Monday, December 12, 2016

The Clone Conspiracy #3 Review

Back for the First Time

Writer:  Dan Slott
Art Team: Jim Cheung, John Dell, & Justin Ponsor
Marvel Comics
Release Date: 12/7/2016
Review by: Branden Murray

Throughout Clone Conspiracy so far a pattern of sorts has seemed to emerge. That pattern seems to be that whatever questions, or cliffhangers, are brought up at the end of each Clone Conspiracy issue get flushed out, and addressed, immediately in the tie-ins, Amazing Spider-Man chief among the three.  The focus at first was on Doctor Octavius, before moving on to Kaine, so I was amped to see who or what would be the next reveal in the series. With that being mentioned as they say in Texas “tread” lightly reading because you might discover something below that spoils the events within if you’re not up to date. Sooooo … I can’t wait any longer … let’s see what’s up with the ol’ web head now.

Things start right where we left off the previous issue of this series as Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen attempt to escape New U facilities with Lizard hot on their tale. A little teamwork buys them the time they need to get outside and escape all previously deceased villains as they head back for Horizon.

Speaking of Horizon Labs, if you recall, this is where the rest of the team is keeping the Clone of Gwen Stacey (which is NOT Spider-Gwen, fyi if you’re new here). The Horizon group, including some workers and Kaine, debate about whether or not to give Gwen the infamous “Jackal medicine” she needs.  At this point Kane spills the beans about the fact that if she fails to receive her dose Gwen will turn into a blood seeking zombie, or a victim of the “Carrion Virus”, as they’re called in this storyline, just like KAINE HIMSELF! The team reacts poorly to these series of reveals, calling the police with the evidence they have gathered on Jackal so far, however without fail the police are in on “the take”, just like crooked cops in any 80’s movie ever.  

“The take” in this case leads the police to inform Jackal of the Horizon crew’s whereabouts and in no time the new Electro (I prefer ShElectra personally) and Rhino are all over team Horizon. After a small struggle, with a weakened Kaine, the evil doers take control, and end up taking several people including the Scarlet Spider himself, their Gwen Stacey, and Anna Maria who volunteers to go along willingly by surprise. 

Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen arrive to the facility too late to do anything about the kidnappings at Horizon but do find some Kingpin fella many are familiar with lurking around the grounds. Wilson Fisk isn’t here to fight, for once, but hand over information about the Jackal to help Spider-man locate his whereabouts. If you remember Jackal brought back Fisk’s wife without the Kingpins permission resulting in the big man being none too happy, as you may have noticed.

Spidey uses the new information to his advantage to track down the “villainous” Jackal to a shipyard looking to end this fiasco once and for all. The two begin to mix it up, yet something is off, Spidey finds the Jackal to be surprisingly much quicke, not to mention a much improved fighter, than he previously remembers … and shit hits the spider-web at this point!  Jackal parlays Spider-Man’s punches, cockily stating that he’s no quicker than Spidey himself, also providing a huge hint to his identify stating his suit is SCARLET not red. 

At this moment the villain unmasks to reveal his identify to be none other than Ben Reilly, the OG Scarlet Spider from the 90’s.  The character isn’t done with his mic drop moment just yet either as he tells Spidey, “he has his Uncle Ben and can resurrect the man if Peter chooses to follow him and New U’s agenda” … as our issue ends.  

Holy shit if you’re any sort of Spider-Man fan like myself the one thing you can surely say for that ending is it’ll shock the britches off you (that’s what they say over there right Toby?).  I’m sure the debate is ragging on in the depths of the Internet about the fairness of the hints provided behind the reveal, and whether or not the teases of who was behind the mask were misleading or not.  However I’m here to tell you I might be the worst kind of fan at this moment because I don’t really care. I just like the fact one of my favorite characters from childhood has returned and I want to enjoy this moment damnit because it doesn’t have the feeling of something that will last long. With only two event issues left of this series I’m beginning to get excited for the future of Spider-Man again which I haven’t been after an event story in some time.

I had some hatred for this story a bit last review stating “it started to feel a little like Spider-Verse” but it seems to have veered away from that territory in this issue. It was an unwarranted criticism and I see now it was tied to story elements that flushed out Kaine’s background these past few months.
The art continues to be solid but I honestly would prefer the colors to lighten up a bit. I feel everything is constructed great, but very dark, and colored with too thick of shadows for a Spider-Man book. I’m not sure if it’s an intentional story beat based on mood or not but it does make it difficult to make out certain areas and what exactly is going on.

Bits and Pieces:

This is an event story after all so it isn’t perfect by any means but the plot elements are doing enough to keep me on the edge of my seat and I’m excited to see what, or who in this case, is around each corner. Things will be coming to a roaring conclusion in the coming months and I can’t imagine how all this will wrap up because after the reveals this issue I’m out of guesses of whose left.



  1. This issue was the best of the event so far for me, and I can't wait for the next Amazing Spider-man tie in to spill all the beans!

  2. I liked it a lot although I'm not positive the reveal makes a ton of sense yet. The Oh scarlet spider is one of my favorite characters