5 years ago Spider-Man had a clone of himself that was created by Miles Warren aka the Jackal. The two battled to save the life of Spider-Man's friend Ned Leeds. When the clone was killed in the battle, Spider-Man disposed of the remains when he attempted a cremation. The clone survived. Now, calling himself Ben Reilly, the clone travels the country in an attempt to make sense of a life that was never his to begin with. -summary
Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider survive the Jackal's latest trap. This isn't exactly good news, since he's found another way to aggravate their lives, by leaving them with the knowledge that either Scarlet Spider is the real Peter Parker while Spider-Man is the clone, or the both of them could be clones and the real Peter Parker is locked up somewhere else. A pod holding the real Peter Parker or a clone opens, and he makes his way back to the city. -summary
This third volume in the infamous Clone Saga has its highs and lows that stick out like a sore thumb. Now make no mistake, when it's good it kicks serious ass, while at times it can be way too silly for its own good. In any case, the story becomes even more engrossing with some very interesting plot twist as there are hidden motives galore, and the suspense can be through the roof when it wants to. This volume collects Amazing Spider-Man 400 - 401, Spectacular Spider-Man 222 - 224, Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man 57 - 58, Spider-Man The Clone Journal, Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man Unlimited 9, Web of Spider-Man Super Special 1, and Venom Super Special 1.
The story begins with a recap taking place in Spider-Man The Clone Journal. I'm a little unsure about this story's placement here, because it feels like it was only added to fatten up the book, and I feel even in original form it was just a waste, since it only shortens things you already know. If someone is interested in going into this TPB series, I kind of doubt they will go into the third book first. The story finally kicks off with the arc, Players and Pawns. Here, the Jackal begins his plan by attacking people close to the Spider-Men, in this case Flash Thompson. The battle takes place between Scarlet Spider and the Jackal, and this one ends leaving the reader guessing on what was the Jackal's purpose in this fight, in which you will find out later, but the outcome of that situation will leave one wondering once again. Spider-Man also encounters Kaine for the first time in a brief fight. Plus, Judas Traveller's right hand man Scrier, makes various appearances throughout and his purpose still remains a mystery by this point, but there's one thing about him that one can pull away; he must be very dangerous because Kaine is obviously afraid of him.
This volume jumps the shark very early (the series a little later on). I understand the purpose of this entire series is to showcase the Scarlet Spider, but I don't believe this book benefited from the five part story Planet of the Symbiotes. This story begins when Eddie Brock questions his bonding with the Symbiote. He rejects the alien, and in a moment of emotional pain it unleashes a scream that is received by the rest of its race, and they soon invade the Earth with intentions on claiming all the people as their host.
The origin of the race has an interesting story, and it feels as if it was influenced by Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, but the plot is pretty ridiculous and I found little enjoyment here. This story was nothing more than a vehicle to add on to the already over-exposure of Venom and Carnage; like we didn't get enough of those two from Maximum Carnage and the various mini-series between the two. This story also damages the pacing a great deal, because the whole clone situation is far more interesting than this. The TPB finds its footing once again with the story The Gift. Aunt May awakes from her coma and everything appears to be back to normal. The less said about this story the better because it doesn't need any spoilers. I will say that the story features no action, instead, it has great potential to pull emotional strings for long time fans. The suspense begins to build, when Peter Parker is arrested and locked up on a murder charge with unbeatable evidence; this is when all hell breaks loose as the story flows into the five part arc The Mark of Kaine.
The Mark of Kaine brings the third Peter Parker clone, or real deal, into the fray fighting like mad to reclaim his lost life. Kaine is convinced this man is a clone and proceeds with his plan. There are several battles here, and Kaine on one occasion battles all three of the Spider-Men. The only somewhat downside I can think of here is the final chapter in this arc. The Hobgoblin reforms the Sinister Six, now calling themselves the Sinister Seven, with the group made up of Hobgoblin, Electro, Mysterio, Scorpia, Vulture, Beetle, and Shocker. Their mission is operation Kaine-Killer, since they believe him to be a threat because he already killed two of Spider-Man's major enemies, and they all believe they're next. If it wasn't because of the very cool action I probably wouldn't like this story at all, since it really does nothing for the plot.
After the conclusion to Planet of the Symbiotes, the story becomes very well paced, but the action takes the front seat which is a good thing. There are many cool battles here and the artwork shines on several occasions. The action can be brutal with Kaine slamming people face first into walls, as well as throwing Spider-Man head first off the side of a building. I definitely enjoy some of the facial features and character designs. Unfortunately, the artwork isn't so great at times, with Spectacular Spider-Man looking pretty bad with overly dark lines and poor designs. Planet of the Symbiotes really isn't too easy on the eyes either.
This volume would have been a whole lot better had the symbiote story been left out and made into its own TPB. It heavily distracts from the storyline and it could make one feeling the need to skip it altogether, saying nothing of the possibility that the story felt lacking anyway. Overall, this volume is decent and there were enough cliffhangers to make the next volume almost a must read.
Pros: -Some solid arcs here and there, very good action and suspense
Cons: -Unnecessary story and some bad artwork at times
SPIDER-MAN THE COMPLETE CLONE SAGA EPIC Any and every one that knows me or has read my stuff knows how big a fan I am of "The Clone Saga", the Scarlet Spider, and Ben Reilly over all. This was a crazy time for me in my life and this was one of the main things that helped me get through all of that. That of course is explained in my review of volume one of this series. Still this volume has some very interesting stories in it, … more
I truly love everything about The Clone Saga and everything after until .... Well that comes later on. I do highly recommend all of these books from original printings all the way to these TPB's. Ben has always been and will always be the most interesting character ever in the Spideyverse to me. I have stated before in my other reviews why and I still believe them to be true. So check out these stories and decide for yourself how you feel about them. Honestly and hardcore comic reader or should … more
The Clone Saga or Spider-Clone Saga was a major story arc in Marvel Comics which ran from 1994 to 1996 involving many clones of Spider-Man. The story is considered to be one of the most controversial Spider-Man stories ever told. Although it was intended to wrap up in less than a year, the comics sold very well and the writers were encouraged to prolong the saga as long as possible. This led to some changes to the storyline that ultimately proved unpopular. Although there were many people involved, the Clone Saga is most closely associated with Terry Kavanagh, who proposed the idea, Howard Mackie, who worked on the majority of the smaller crossovers involved in the overall storyarc and Gerry Conway, who devised the original story. Executive editors on the storyline included Tom DeFalco, Bob Budiansky, and Bob Harras.