The original clone saga is a disaster storyline that ran through the spider books for two whole years telling of the return of a forgotten clone who refused to stay dead, the return of several villains who refused to stay dead and the birth of a child who would likewise refuse to stay dead. Now don’t get me wrong for ‘it’s much more complicated than that!’ Or at least it was, for now we have…………………………….
For those who weren’t reading Marvel books back in the nineties there is a quick little catch up first telling of dead parents returning from the grave, good friends gone bad going to the grave and fourteen part crossovers that refused to stay between the covers. We then cut into the first of the six part series that aims to tell us not how it was but how it should have been. See the ‘Clone Saga’ was a victim of its own success and Marvel really needed a success back then. As the issues started flying off the shelves editors and the higher ups began insisting the writers add more. More characters, more twists, more turns, more tie-ins, more books; explaining how we ended up with almost 100 issues before the thing was finally laid to rest. But I digress.
We start with Aunt May taking ill from an apparent stroke and being rushed to hospital with M.J and Pete going too. Yet they aren’t the only ones racing to her side with us cutting to the best short order cook in the west hanging up his apron, jumping on his motorcycle and coming too. Turns out he’s not the forgotten distant relative he claims and is in fact the clone from the mind of the Jackal created to torture Peter over the death of Gwen Stacy last year.
Anyway while the two spider-men are catching up and lamenting the inability of anyone to stay dead somebody decides to chuck a mini at them, don’t worry it’s a new mini so nobody cares, before showering them in splats of purest green. The man in question is Kaine a long time foe of Ben Riley, the now blonde clone of Peter, and general grumpy knickers. While this is going on we find out that M.J is looking rather queazy and fearing the worst sees a doctor who tells her that she’s only throwing up because she’s pregnant and not because she’s somehow managed to catch whatever mysterious illness Aunt May has. Though she does have that too.
Once Kaine gets wind of this he complains to his master who merely points out he’s changed the rules of their agreement and that Kaine should be thankfully he doesn’t alter them any more. Due to this Kaine decides to give his master the finger and leads Peter and Ben right too him where we find that it is not so shockingly the Jackal after all who is cloning an army of spider-men to “take over the world!”
From here a baby gets kidnapped, Pete resigns, old villains come back from the dead and identities are questioned as we race to the end of the story in a very short amount of time. See while the original saga went on for far too long this one is a true flash in the pan experience meaning that if you didn’t already care about the likes of Ben Riley, and some people still do, then this book won’t change your mind.
That isn’t the main problem with this book though and to explain it I might have to waffle on about cheesy b-movie remakes for a few minutes so excuse me. Plan 9 from outer space is considered by many to be the pinnacle of bad movies. From the mind of Ed Wood the movie suffers from a low budget, bad effects, lousy continuity, terrible acting and an ill thought out, cobbled together script. That is why it lives on today. Thus when it was announced that somebody was going to remake it I asked why. At best they can fix those problems and be left with a mediocre b-movie that nobody will care about by the time the credits roll.
It’s the same for the ‘Clone Saga’ reign it in, give it a fixed run time and half the over wrought twists and turns and you are left with a mediocre spider story that doesn’t fit into continuity and seems too afraid to blaze a decent trail of its own. Nobody who picks this up will realize why nerds still talk of this story in hushed tones and everyone who does remember the original will probably find this a mildly diverting abridged version of the original.