Spider-Man’s last decade of comic book history has arguably been one of the most difficult for the character. Ever since his devilish divorce with Mary Jane Watson, Spidey has gone through a slew of strange stories and changes to his status quo. They’ve ranged from intriguing to downright baffling. However, I was grateful that Marvel wasn’t pulling another Clone Saga disaster. But then, Marvel announced The Clone Conspiracy on June 17.
Looks like I need to be careful what I’m grateful for.
In October, as a part of the Dead No More event, Spider-Man will be in the midst of another event involving clones. This seems like a bad idea on Marvel’s part; the original Clone Saga was a convoluted, overly extended story mandated by an over enthusiastic marketing team trying to save a near bankrupt Marvel. Obviously, Marvel is in a better place now than in 1994, but the Clone Saga does carry an unfortunate stigma with it.
Spider-Man writer, Dan Slott and artist Jim Cheung will be working on the five issue mini series. Slott (in an interview with Entertainment Weekly) promises, “some big, primal things happen that will have a long-standing effect.” Not to sound overly cynical, but that’s something comic book fans have heard a lot with the Marvel relaunches. Slott also mentions to EW that this is going to be a story about loss for Peter Parker. What else is new?
“I think more than any character in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man is about heart. And ever since ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15, for him it’s also been about loss. ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ He learns that lesson at the life of Uncle Ben. And then, years later, Captain Stacy dies in front of him, and it’s almost the exact opposite. He did everything he possibly could! He did try to live up to his responsibility and use his power, and still he lost someone very dear to him. So loss surrounds Spider-Man. We live in a day and age of comics where you’re always seeing another important death. ‘Here’s someone who dies!’ We’re subverting all of that. Here’s people coming back.”
Again, not to sound overly cynical, but we’ve heard this before. What I find worrisome about this event is that it feels like Marvel has become cyclical. There’s pattern a of constant retread with previous ideas and events, but in a manner that’s meant to shock the audience to a core in order to boost sales. As a fan of Spider-Man, I’ve got sick of seeing one of my favorite characters go through a huge shake up every couple of years. I understand that superheroes need to evolve and change, but sometimes maintaining a status quo isn’t the worst thing ever.
Perhaps Spider-Man doesn’t need another big shocker that will reinvent him.
Now this doesn’t mean that The Clone Conspiracy will be bad. Dan Slott has proven himself to be a decent writer at times, and Jim Cheung’s art is fantastic. This just seems like a strange decision to make by Marvel. I question why they’re going in this direction for Spider-Man. Perhaps this will be a great story that will get people really excited about Spider-Man comics. Or maybe this will be a catastrophe. But, personally, I will be avoiding this until I hear otherwise.
Now while I can’t recommend the original Clone Saga, I can recommend the 2009 mini-series. It’s simply a retelling of the story, and what the creators originally intended. It’s a fun read, and isn’t nearly as confusing. Check it out when you get the chance.
But first, let us know what you think about The Clone Conspiracy. Should this be avoided like the plague? Or are you interested in picking this up?
Let us know in the comments below!