Fan Retrospectives: Spider-Man: The Clone Saga: Part 41: High Drama

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.

"High Drama" Sensational Spider-Man #7

Writer: Todd Dezago

Artist: Luke Ross

Review by Eric Lee

We pick up with Peter Parker having some mysterious illness in the hospital. Ben Reilly races to the hospital to see him. For some weird reason, this is also when Peter's supporting cast all decide to visit too. We see Flash Thompson, Liz and Normie Osborn, Robbie Robertson, Betty Brant, Felicia Hardy, and Phil Urich coming to check on Peter.

It's funny because Ben witnesses this and then goes on a stereotypical monologue about how fortunate they are to have friends and blah,blah, blah. Honestly the whole thing is amusing, because he's gushing about what amazing friends they have and the panel focuses on the person who knows Peter the least: Angela Yin.

Seriously, what is she doing visiting Peter?  Angela met him exactly once prior to this. But the real reason why she's present is so she can yell about how there's a Daily Bugle emergency and leave in front of Ben.

There was a call for a man attempting suicide. But he's climbing on a skyscraper antenna ludicrously high. Why does this guy need to get up on the top of the antenna? Surely, he could've jumped off a building.

Anyways, because of that height, nobody can reach him except for Spider-Man. Long story short, there was a nearby helicopter crash and Spider-Man swung the guy with him, so he can save the crash victims.

As Spidey saves the helicopter crew, the suicidal man gives CPR to one of the rescued victims. In the end, saving those guys lives made the suicidal man realize that he has a lot to offer and decides to live.

Not to make light of suicide, but the whole main plot is pretty cliche and inconsequential. Thematically, there's no connection between his story and Spider-Man's story or current struggles. The suicidal man's plot was just there to pad pages.

What's more interesting are the three subplots. One gives a slight hint that J. Jonah Jameson is missing. The second one has a truck robbery with the truck mysteriously knocked over. The police suspect the Shocker, although according to one cop, he's still in prison.

The final subplot introduces Peter's new medical specialist: Doctor Curt Conners aka the Lizard.

Not much really happens beyond that. In terms of plot progression, this issue is minimal.

However, lets take time to focus on the new artist: Luke Ross. Interestingly, Ross doesn't last long on Sensational but quickly moves over to Spectacular Spider-Man, where he has a decently-long run.

His art style radically changes over the course of his Spider-Man run. His human characters look super loose and cartoony here.

Furthermore, Ross' Spider-Man is extremely influenced by Todd McFarlane's style. Look at how stylized that anatomy is. 

After Ross leaves the Spider-Man titles, he goes on to change his art style even more dramatically. Nowadays, Ross has a very realistic look. It's a complete 180 change compared to his debut issue here.

 By the Numbers

Lets tally up to see what the Clone Saga has done so far:

Notable Developments:

  •  Someone with Shocker's powers are robbing banks.
  • Curt Conners is a specialist to help Peter 
  • J. Jonah Jameson is notably absent when everyone else visited Peter

Shadow Mystery Men:

  • Judas Traveller
  • Mr. Thorpe
  • The Scrier 
  • Gaunt
  • Mystery Boss
  • Mystery Stalker
  • Mystery Roxxon Man

Subplots Count:

  • Peter and Mary Jane are still pregnant, but moved back to New York
  • Thorpe wanting to kill Spider-Man for unknown reasons
  • Peter is the clone and Ben is the "real Peter"
  • Judas Traveller is helping Peter for unknown reasons
  • Other super-villains are teamed-up to kill Kaine
  • What happened to Janine?
  • Peter retires and passes the Spider-Man identity to Ben
  • The Scrier has his own agenda and needs the Jackal's intel 
  • The Great Game 
  • Trainer works for Gaunt and a mystery man
  • Peter may be starting to regain his spider-powers
  •  Peter is in the hospital and his condition worsens
  • Spider-Skeleton is a clone
  • A mystery man is targeting Peter and Ben
  • Potentially another mystery person is stalking Peter and Mary Jane
  • Peter is now a staff photographer at the Daily Bugle
  • Shirley's ex Garon reappears
  • Arthur Stacy is interested in Spider-Man
  • Don Fortunato tries to take over the New York crime scene
  • Jimmy-6 is running from the mob for unknown reasons
  • Hammerhead is injured and promises retribution
  • A shadowy man is stealing from Roxxon
  • A shadowy person with the Shocker's powers committed a robbery
  • Curt Conners is the specialist on Peter's medical case
  • J. Jonah Jameson is absent

Clones Running Around:

  • Ben Reilly
  • The first Gwen clone
  • The four mini-Jacks
  • Kaine

    Repetition is My Job, My Job is Repetition:

  • Mystery men: 13
  • The day is saved by talking about love and/or responsibility: 6

    Verdict

This issue is simply okay. It's extremely mediocre with an inconsequential plot and a cliche ending. The only real saving grace is the subplot cliffhangers. Other than that, it's a very serviceable, but forgettable comic. The title of the book "High Drama" maybe the most ironic title in the Clone Saga. This is a fairly boring story.

For previous Fan Retrospectives on the Clone Saga, click here.

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