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THE COMPLETE CLONE SAGA EPIC
Any and every one that knows me or has read my stuff knows how big a fan I am of "The Clone Saga", the Scarlet Spider, and Ben Reilly over all. This was a crazy time for me in my life and this was one of the main things that helped me get through all of that. That of course is explained in my review of volume one of this series. Still this volume has some very interesting stories in it, some major while others are not. Still to me they are all great in my opinion as nothing disappoints in this, much like the other two volumes. Now I am sure some of you may disagree but to each his own, I LOVE IT.
This wonderful volume collects Amazing Spider-Man 400-401, Amazing Spider-Man Super Special 1, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man 222-224, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man 57-58, Spider-Man: The Clone Journal, Spider-Man Super Special 1, Spider-Man Unlimited 9, Web of Spider-Man 123-124, Web of Spider-Man Super Special 1, and of course Venom Super Special 1. If you are looking at that and thinking that is a lot, well you are right. But for a nut like me [who owns each of these separately as well] I love it. Still for anyone who loves comics it is a great deal, remember that you don't have to read it all at once.
We start things out with "The Clone Journal" which is basically a catch up reading guide to all things that have happened prior to this volume. Next up we get the "Players and Pawns" storyline which picks up where "Smoke & Mirrors" had left us with Kaine going through the ruble, what is he looking for? This story also introduces a new clone or is it the real deal Peter Parker? Also The Jackal is back in action and I love how strong they made this guy look. During this era The Jackal was not just another villain to eventually be beat, he literally was a dangerous opponent to all three Parker brothers. Also this story is a bit darker especially the first half of the story, from look, feel, to over all story.
Next up we get the five part "Planet of the Symbiotes" which in my opinion was a great story and very fun to read. Not only did it have my boy Scarlet alongside Spidey but also Venom, Carnage, and well a whole race of symbiotes were along for the ride as well. The story follows Eddie Brock and his quest to find out if it is he or his other that makes all the violent decisions. In wanting to find this out they split for a time, this causes his other to cry out in agony of being not wanted by Eddie. In doing so his shriek can be heard and felt by his own race, and they come knocking on planet Earth. This is a fun story in that the threat is so great that not only does Spidey team with Venom and his clone but the clone teams with venom. All those who have read all the series thus far will get what I am saying there. Add in every ones favorite psychopath from Marvel Carnage and you add a whole new level of fun. Now I personally love this story and find the whole mall part to be excellent and straight out of a horror movie. In fact that is how I read this entire story, as a horror story it just adds to my enjoyment.
Next up is the excellent "Death in the Family" story line with "The Gift" and "Circle of Life", this was a major event in the Spideyverse and these stories are very emotional and are very well done, both written and drawn to perfection. Easily this could be some of the best reading in this collection, be sure to check this out. Also I still have my Amazing Spider-Man 400 and I still love the cover, same for the beginning of our next story starting with Spider-Man 57, and Spectacular Spider-Man 223 excellent covers. You really won't get what I mean from the cover layouts here but those who own them know what I mean. Any way our next storyline is "Aftershock" picking up where the last left off. Here Peter has been arrested and sits in jail while his pregnant wife is home worrying. And of course Kaine is out as his Scarlet Spider who wants desperately to help MJ, but will she let Ben? And while Traveller and Scrier are still lurking about at this point it is The Jackal who is the most interesting, ask Carnage and Shriek.
Finally we come to the excellent "Mark of Kaine" storyline that follows Kaine and his visions of MJ dead and his quest to keep her alive. Although she doesn't know that plus the other Peter Parker is back and town and he really wants his life back. He will go through Kaine, Ben, and even the newly incarcerated Peter to get it back. This could be the best storyline over all here besides the two "Death on the Family" outings. This story has a really dark feel to it which makes it even more cinematic, well at least until the last issue. I love the emotions that pour through from each character in this story line. Kaine is completely misunderstood in his quest to help MJ, she has to deal with Kaine, Ben and of course the new Peter, not to mention her husband is in jail. Ben wants only to help but is pitted against a man that seems to always have his number and faces what he has to do to help Peter. Peter obviously is in jail for a crime he did not do and now MJ is missing thanks to a mad man. Then of course there is the new Peter who goes through so much in such a short time you actually feel for this guy, even after everything he ends up doing.
This all leads into the final issue of this story and things go from dark and in depth storytelling to straight forward action. If it is action you are looking then this is the issue for you. The newly formed Sinister Seven consisting of Hobgoblin, Mysterio, Vulture, Electro, Shocker, Beetle, and Scorpia are all up in arms over the new kid on town, Kaine. Seems after the deaths of Doc Ock and The Grim Hunter these guys think Kaine me after any one of them next. So begins the operation Kaine Killer and this one is full of action. After this you get the pin up prints that were offered at the back of this issue originally.
I truly love everything about The Clone Saga and everything after until .... Well that comes later on. I do highly recommend all of these books from original printings all the way to these TPB's. Ben has always been and will always be the most interesting character ever in the Spideyverse to me. I have stated before in my other reviews why and I still believe them to be true. So check out these stories and decide for yourself how you feel about them. Honestly and hardcore comic reader or should I say Spider-Man reader should have read or needs to read all of these stories.