This week Spider-Man’s big event Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy came to a close with issue 5. Here are my thoughts on the event as a whole. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Ben Reilly Returns
The biggest reveal from the event was the return of the fan favorite Spider character, Ben Reilly, but his return came with a twist – he’s evil now. When this was first revealed I thought the story gave a viable reason of why Ben would turn evil, but as the event came to a close Ben became less morally ambiguous.
There didn’t seem to be any redeeming quality to the character as he tried to turn the world to his image. Let’s hope his ongoing series will help flesh out his motives.
Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker
Gwen and Peter’s relationship was the biggest strength of The Clone Conspiracy event. We’ve seen versions of the original Gwen Stacy over the decades, but we’ve never seen the 616 Gwen Stacy quite like this. The story arc was a great goodbye to a relationship that never received a true ending. Gwen Stacy dies a heroic death instead of being stuffed in a refrigerator like her iconic death in “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”.
For a five issue series the event had too many plot lines and characters it was trying to squeeze in. The Clone Conspiracy brought back every single person Peter has seen die during his superhero career, which is a lot of people. The series tried to put a focus on key players like The Lizard, J Jonah Jameson, Ben Reilly, Doctor Octopus, Captain Stacy, Mattie Franklin, and Gwen Stacy. The event either needed more issues to fully explore these character arcs or less characters to focus on.
Better Utilization of Tie-Ins
As I stated in the last section, the main title of The Clone Conspiracy was too crowded. This could have been prevented – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – if the event had more tie-ins to the other Spider titles. We had some great little moments between 616 Gwen Stacy and Spider-Gwen in the main title, but we could have seen their much needed interaction more if The Clone Conspiracy tied into Spider-Gwen. The Clone Conspiracy did tie into Silk, but I feel that the series lost a lot of opportunity by putting the focus mainly on Hector and Cindy instead of Cindy and the Jameson family. In general I feel like J. Jonah Jameson was short changed in this arc, even with his many connections to the story.
Back to Basics
A positive that came out of The Clone Conspiracy was the feeling that Spider-Man was going back to basics. Recently, it’s felt like The Amazing Spider-Man has been distancing itself further away from the roots of the character with stories like Superior Spider-Man and Parker Industries. The Clone Conspiracy brought back themes that have always been important to the character, and presented these themes in a fresh, original way.
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