You-Know-Who is Finally Back in Spider-Man Comics — About a Decade Too Late!
There was a big, huge, super crazy and explosive character twist in the latest issue of the Clone Conspiracy, writer Dan Slott’s latest Spider-Man event comic. This was the sort of reveal that would crack the Internet in half!
And had it happened 10 years ago, I would probably be over the moon. But as it is, I’m mostly meh about the twist. It couldn’t have happened at a more boring time. And I’m filled with little but dread at the future possibilities.
I don’t want to spoil the reveal in case somebody really super cares, so join me after the jump for the real discussion.
The Clone Conspiracy is about the Jackal coming back and cloning a bunch of people from Peter Parker’s life. He claims that they’re not traditional clones, but are instead a special sort of ‘reanimate’, cloned from the tissue of their corpses. The Jackal can call this process whatever he likes, it’s still just a form of cloning. I consider it similar to making a pod person version of someone.
Point is, they’re not the real character back from the dead, which happens in comics all the time.
Anyway, in the latest issue, we find out that the new Jackal isn’t actually Miles Warren, the original Jackal, as we’d been led to believe.
Instead, it’s Ben Reilly, ‘back from the dead’.
Ben Reilly is huge, especially to me. He’s one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, and I’m pretty sure he’s definitely my brother’s absolute favorite comic book character. So this should be a pretty big deal.
Back in the 90s, when my brother and I were first really getting into comics, the original Clone Saga was our gateway. Spider-Man readers at the time hated the never-ending storyline, but my brother and I were eating it up. We especially loved Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker, and his new superheroic identity, the Scarlet Spider. That stuff was gold.
We even loved it when Ben became the new Spider-Man, letting Peter Parker retire.
But as we all know, Marvel ended the Clone Saga by revealing that Ben was the clone all along, and his clone body crumbled into dead clone cells. At the time, it was pretty heartbreaking, because I loved Ben Reilly.
And had Ben Reilly made some kind of return shortly thereafter, I would have been thrilled!
But it’s been a really, really long time since Ben Reilly died and the Clone Saga was put to rest. What does it matter that he’s suddenly back now? For that matter, it’s not really Ben Reilly, because he’s just another one of these reanimates or pod people. He’s a clone of the original clone who has been programmed with the memories of Ben Reilly.
That’s all well and good, but what does this add to Spider-Man’s ongoing story? In the current pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker is a jet-setting super rich CEO of his own company. But he doesn’t have much of a social life or a domestic life. There’s no girlfriend, no Mary Jane, no group of friends; not much of anything. It’s one of my biggest complaints with Amazing Spider-Man these days.
So what does it matter that this new clone has the memories of Ben Reilly? In what way will he really impact Peter’s life? Peter doesn’t have a life anymore. Who is Ben Reilly as a character? He’s been gone so long that he’s practically a blank slate. It’s not like any of the themes or supporting characters from Ben Reilly’s original life will carry over all these years later.
As much as it pains the younger me to say this, I don’t really care that ‘Ben Reilly’ is back from the dead. He’s just a name now. I guess it’s all going to depend on what Slott even has planned for Ben once all this New U/Clone Conspiracy stuff works itself out. Is he going to stay on as the new Jackal? Will he become a villain? An ally?
And besides, Kaine is much, much cooler as the rough and tumble, still-surviving clone of Peter Parker.
Let’s hope Slott doesn’t go through with his threat to kill Kaine again.