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  • Jul 15, 2011
Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic, Book 1


If you were to talk to any one who knows me and asked them what my favorite comic is they would answer easily with "Spider-Man". They would tell you that I love everything that has Spider-Man and such, from comics to cartoons to movies and whatever. If you were to ask them who my favorite comic character is then you would assume they would answer Spider-Man, well you would be wrong. The correct answer is The Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly which would then lead into my favorite storyline of all time. I don't mean in Spider-Man history or even in Marvel Comics history, I mean in all of comic history.

Now I know that most of you reading this are saying "I have heard of Spider-Man but who is The Scarlet Spider? Well The Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly is the clone of Spider-Man in one short answer, more on him as the review progresses. Now I am sure the rest of you are saying "The Clone Saga is your favorite storyline ever? The quick answer to that one is a very loud and hard YES. I am sure you are wondering why and well there are many answers I could give you that are all true. For one I identified with Ben Reilly for some reason more so than Peter Parker for during that time. Also to be honest The Scarlet Spider costume was just cool looking, honestly I don't think any one will disagree with that. Also because he was Peter but at the same time not Peter with his own problems and personality he was familiar and new at the same time, that made him more interesting to me.

But I guess if I would give you one answer that would be the real reason this is the all time greatest story ever is because of my Mom. You see during the time when Ben Reilly was around my Mom had her first seizure. This of course led to the doctors finding a brain tumor, she had cancer. I was destroyed by the news and was told she had months to live; I retreated into what would keep my mind off of it. To this day no one can tell me anything bad about pro wrestling, MMA, certain music, certain movies and shows, and of course comics. In particular this storyline which for some reason I really went back and read from the already released ones all the way to the new ones. Sitting at the hospital all I had were these comics and some wrestling magazines, it helped get me through and now you know why I love it.

As for this product this is the first collection of stories from the clone saga collecting Amazing Spider-Man #394, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #217, Spider-Man #51-53, Spider-Man Unlimited #7, Web of Spider-Man #117-119, Spider-Man: The Lost Years #1-3, as well as additional selections dealing with the story. The Clone Saga to this day is a controversial topic for comic fans, I honestly don't understand why. The most popular thing is that the story line went on to long and I can see that, I understand that for real. Honestly though I don't see it personally because it really is all one big storyline until a reboot. Every story before The Clone Saga is still apart of the same story, Green Goblin's killing of Gwen Stacy was one storyline along with his death. Still that storyline directly started the Clone Saga so to me it is still the same continuing storyline. Not sure if I am making sense but it makes sense in my head. Plus that story comes into play once more in this, but I won't ruin it.

Coming into this we get the telling of the original clone saga or should I say retelling of that story called "Birth of a Spider-Man". The difference this time around is that it is told from the clone's side of things which was a great way to bring it back. I always liked this story and really liked when he realized he was the clone, I mean when it really hit him. I always just felt bad for him and could some how feel it through the writing and the picture. That is a great pic when he looks up and screams that he is the clone into the night. The picture on the final page in the middle panel is very sad looking and my favorite of the story I think.

This leads right into the next story called "The Parker Legacy" which picks up right where we left off with the clone dealing with this new found revelation. This to this day is one of my favorite stories in all of comics, it felt real and it read real. The story follows the clone on his journey leaving New York and trying to leave it all behind. He is a no one with no real history, he is a copy of a man and he has to deal with that. It is in this story that we hear for the first time his new name, Ben Reilly. A combination of Parker's Uncle Ben and his Aunt's maiden name, I still to this day love that name. It is in this story that we get to see a man dealing with something no one could truly understand, or so you would think. In this story Ben comes across a man on the bus ride out of town that may become his first real friend. The men while both very different have a chance meeting that may lead to them helping each other in ways they didn't think another could.

Following that we get the great "Spider-Man: The Lost Years" which like the last story remains a favorite of mine due to its realistic style and approach to the story telling. During these pages we get to learn about Ben during his five year hiatus from New York as a nomad like figure. We find him laying his hat for at least a while in Salt Lake City looking to make some quick cash and then get on the road again. Still wanting to run as far away as possible from a life he believes he has no write to be connected to. The thing regardless of where he goes he still feels that need to be the hero or adhere to some moral code of a guy he is a copy of. But it is here that he may finally make some sort of home for himself. He has a good job thanks to Dr. Seward Trainer and may finally find a woman that could really love him for him. The thing is a mysterious man named Kaine follows Ben from the shadows and may or may not have his best interests at heart. You see Kaine is the first failed clone of Parker and thus so is degenerating. But he may find something in this town he thought he could never have either, a woman that loves him. Add in a mob storyline and a great detective like story and you have a more realistic Spidey story that also happens to have a great ending.

At this point you will get some exerts from other Spidey storylines that deal directly with the over all clone story. Like Aunt May getting calls form a mysterious man whom she actually enjoys talking to, as if she may already know him. Of course Aunt May being put in the hospital which leads this man back to New York to see her, the clone finally returns. We also see the after effects of a previous story that puts Peter Parker into a mental breakdown situation. The story involved the return or not so much returns of his parents, now he has a hard time between the man Peter and the entity Spider-Man.

From here we get into the "Power and Responsibility" story in which Peter and Ben finally come face to face after all those years. Given Peter's mental state at the time this was really the wrong time for Ben to run into him, but what can you do? Any way in this story we get to meet Judas Traveller and Scrier who put Peter to the test. They want to see what makes Spider-Man tick so they take over the prison/mental hospital that all you favorite Spidey villains are held in and bring Peter there. Famous characters such as Carnage make appearances here but the real story is with Peter and Ben. After Peter seems to have a mental breakdown Ben is called into the mix. Even as a huge Spider-Man fan I will admit that this story can be confusing.

Finally we come across the final story in the first collection called "The Exile Returns" which is another big time favorite of mine, there is also another solo story of Ben in between "Exile" issue 1 and 2. In this one Ben finally debuts as The Scarlet Spider and goes on a one man mission to take out Venom. That's right kiddies every ones favorite villain turned hero is back and here to do battle with another spider, The Scarlet Spider. Of course Kaine returns as well and is still following Ben watching from the shadows once more. In this story Ben is wondering how Peter could possibly allow Venom to roam free unaware of the deal the two had previously made. Of course Venom is all to found of the idea of being able to eat the brains of a spider.

I have to say that I did enjoy all of the stories and loved some more so than others; the writing differs throughout the set depending on taste but I liked it all. The art is really well done and over all everything is really good. I did enjoy all of the battles here although like I said that "Power and Responsibility" story may throw some off, that is more so the story though. The battle between Ben and Venom is epic in that Venom gets handled and Ben and Kaine are apart of a great story and battle in "The Lost Years". I honestly could go on and on about this set itself let alone "The Clone Saga". I do highly recommend this story because, well, I personally love it.

RELATED REVIEW [in which I give my whole opinion on Scarlet Spider]
Scarlet Spider Mini Bust


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July 15, 2011
very very nice!! Sorry I was a little late, but this is very very nice...I liked this storyline and this came before the near-bankruptcy of Marvel I think.
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Quick Tip by . July 15, 2011
The greatest story ever told very possibly in my opinion. I love the Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly and loved this entire storyline. While some didn't enjoy it I just loved the dynamic here and the characters.
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I basically am just a normal person obbsessed with Mixed Martial Arts, pro wrestling, movies of all kinds, music of all kinds, books of all kinds, and of course foods of all kinds. Just trying to keep … more
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About this topic


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.[1]
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
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