awhile now. How are they similar to their 90’s selves? How have they changed?

Peter David: They haven’t changed all that much. Let’s remember that time passes much more slowly in the MU than it does in real life. It may be a couple of decades since we last saw them, but I feel like it’s only about a year’s worth of time in the MU since we last saw them.

... What about Hornet made him the right character to be the fulcrum of the group, the one being manipulated by forces we don’t yet know?

Peter David: Because the Hornet is dead. I’ll tell you that right now: that’s not Eddie [McDonough]. Someone else has appropriated the armor and identity of the Hornet. So one of the Slingers’ first mission priorities is going to be to figure how who the guy is and whose side he’s on.


Commentary: You know, with Marvel focusing so heavily on their classic characters and the new generation, it's real nice to see the Slingers making a return. They sort of fall in between, and I think they can bring a new perspective to the Marvel universe.  It's one of the reasons I have been enjoying books like SCARLET SPIDER so much, and I am looking forward to DARKHAWK's return, even if I think all the Shi'ar stuff they have added to the character has taken away from what I liked about him so much when I started reading comics.  I'm really hoping we get to see NEW WARRIORS back in some capacity soon too.  We've even got Azrael having a strong showing in Detective Comics lately.  In a lot of ways, I see these characters as MY heroes.

For those of you who don't remember The Slingers, at one point, Spider-Man was framed for of murder and a bounty of $5 million was put on his head (screw you, Norman Osborn).  He decided to keep up the superhero thing by taking on a few other identities.  Once he cleared his name, these identites ended up getting picked up by four random youngsters who formed their own superhero team, and had a short-lived comic series. Yeah, the late 90's was an odd time in comics, I think we can all admit that...

The Slingers have shown up here and there over the years.  Prodigy was shown drunkenly protesting during Civil War.  And Hornet was murdered by Wolverine during Enemy of the State. 

I thought it was a bit interesting that Peter David admitted he had no real connection to the characters.  Adding THE SLINGERS seems like a strange editorial suggestion, to say the least.  But since he went back and read the old series, I think that he should be able to respect their all-too-brief history and update them for modern readers.   Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, with Marvel tapping into more than REALLY OLD STORIES and new Legacy characters.  Time will tell!