The Clone Saga running in the 1990s Spider-man books might still be one of the most controversial storylines in Marvel history. It probably is the most controversial storyline in Spider-man’s history. I will try here to briefly explain it. (Again.)
In the 1970s Spider-man’s enemy the Jackal created a clone of Spider-man and the two fought. The clone was defeated and it was assumed he died. There was a clone of Gwen Stacy involved too but she wandered off to start a new life.
In the 1990s it was revealed that the clone hadn’t died and he had gone off to find his place in the world as Ben Reilly (Ben in honor of uncle Ben and Reilly in honor of aunt May). Aunt May was dying and someone called Ben to let him know and Ben came back to New York to see her.
At this point Spider-Man was going through some rough points. The Peter Mary Jane marriage was unpopular or at least some of the powers that be thought it was. The idea was to replace Peter with Ben and then have Peter and Mary Jane walk away. Also there was a desire to create a story like the Death of Superman or Knightfall.
Well things got complicated. More clones appeared including Kaine but he was not revealed as a clone for a long time. The storyline proved popular and it kept expanding. (The marketing department had some, maybe too much, influence.) New villains came on the scene (even if a few didn’t seem to fit the Spider-man books) and some old villains were killed. The Gwen Stacy clone had to be dealt with. (There was a story between the clone sagas that needed to be addressed.) Ben replaced Peter. Aunt May died.
Ben replacing Peter was not popular, even with some of the writers. Also there was change in editorial staff and at least one of the editors wasn’t happy with Peter being replaced. It was decided to return Peter as Spider-man but finding the right way to do it wasn’t easy. (Also it was harder the longer the storyline went on.) So eventually Norman Osborn came back and was revealed to be the mastermind behind everything. Ben died and turned to dust, establishing/confirming that he was the clone. Aunt May never died, that was another plot by Norman Osborn. (I am not going to explain that.)
If you want to read more about the Clone Saga, there is a series called The Life of Reilly.
Ben Reilly is the Spider-man clone from the Clone Saga (well one of them anyway). Ben briefly replaced Peter Parker as Spider-man(it was complicated) and was the original Scarlet Spider. He is back again and has his own series written by Peter David and drawn by Mark Bagely.
Ben had a hard life (or lives) and maybe isn’t as heroic as he was once was. Or maybe he is really misguided. As his new series starts he has set up in Las Vegas. Kaine, another clone of Spider-man, makes an appearance. Ben and Kaine have a difficult relationship.
I have the first trade paperback of the new series and I think it is interesting. I am not sure what the long term plans are but I am interested in seeing where it goes. Bagely remains a very good artist. There are some interesting new characters introduced too.
The original Nova Richard Rider will return sometime next year. That is nice. I won’t say I really missed him but I am happy he’s coming back.
I don’t even dislike the young Nova Sam Alexander. Sam is not going anywhere. (That is good, people like Sam.) I might know him better from the Ultimate Spider-man cartoon than the comics.
It will be nice to see the original Nova again. He is from the 1970s and is a long time New Warrior. Details on Richard Rider’s comeback are vague, for now. He and Sam will share a book.
Superman Secret Identity is a classic mini-series by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Stuart Immomen. It has been recollected in a hardback edition. This is the story of a young man named Clark Kent who grows up in a world where Superman is a fictional character.
Clark is a normal person until one day he gets superpowers. He becomes Superman and works for the government in secret. This is the story of Clark’s life. It is interesting and a fun read. It is not action packed and it is not an epic.
Busiek is long time writer and he is best known for his work on Astro City (his creator owned series), Avengers, and Iron Man. He and Immonen also worked together on Shock Rockets, a science fiction series.
Immonen is known for his on Next Wave, Avengers, Legion of Super-Heroes, and All New X-Men. He is a good artist. I think he has co-written projects with his wife Kathryn Immonen.
Legends was the sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. In this story Darkside decides he wants to destroy the heroic ideal. He is opposed by various heroes including Superman, Batman, the Blue Beetle, and the new Flash (Wally West).
John Ostrander co-wrote it and it was his first work for DC comics. He went on to write Suicide Squad, Firestorm, and Manhunter among other titles. He is known for writing Star Wars comics and for his series Grimjack.
John Byrne drew it. He is a great artist, perhaps as great as George Perez or John Romita Jr. Bryne is known for art on numerous titles including His art was very good. Byrne has worked on Avengers, X-men, the Fantastic Four, Superman, and other titles some as a writer and artist.
Highlights of the series include
- the formation of the Suicide Squad
- Wally West assuming the role of the Flash
- Wonder Woman meeting other Superheros for the first time post-Crisis
- Dr. Fate gathering a new Justice League
I am glad I bought it. It features an essay by editor Mike Gold. He was the editor of the original series.
Rising Stars was a comic by J. Michael Straczynski. It was about a group of people born in a small town who developed special powers. They were the only super humans or specials in this world.
Some of these specials are being murdered and when each one dies, the rest get more powerful. There were about one hundred and thirteen of these specials. One special named Poet is investigating.
It has been too long since I read it. I remember it being good. I don’t remember if I read the whole series.
How this comic translates into a movie will be interesting to see. That is if the movie gets made, a lot of books or comics get optioned for movies. Not all books or comics optioned for movies get made into movies.
Wally West is back. The original Wally West is back in DC Rebirth. (Yes. I am happy.) He is getting a new costume and it looks good.
The new Wally West will join a new version of the Teen Titans. That could be good. Maybe he can develop in that role.
Rebirth is a way for DC to reach to readers who have stopped reading the books in the last few years. It is also a way to re-establish legacy/history, which has been lost. I hope it works out.
There is a new Quasar. I am okay with it. I think it would be nice to have the original Quasar in action. The new Quasar is a woman and she will appear in Captain America, I believe.
Speaking of Captain America, he is apparently an agent of Hydra now. This seems to make no sense but the story just started, so it is best to withhold judgement. Sometimes stories that seem to have a unlikely premise work out.