Spider-Man’s ‘Clone Saga’ Is The Old Black and The New Neon
By now most Marvelites have already heard the news: Spider-Man’s secret shame is about to rear his cloney head – again.
Yes, “Spider-Man: The Clone Saga” hits stores this September. Marvel solicitation info describes it as a kind of sequel to the ridiculously complicated original clone saga of the mid ’90s, which saw Peter Parker temporarily replaced by his (possible) clone Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider.
Fortunately for fans of mainstream Spidey continuity, this is all happening as part of a six-issue miniseries, which is kind of code for “feel free to ignore this if you want.” The offer is tempting.After all, disregarding the past is kind of what Marvel’s been doing for more than a decade. Their strategy of soft retconnage worked pretty well for a long time too, at least when it wiped away Spidey story elements that were universally hated. When that wasn’t enough, Marvel gave us the Mephisto-fueled lobotomy that was “One More Day,” effectively wiping every annoyance in Spidey’s history from existence until it served a purpose.
But now fans have to face the music – especially younger fans who reached their comic book awakening around the time all the clone weirdness was going on.
And that’s okay.
No, really. I’ll probably even read all six issues.
You see, Spider-Man’s secret shame is my own. I read the original series when it was new, chased it with the adventures of the Scarlet Spider and kept picking up issues until John Romita Jr. finally drew Ben Reilly’s horrible, foamy demise.
Fans need to face the facts. Revisiting the two years of pain that was “The Clone Saga” is an idea that’s time has come. We’re ready for it. Just as the goofy neon clothes of 1994 have worked their way back into relaxed hipster attire, so has Ben Reilly crept his way back into the collective fanboy and fangirl psyche.
We hate Ben Reilly, but we read Ben Reilly.
So yes, as awful as the “Clone Saga” was, it’s simply not something a younger generation of fans can completely turn its back on. Mephisto (and Marvel editorial) can erase a lot of things, but they can’t erase our inexplicable tolerance for poorly executed storylines.