Graphic Novel Review: Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: The Clone Conspiracy

Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: The Clone Conspiracy

Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide: The Clone Conspiracy - Credit: Archant

Spider-Man’s friends and foes are... dead no more?

(Panini Books)

Even before the start of his costumed career, when his parents were killed by the Red Skull, Peter Parker’s life has been haunted by tragedy. In fact, his motivation as the Amazing Spider-Man came from the murder of his beloved Uncle Ben, and the realisation that “with great power there must also come - great responsibility”.

Over the years, his mission has cost many other lives, both friends and foes, including the likes of George and Gwen Stacey, Marla Jameson, Ned Leeds and The Rhino. But although these losses have each taken their toll on the webslinger, to an extent they have made him the hero he is today, driven by a desire to save as many people as he can from losing their own loved ones.

But now the dead are coming back, miraculously resurrected complete with memories intact to the very moment of their passing, not clones, not zombies, not counterparts from an alternate dimension, but something… else. And the man behind the incredible return of so many people from Peter’s past is none other than his old foe, the Jackal.

Instead of revenge, the Jackal offers Peter the opportunity to move on confident that the deaths he has been associated with have now been undone, and even his Uncle Ben can be brought back from beyond. But while Peter muses on this opportunity, his clone brother Kaine, aka the Scarlet Spider, is determined to thwart this scheme before it results in the end of the world, as they have previously seen on many other parallel Earths…

In between the jaw-dropping revelations and fan-pleasing storylines, writer Dan Slott manages to get to the very heart of what drives Peter Parker to continue as Spider-Man, and then threatens to take that away from him. After all, had the young Spidey not allowed a burglar to escape custody, the same villain would not have killed his uncle, and the wallcrawler may never have ended up fighting crime. It was this tragedy, and those which have followed over the years, which keep him pulling on his costume, and who knows what path he may have taken otherwise?

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The Jackal’s gift of life to those once dead means there would be no lasting consequences to Peter’s mistakes, as he could simply resurrect anyone killed as a result of Spider-Man’s actions, either directly or indirectly, and is that really a good thing? It’s a fascinating debate, and one which hits to the very core of Parker’s conscience, which naturally makes for great storytelling.

Writer Dan Slott has been crafting the adventures of Spider-Man since 2008, and on the strength of narratives like this, definitely has the imagination and enthusiasm to carry on doing so for a long time to come.