What’s Old is New AgainWriter: Dan Slott
Art by: Jim Cheung, John Dell, Justin Ponsor , Ron Frenz, John Dell, and Edgar Delgado
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 12, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray
Out of a slew of new number one issues hitting stands throughout the next few months for Marvel Comics, the Clone Conspiracy was the series I looked most forward to picking up. The title is replacing the Amazing Spider-Man, as the main in continuity Peter Parker related series, while the former provides supplemental material, along with Prowler and Silk, for this events duration. I’ve made no secret of my unabashed love for the blue hoody Scarlet Spider, who spun out of the Clone fiasco back in the 90’s, so nostalgia is contributing to my interest here, but I’m fine with that, and if you’re picking this up you should be too. So with the stage now set in the last few issues of Amazing lets dig in to this new #1 and see what it has in store for us Web Heads.
Events start close to home and on a very personal level as most of the Spider-Man supporting cast attends Jay Jamison’s funeral after he passed from health complications in the previous issue. When the proceedings conclude, J. Jonah takes this opportunity to berate Peter for convincing Aunt May, and Jay, to trust the traditional medical procedure over New U. He’s essentially blaming the death on Peter in a way. While this is classic J. Jonah, both characters were aware of the benefits New U provides and neither, Peter nor J. Jonah, share what they know with anybody.
Peter, as Spidey, is aware survivors of this procedure set off his spider sense, which is why he’s against it, and J. Jonah has seen his wife brought back from the dead by Jackal. So while I feel we should be sympathetic for J. Jonah he comes off as a pretty big blow hard here, even more than usual. If he spoke up at any point he may have convinced the others to see things his way but he’d rather blame others.
Peter continues to be bugged about what he doesn’t know or understand about New U. This eventually leads Anna Maria and Peter to take a visit to a recovering employee of Parker Industries who was originally cleared for a procedure after a facility explosion. As the two arrive at the employee’s front door they’re greeted by his panicked wife. She reports that New U took her husband after missing doses of medicine resulting in horrible complications.
The wife tells Peter and Anna that is all she knows because prior to leaving the couples house company representatives from New U wiped any information or evidence they had on the company off their home network and “Web Ware”. Leaving no stone unturned New U also took the poor man’s clothes and toiletries. I guess Listerine goes for a premium on dark web in the Marvel U.
This new info forces Spider-Man into action tracking down the employee to a New U facility, via spider tracer, while Anna Maria tries to breakdown the makeup of the medicine the company forces on their patients. It’s not long before Spider-Man discovers the extremely creepy side effects of the New U procedures while almost simultaneously being caught snooping by a possibly cloned version of Miles Warren (Jackal himself). This Miles takes off running, while alerting security, which results in some great looking Spider--Man versus classic Spidey rouges action as Rhino and the new and improved She-lectra show up to the scene. Peter is able to exploit the young rookie Electra’s ignorance dispatching the two fighters before being distracted by none other than former high school flame Gwen Stacy.
Spidey is caught so off guard for two different reasons the first obviously being his long thought dead girlfriend seems alive and well, while trying to understand why his spider sense wasn’t set off by the introduction of this new “clone”. Just as Spidey tries to gather his mental bearings from being distracted he’s knocked out by none other than Doc Oc, who seems to have weaseled his way into a new body after all this time.
Since this is a $4.99 issue, we are provided with a backup story, which sheds some light, on what was going on inside the head of Gwen Stacy prior to her death at the hands of the Green Goblin way back in the day. There are some recon’s that happen in this area that may upset some long time Spider-Man traditionalists however it does give motivation to Gwen’s presence in this story so I’m alright with it for now … however I do reserve the right to change my mind if all goes to hell because the last time Gwen came back some twisted shit happened.
Despite a little exposition retreading covered ground, writer Dan Slott has crafted an issue with an action packed but emotional punch. I look forward to continuing this event going forward which isn’t something I say too often. Jim Cheung, John Dell, and Justin Ponsor provide art to please any comic fans eyeballs although some pages colors, especially towards the end of the book, come off very dark. Credit also goes to Ron Frenz, John Dell, and Edgar Delgado who in the back up story are able to provide some beautiful throwback-esque art which sets the tone for the flashback scenes nicely.
Bits and Pieces:
To sum things up, Clone Conspiracy, the Spider event of 2016, is off to a pretty epic beginning. If you’ve missed the classic Spider-Man feels and vibe this is a huge step back in that right direction for long time Spider-Man fans. The villains, Parker luck, and even certain story beats are all here for anybody to enjoy a classic new age tale. The formation of the villains as a team run by Jackal could rival any version of the Sinister Six only this time with an added mental dimension to the game Spider-Man may not be ready to tangle with based on this issues ending. I’m extremely anxious to see what next.