Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Clone Conspiracy #3 - Marvel Comics

THE CLONE CONSPIRACY No. 3, February 2017
It’s hard to imagine that many “True Believers” agreed with Associate Editor Devin Lewis that Dan Slott’s script for Issue Three of “The Clone Conspiracy” is “one of the biggest payoffs” for the American author’s “blood, sweat, and tears” over the course of the last few years. In fact, considering that this arguably deplorable twenty-page periodical heralds the return of Peter Parker’s “blue-hoodie-wearin’” “brother from another blood cell”, Ben Reilly, and ultimately threatens to “bring back Uncle Ben”, it is probably far more likely that this book’s 56,117 strong audience became increasingly despondent as the Berkeley-born writer’s plot progressed. It’s certainly hard not to blanche at Lewis’ final sign-off at the bottom of the publication’s ‘Letters Page’ when he pens “trust me when I say – things will get crazier.”

Quite possibly top of this title’s many flaws, besides a distinct irreverence towards many of Spider-Man’s most popular deceased cast, is its mishandling of two of the wall-crawler’s most recognisable supporting characters. “In 2009, the Lizard was named IGN's 62nd Greatest Comic Villain of All Time” and yet in this mini-series the usually violent monster is portrayed as a weak-willed simpering ‘pet’ who poses such little threat to his arch-nemesis and Spider-Gwen, that neither super-heroes' spider-sense even tingles when Curt Connors’ alter-ego traps them within a dark, gloomy pipe. That hardly seems the sort of reaction one would expect towards a savage, sharp-toothed criminal well-known for envisioning “a world where all humans had been transformed into (or replaced by) super-reptiles like himself.”

Similarly disserved by Slott’s script is "Parker 3.0", or rather the ‘new’ Scarlet Spider. Supposedly possessing “a slight amplification of the powers he ‘inherited’ from Peter”, this clone was actually thought worthy enough by the Eisner Award-winner to carry an entire issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man” single-handedly as part of the title's tie-in to this “Dead No More” story-event. Disconcertingly in this comic however, Kaine is simply depicted as “no contest” fodder for the Rhino to easily overcome with a single charge, and so having previously been seen as a major contributor to this narrative’s far-reaching consequences, courtesy of several treks across a ‘zombie-infested’ Multiverse, he is suddenly reduced to a body nonchalantly slumped over Aleksei Sytsevich’s broad shoulders; “We get what the master wants, and we get out.”
The 'XCI' variant cover art of "THE CLONE CONSPIRACY" No. 3

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