Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 4

spider-man the complete clone saga book 4 cover trade paperback tpb
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10

Not as bad as when it was new

Pushed readers' loyalty and too long and drawn out

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 1)/New Warriors (Volume 1)/Spectacular Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Spider-Man:  The Jackal Files/Spider-Man:  Maximum Clonage—Alpha/Spider-Man:  Maximum Clonage—Omega

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer:  Tom DeFalco/J.M. DeMatteis/Todd Zago/Terry Kavanagh/Mike Lackey/Tom Lyle/Howard Mackie/Evan Skolnick

Artist:  Mark Bagley/Michael Blair/Eliot R. Brown/Robert Brown/Mark Buckingham/Roy Burdine/Sal Buscema/Steven Butler/Guy Dorian/Dan Lawlis/Ron Lim/Tom Lyle/Pat Olliffe/George Perez/Jordan Raskin/Roger Robinson/Joe St. Pierre/Liam Sharp/Tod Smith/Patrick Zircher

# of Issues: 13

Release Date: 2017

spectacular spider-man #226 cover clone reveal

Spectacular Spider-Man (1) #226

Reprints Amazing Spider-Man (1) #402-404, New Warriors (1) #61, Spectacular Spider-Man (1) #225-227, Spider-Man (1) #59-61, Spider-Man:  The Jackal Files #1, Spider-Man:  Maximum Clonage—Alpha #1, and Spider-Man:  Maximum Clonage—Omega #1 (June 1995-August 1995).  With the arrival of a new Green Goblin and continued problems with clones popping up around him, Peter Parker finds himself posing as the Scarlet Spider as Ben Reilly faces a murder charge as Peter Parker.  Peter must find a way to save “himself” from the charges without exposing his secret identity as Mary Jane worries that Peter’s genetic mutation from being Spider-Man could hurt their unborn child.  Meanwhile, Seward Trainer has been researching the clones, and his discovery could change everything for Peter, Ben, and Mary Jane.

Written by Tom DeFalco, J.M. DeMatteis, Todd Zago, Terry Kavanagh, Mike Lackey, Tom Lyle, Howard Mackie, and Evan Skolnick, Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 4 is the penultimate collection of the Marvel Comics event series.  Following Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 3, the series features art by Mark Bagley, Michael Blair, Eliot R. Brown, Robert Brown, Mark Buckingham, Roy Burdine, Sal Buscema, Steven Butler, Guy Dorian, Dan Lawlis, Ron Lim, Tom Lyle, Pat Olliffe, George Perez, Jordan Raskin, Roger Robinson, Joe St. Pierre, Liam Sharp, Tod Smith, and Patrick Zircher.  Issues in this collection were also collected as part of Spider-Man:  The Clone Saga Omnibus—Volume 2.

The Clone Saga was an extremely divisive Marvel event.  Many cite this series as a series that turned them off Spider-Man, but some also are big fans of some of the characters like Scarlet Spider who were introduced in this series (and later went on to other series once much of the criticism died down).  This collection features the big reveal and “once and for all” tells who the clone is…for now.

The collection is divided into a few smaller series, and it also serves as an introduction to Phil Urich who became the Green Goblin for his own series and later a nemesis of Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  The Judas Traveller character gets his showdown with Spider-Man in the two part “Crossfire” and “The Trial of Peter Parker” wraps up the accidental framing of Peter Parker by his admirer clone Kaine.  In the context of the Clone Saga they aren’t that bad, but if you were already bogged down and done with clones by this point, you might not care.

spider-man maximum clonage omega #1 cover review

Spider-Man: Maximum Clonage—Omega #1

The premiere part of this collection is “Maximum Clonage” which the Clone Saga was really building to.  The six part series was bookended by premium (read that as 1990s foil cover) comics Maximum Clonage:  Alpha and Maximum Clonage:  Omega.  This deals with the ramifications of the big reveal of Spectacular Spider-Man (1) #226 (July 1995) which revealed the Peter Parker that had been known and loved by readers since Amazing Spider-Man (1) #149 (October 1975) was actually the clone.  It was very soap opera and infuriating since that meant everything (including his marriage to Mary Jane) wasn’t actually Spider-Man…just some genetic creation.  It didn’t go over well and the “Maximum Clonage” storyline is even more insulting with Peter siding with the Jackal and turning on Mary Jane.  It just isn’t good.

I will say rereading these issues in the post Clone Saga isn’t as jarring as reading them the first time.  You know that Peter Parker will be restored as the rightful Spider-Man (primarily from the backlash), and the story is more tight and concise as a collection than the sprawling, multi-title monster that it was in the 1990s.  The storyline bloomed out of proportion and reminds me a bit of how Twin Peaks dragged on the Laura Palmer storyline beyond viewers’ will to follow.  Was that the wrong decision or an underestimation of the readers?  Regardless, the Clone Saga was a controversy and this collection gets a lot of the wrath.  Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 4 was followed by Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 5 which wrapped up the storyline at that point.

Related Links:

Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 2

Spider-Man:  The Complete Clone Saga Epic—Book 5

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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