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on October 29, 2013
SPIDER-MAN
THE REAL CLONE SAGA

Spoilers

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of "The Clone Saga" and one Scarlet Spider/Ben Reilly in particular. I have taken a lot of flak for that but I honestly do not care what anyone thinks. I always hated that Ben was killed off and it was only because of all the backlash people gave Marvel about Ben ending up as the original. To me it always made sense that Ben was the real Peter Parker, I can't see how people didn't realize that Ben was actually Peter. It made more sense as far as a story that he was really Peter, just think about the drama involved there. A man lives his life as a cast away thinking he is a clone only to find out that he is the real person. He has already learned to deal with one thing only to have another thrown at him, if you really think about it he lost his true identity, family and even MJ to a clone.

I don't know why others didn't like this as much as I did but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. Still most people said the problem was the length of the story, I personally loved every minute. Although like my boy Madpenguin said "There were plenty of gripes about the saga, with one of them being it was way too long. Now let's be honest with ourselves, we all know the real reason why the fans truly hated the story, and length had little to do with it. It was mainly because Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, was revealed to be the clone, and Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider, was revealed to be the original". That was truly what everyone was upset about minus me of course. Like I pointed out earlier that was the reason I loved it, by that point Ben/Scarlet had become the more interesting character.

Any way this book collects all six issues from writers Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie who were there for the original telling of this series, and artist Todd Nauck. It was marketed as the way the story was originally meant to be told but I doubt they were going to skip time frames so quickly. Honestly you miss so much stuff in this retelling, not sure if they expected old readers to just remember all that happened, or that new readers would just not realize.

Spoilers

Issue one starts out with both MJ's and Aunt May's problems, pregnant though thought to be sick only at first] and dying respectively. This of course is what brings one Ben Reilly back to New York after years of being a nomad. Kaine of course is reintroduced and is the reason the two spider-Men have to come together, an uneasy truce if you will. The second issue goes right into Scarlet Spider and Kaine going at it with Peter eventually joining in after more complications arise with MJ. This battle would eventually lead them into the lair of the clone master himself, The Jackal. I remember in the original telling of this it seemed much more dramatic and epic, just though I guess. From there we move into the third issue and here we have maximum clonage [couldn't help but to say it for those who know] as clone after clone appears including the deceased Gwen Stacy. This along with news that Peter may be the clone and Ben the real one Kaine can't take it and fights free. This allows Pete and Ben to do the same and take the Jackal out along with a cure for Aunt May and MJ. Also Peter says he wants out of the super hero biz and hands the Spider-Man responsibility to Ben.

We follow that up with issue four and now we have jumped ahead once again and Ben is rocking the new improved Spider-Man suit [love it]. He is also battling Doc Ock out of nowhere, really can't believe they reversed one of the best moments from the original, Doc's death at the hands of Kaine was excellent. It made perfect sense since Kaine is a Peter Parker who uses his abilities to the fullest and does not hold back like the good guy versions of Pete. Any way they are doing battle as Ock and Kaine are somehow together now. Ock almost dies at the hands of Kaine in the end but Ben saves him. This leads us into part five as the two Osborns are back and one is flying back into the Spideyverse as the Green Goblin. This leads into the first battle the two have had together in a while as Pete and Ben come together to face Kaine again. But it is Ben that must face the returning Goblin. For some reason Ben catches a beat down [still bothers me] and Peter has to come in and help out. This of course is what the final volume is all about. In the battle that happens we see two Goblins, two Spider-men, and of course Kaine is lurking around. But people start to have a change of heart and the war slowly turns in favor of the good guys. The one thing they changed that I did like is Norman sacrifices himself to save Pete instead of Ben. Don't get me wrong in the original version it is Ben that shows how great he is by dying for Peter but it is cool that Ben survives here. The final panel is great with Ben riding off on his motorcycle with a big Scarlet Spider behind him with MJ asking if he would ever come back. This leads to Peter saying "this is not the last time we have seen Ben Reilly or the Scarlet Spider".

