When you think of this mini series, you tend to think that this is the jaunt back to Yesteryear, which makes this series good, but what if… there was something that happened here, in this issue, that never, EVER Happened in the Original Clone Saga? Allow me to Explain: Back in 1995, there was a character called Kaine, who in an attempt to help Peter Parker, at least in his twisted mind, killed Doc Ock in a bitter twist of fate when Ock had just saved Peter’s Life. (Web of Death ASM 397-398 and Spectacular Spider-Man 220-221) Ben DID fight a Doc Ock, the female version, Several Times in the Clone Era, Mostly in the Scarlet Spider-era. Although Ben did fight her in his Spider-Suit Spec 232. So there is a little history lesson for you.
Also note: This review is late. It’s my fault and I’m to blame. Brad has beat it over the head to get this out, and I’ll be sure to get Issue 5′s review out much more timely. Thanks to all who’ve read these reviews so far!
Spider-Man: Clone Saga #4
Story: Tom DeFalco & Howard Mackie
Art: Todd Nauck
Editor: Ralph Macchio (No, not the kid who played in the Karate Kid)
STORY: Ben Reilly and Doc Ock are going at it. No not Fema-Ock, it’s Otto and Ben, in his Spider-Suit. Kaine is working with Ock, Ock wants all the Jackal’s notes, Ben prevents history from repeating itself, and Kaine gets away from Ock revealing that Harry wants to ressurect Stormin’ Norman Osborn.
THOUGHTS: With the reveal of Osborn as the guy in the pod, this creates new questions. In a series that bills itself as “What would’ve happened” these seems like they’ve taken the elements of the original, mixed in it a different order, and this is the final product. Is it good? I believe so. Reading closely into what Mackie said, this timeline of the original plans was very basic and had a very small amount of detail. With that being said, you have to assume that the Norman element wasn’t thought of originally, but I could certainly see the Harry Element being heavy in play. Remember, Harry had driven Peter to the brink at least six months before the Clone Saga ended with the ‘Parents are Robots’ storyline. (Also known as Lifetheft ASM 388) So it doesn’t really bother me that this storyline involves Norman as he ended up being the most important player in all of this. Kaine’s alliance with Harry is interesting but it also makes sense given his original intent of being a Mercenary for Hire. His job: Elimiate all the loose ends for Harry, so that his plan can come into fruition. Kaine, who was going to break the neck of Ock and then applying the Mark of Kaine, is very reminiscent of what happened in Web of Death, only this time Ben Saves Ock and then says in his best Tobey Maguire tone, ‘I’m Spider-Man.’
The Best part was Ben’s self doubt, and how Doc and Peter’s battle elevolved over the 5 years out of action
that Ben had not been Spidey (in his mind). Another good thing was that we’re not beat over the head with the “I’m the Clone, maybe I’m not.” that beat you over the head each and every issue after Peter and Ben played Wife Swap. (Or in his case, Spidey-Swap)
One of the only things that Bugged me was the Web Print on Ben’s Suit. While it’s simular to the actual design in the comics, I prefer the web design of Spider-Girl. Maybe you don’t, but that’s just me. Otherwise, the wonderful touches to the artwork, such as MJ’s shorter hair ala the late Mike ‘Ringo/Todd Dezago’s days on Sensational Spider-Man, Ock’s Business Suit sleeker 90s look, and the Homage to Spider-Man Lost Years with the mention of Elizabeth Tyne, you have a lot of nuggets of goodness on the artwork.
Tom and Howard pack A LOT into this issue, but it doesn’t seem as Dense as the previous. In that reguard, we’re down the the final straightaway down this jaunt into yesteryear. As such, I must give my final grade in this issue, and it would have to be:
4 out of 5.