Fan Retrospectives: Spider-Man: The Clone Saga: Part 1: Power and Responsiblity
The Spider-Man Clone saga is one of the most reviled story lines ever. It featured the return of Spider-Man's clone Ben Reilly, but also dragged Spider-Man through one of the strangest, series of conspiracies and narratives that the franchise have ever seen.
But... is it really as bad as the internet would have you believe? Come with us as we review the Clone Saga story arc by story arc as we uncover how one of comics' most infamous series holds up today.
"Power and Responsibility"
Web of Spider-Man #117, Amazing Spider-Man #394, Spider-Man #51, and Spectacular Spider-Man #217
Writers: Terry Kavanagh, J.M. DeMatteis, Howard Mackie, and Tom DeFalco
Artists: Steve Butler, Mark Bagley, Tom Lyle, and Sal BuscemaThe Clone Saga officially opens with a bang. Aunt May is in a coma, dying. Peter Parker has been traumatized where he has abandoned his human side to become the "full Spider". Most importantly, Spider-Man meets his long-thought-dead clone in a rooftop confrontation.
|Spider-man meets his clone for the first time.|
When done right, it can contribute to an epic event feeling to the books. However, it can also be very tiring for creators who only write a portion of a story, thus contributing to a lack of creative control. Also, it requires more editorial coordination, but over the course of the Clone Saga, it results in amusing story inconsistencies.
Anyways, getting back to Spider-Man versus Ben Reilly fight. To say the least, Peter is a real jerk throughout this story. To be fair, he is undergoing a lot of hardship, but, man, is he a jerk. Much of his dialogue sounds like a villain. The fight also ends with him getting knocked out and Reilly escaping.
|Spidey acts like a real jerk when he first meets his clone.|
|Judas Traveller takes over Ravencroft for reasons.|
|Traveller easily defeats Carnage.|
Getting back to the Spider-Twins, despite Reilly helping save Peter, Spider-Man immediately starts attacking him again. Like I said, Peter is a real jerk in this story.
|Spidey continues to be a jerk to Ben even though he just saved his life.|
Actually, update: cousin Kristy made an appearance recently in the comics. Spider-Man saved her from a human trafficking ring run by the Daredevil villain Coyote.
But, when Mary Jane is on a plane, she quickly pushes past the passengers claiming that she is sick. Hmmmm...
|Mary Jane is feeling ill on a plane.|
|The first and only appearance of Wild Whip.|
But, it does not matter, because Carnage enters the scene. However, he can't stand the barrage of attack of two Spider-Men. It is amusing to note that while the fight scene lasted only three pages, the captions imply that it went on seemingly for hours. I guess, they couldn't stretch it out too long for the sake of time.
|Carnage is no match for the two Spider-Men.|
Turns out Reilly survived, but decides to walk away from it all. No goodbye to Peter? Perhaps he felt slighted by him and decided to avoid further conflict. But just like Traveller, Reilly sort of decides now is a good time to end.
|Ben Reilly walks away without a scratch after surviving a car explosion.|
|Mark Bagely's old art is still great.|
By the NumbersLets tally up to see what the Clone Saga has done so far:
- Peter meets Ben for the first time since his return
- First mention of the clone's name "Ben Reilly"
- First appearance of Judas Traveller and his Host
- First time Peter and Ben fight against each other and then with each other
- First and only appearance of Wild Whip. Poor, poor Wild Whip...
Shadow Mystery Men:
- Judas Traveller
- Mary Jane's illness
- Mary Jane's family visit
- Aunt May's coma
Clones Running Around:
- Ben Reilly
VerdictThe opening arc was okay. It had a lot of dumb moments, but also a lot of good stuff too. Definitely not in the awful territory that the Clone Saga verges into later on.
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