27 November 2005

COMMENT: The Clone Saga & The Other - Part 1

A little over a year has passed since my first post on CBC. I wanted to commemerate this milestone by writing my first post dealing directly with comic books. The following is a Fanboy's dream, and it just may come true.

The idea for this post came to me 2 weeks ago, during a conversation with Guy about Spider-Man 3. We were bouncing ideas back and forth and recounting past internet rumors as to who the other villian in the movie would be. Sandman has been confirmed, but what villian will Topher Grace play? And will it actually be a villian at all? During this discussion, one of us brought up (cue dramatic music...) The Clone Saga.

I proceeded to explain to him what I believed happened during The Clone Saga, and after the discussion was over and I shed a little light on it for him, I'd confused the heck out of myself! Afterwards, I thought about it and realized I had big holes in the story that needed to be filled. So after hours of internet research, the following is what I came up with.

amazing525varAfter my research was complete I had this crazy idea. Could the current Spider-Man cross-over, The Other: Evolve or Die (TO:EOD), possibly be tied in to The Clone Saga?

Well, it wasn't so crazy because, by that time the second printing variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man #525 had already been released. That cover shows Ben Reilly in his new Spider-Man costume. I'll explain later. Since then, Marvel has released numerous variant covers for sold-out issues of TO:EOD, each cover featuring a different costume from Spider-Man's history. The latest variant to be revealed is Scarlet Spider, for MK Spider-Man #20. After a good long brainstorming session, I've come up with a theory based on clues, facts, and guesstimates.

But first things first; let's talk about The Clone Saga.

My goal with this 3-part post is to make The Clone Saga equally accesible to the hard-core fan and the uninitiated. I'll be providing an outline of the saga in each of the first two posts. Post #3 will be my theory as to how The Clone Saga may tie in to TO:EOD. At the end of post #3, I'll provide links to three really great websites that, put together, can provide you with a complete understanding of Spidey's greatest challenge.

10254There is no one single definition of what The Clone Saga fully covers, but I think this is the simplest. The Clone Saga is the name for all stories dealing in one way or another with the clones of Peter Parker and/or Gwen Stacy. Simply put, the Clone Saga begins with Amazing Spider-Man #121 (06/1974, The death of Gwen Stacy) and ends with Spider-Man #75 (12/1996, The death of Ben Reilly). Any story that dealt with a clone is considered part of the saga. In total there are over 100 issues that qualify. There is no single trade that covers all facets of the story, but I have found the one that closes The Clone Saga. Spider-Man: Revelations is a 4-issue trade paperback which was released in 10/1997. It puts an end to The Clone Saga by revealing the mastermind behind it all, and the real Peter Parker. (The image on the right is a spoiler free cover of Spider-Man #75 from Spain. The back cover of the book shows the mastermind behind The Clone Saga.)

There are two major parts of The Clone Saga. The first part being the pre-Ben Reilly saga; the latter beginning when he first appears, and ending with his death. Just to put it in perspective: in real-time, 22 years have passed between the death of Gwen Stacy and the death of Ben Reilly. In the Marvel Universe, though, for Parker and company it's only been roughly 5 years.

Lets start with the basics and jump right into the pre-Ben Reilly part of the saga.

1. Death of Gwen Stacy
Everyone knows the story of her death, but this is where The Clone Saga begins. Parker was not the only person who loved Gwen. Another person loved her so dearly, he wanted to bring her back. His name was Professer Miles Warren. He grew infatuated with Gwen while she was a student, along with Parker, in one of his classes at Empire State University. When Warren learned of her death he set out to clone her using tissue samples he had of her from an experiment in class. In the process, he also wanted to destroy the life of Parker/Spider-Man. Spider-Man was initially blamed for the death of Gwen, but was later cleared. Nonetheless, this was the spark for Warren's mission to destroy Spider-Man.

2. The reappearance of Gwen Stacy
Sometime after her death, Spider-Man would catch glimpses of a woman who resembled Gwen. This happened sporadically throughout many issues, never amounting to much more than his mind playing tricks on him. Eventually, it was driving Parker mad and put a strain on his new relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Suddenly, Gwen is found alive in a hospital with no memory of what has happened to her. All indications point to this being the real Gwen Stacy.

ASM149A3. The Jackal
During this time, a new villian appears, by the name of Jackal. He is hellbent on destroying Spider-Man. Various battles take place between Jackal and Spider-Man, and the Jackal eventually wins and brings a drugged Spider-Man to Shea Stadium. (Note: That's the only way I'll ever go to Shea Stadium, too.) We learn that the Jackal is actually Professor Warren and has been mind-controlling Gwen Stacy, whom he also reveals is a clone. When Spider-Man wakes up, he is confronted by another Spider-Man. The Jackal informs them that one of them is the true Spider-Man, the other a clone he created. A bomb has been set, and only the original Spider-Man can defuse it. The Spider-Men battle each other thinking each is the original. In the melee, the bomb explodes. Shea Stadium still stands (BOO!), but Jackal and one of the Spider-Men is dead.

4. Aftermath of the blast.
Gwen Stacy, realizing she is a clone, wishes to pursue her own life and leaves NYC. Spider-Man collects the body of his clone and disposes of it in the smokestack of an incineration plant. Now at this point, Spider-Man doesn't know if he is the original or clone. He enlists the help of Dr. Conners to do genetic testing to verify his identity. Spider-Man never reads the results. He is convinced that no clone can have the feelings he has for Mary Jane Watson.

Well, there you have it; the pre-Ben Reilly part of the Clone Saga. Part 2 of this 3-part series will be posted on Wednesday, Part 3 on Friday, so stay tuned.

Till then...


Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

I forgot you started posting that soon after I started this thing up. Happy anniversary, Vs. punk!

This whole Clone Saga thing still gives me a headache, but at least I'm starting to get a better sense of it all. Can't wait until part 3 when you reveal The Other to be...Jason Todd!

the Isotope Communique said...

Speaking of anniversaries, were you aware that 2005 is the 10 year anniversary of the Clone Saga?

I've been of the opinion that they were doing new Clone Saga since back in April, and that crazy Larry Young has been predicting the Spider Clone from Spider-Man 3 since back in July.

It's gonna happen.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Yeah, Larry's prediction was one of the "internet rumors" I mentioned to Dan when we were talking about this. As a casual Spidey fan, though, the whole thing makes my head hurt.

Dan Diaz said...

Clone Saga rules! The End. Topher Grace is Ben Reilly. Write it down.