Now I am sure that some of you are wondering why I basically laid it all out like that. Well because that is literally how it comes out if you were to read it. It goes by so fast with very little character development; at least in the so called 2 long version the characters were valued. Kaine is just as dangerous here but in the real version he builds up his legend taking out villain after villain and battling Ben and doing very well against both Spideys. The Jackal as well is just a simple pawn here; in the original he was a very dangerous guy that really screwed with all three guys [Ben, Pete, and Kaine]. Also am I the only one that missed Spiercide.

Now not everything is bad here like the art work, it is very good and while not as dark or atmospheric like issues of the original story [those issues were Kaine killed The Grim Hunter, and Doc Ock come to mind] it is very well done. And for what you get it is good, for what you get. Also I LOVED that Ben lives in this story, which is a big thing for me. Plus it is just cool to see the Scarlet Spider once again, that is what I told myself when this series was first released.

Still things like Peter and Ben becoming friends so quick was weird, come on one of them believed the other was dead. That is that character development thing I was talking about. I also remember Pete being more than a little upset when it was said that Ben was the original. I don't know if Marvel feels like they need to apologize for what they thought was a mistake or what. Maybe they wanted to just make more money off of people like me who love Scarlet. Whatever the reason this felt rushed and while I do not hate it because Ben lives it is far from the greatness that the original is. Yes you read that right I truly believe the original to be classic. If you have read any of my other stuff I am sure you know why I feel that way.
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on June 20, 2010
I liked that Marvel decided to take the Clone Saga and try and redeem it because as far as I know; what killed the original series was that it ran for WAY too long though what I think killed THIS series was how short it was. Maybe if they made it a 10 issue maxi series it would've faired better. It wouldn't have dragged on as long as the original Clone Saga did and I think the writers could've done more with a series that had a lot of premise. They could've taken all those good ideas they had during that first go around and just cut out some of the fat. Writers tried too hard to take the totality of the Original Clone Saga and Cram it into a 6 issue mini series. It was still fun reading this story and seeing the Scarlet Spider again anyway. I've also always liked Todd Nauck as a Spider-man artist and it was a pleasure to watch him in the pages of the Clone Saga. All and all if you're like me you'll probably end up buying the trade just to add to the ever growing library of Spider-man trades. I'm also curious to know what readers of the original Clone saga thought of this. Those that read it...
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on February 1, 2012
I was buying the Spider-Man titles back in the early to mid-nineties when this whole clone debacle started. Sure, I enjoyed a majority of the stories....mostly the early ones...once Ben Reilly became Spidey I gave up collecting until the terrible John Byrne revamp but, that's a whole different book. One of the biggest flaws in this series, which has already been mentioned in another review) is that too much information, characters,and new plot threads are presented too quickly and often times without any explanation to the reader. This should have been a 12 issue limited at the least. Another missing piece to the clone puzzle was J.M. Dematties, who wrote most of the clone tales that I actually enjoyed without his ability to capture heart wrenching moments and despair in the characters they just fall flat. I should also mentioned that the art harkens back to those days of yore called the 90's...meaning it's pretty bad. Too bad, I was expecting so much more out of this book and I waited a looong time to finally read it.
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on July 12, 2010
Well I'll cut to the chase and answer the question the title of this review brought. Is this version of the Clone Saga better than the original? Yes... AND no. I have read a good 50% percent of the Clone Saga and will hopefully get all of these Epic trades Marvel has been realising lately so I'll have 100% shortly. I think that these two (I've read up to Maxium Clonage, the halfway point for the Saga) Sagas compliment each other very well. This version has none of the "stuffing" the original had (Peter is a murderer, Judas Traveller, and the Spider-Skeleton) and I like that this story cut to the chase and I like that Ben lived. However, I liked some of the stuffing in the original.
So in short I reccomend you read this book, afterwards you should read the original!
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on November 4, 2013
This is miles better than the super long Clone Saga arc that between 1993-1996. However there are some problems. At times the story feels a little rushed and it might have benefited from an extra issue or two. However that's not to say that this is a bad story. The dialogue is sharply written and the the two Spider-Men bounce off each other very well. Overall this is a great alternative to the mediocre Clone Saga of the 90's.
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on July 2, 2014
One story I wanted to read and met expectationS
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