It pains me to write this review, as the series that I’ve enjoyed every single issue of has come to an end. In my hands I hold the final issue, chapter really of Spider-Man’s Clone Saga as it was originally intended… well, sort of.
You see, the original outline was really bare bones, but it gave Tom and Howard a direction to go. To quickly recap: The mastermind kidnapped Baby May, sent a Norman Osborn after Ben (With our really big splash page last issue) Pretty much that’s all you need to know coming into this issue.
SPIDER-MAN: CLONE SAGA #6 [OF 6]
WRITERS: Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie
ART: Todd Nauck
INKS: Victor Tartaglia (With colors by: Javier Tartaglia)
EDITOR: Ralph Macchio
STORY: Ben and Mastermind (AKA Harry like I called in Clone Saga Chronciles when I reviewed Issue 3) duke it out, abiet one-sidely. MJ and May talk while Norman and Kaine (both clones) look at May.[the little one] Harry gets Peter to finally come to Oscorp. A short battle ensues while Norman and Kaine talk about Family. Norman interrupts the show, and starts fighting Harry. Kaine delivers the package to May and MJ, While Peter and Ben help Norman.* That damn button that Norman pushed in Peter Parker Spider-Man #75 comes into play and stabs Stormin’ Norman. He distengerates, with Harry vowing to Win. Ben rides off into the sunset, while Kaine informs MJ that ‘Kaine will never trouble them again.’
THOUGHTS: All and all, a very nice way to wrap up the story. Let’s start with the good, because while I enjoyed reading the book, there was a thing that bugged me, which I’ll explain in a bit. First off though, MEGA KUDOS to Tom, Howard, and Todd. You guys could do little wrong in my book. The coloring was also very well done and everything lept off the pages. I loved the fact that while the major splash page from last issue seemed to me to indicate that Ben was going to die, he didn’t. I loved the Harry reveal, and it fit in perfectly with the madness that occured during the Spectacular Spider-Man 189-200 era. (Ending with his ‘death’, where his madness subsided. Some might call when this series did a cop-out to a fantastic finish to that story, Harry’s moment of sanity was the only time that Harry had a rational thought the entire time. His madness is what drove him to want to destory Peter, but to make him pay for what he did to his father. Liz, his wife when he died wouldn’t have been able to contain the sanity, hense why Harry was in the shadows all this time, away from everyone. Without anyone to reach out to, the Best Friend Harry faded into the Green Goblin Harry during what would’ve been a whole year in isolation. Another thing: It made more sense for Harry to return via healing factor due to his adjustments that he made to the formula, which made everyone think he was dead. (Someone explained this alot better, I’m looking at you, Kevin.)Despite that, they don’t go into long explainations due to the fact there simply weren’t enough pages to warrant it,just accept the fact that Harry is alive. In this issue we get into Kaine and Ben are at odds. But unlike the explaination that is given in the original series, it here that we start to see Kaine’s Humanity start to shine through, and that’s why I’m confortable with Kaine returning May, because that’s the story that Tom wanted to tell and it showed.
Now, onto a point that I think will make people hate this final part. Norman is the one who saves Peter, but moreover, tries to convince Harry to stop the violence. While it did bug me, I had to ponder why would Tom DeFlaco who is the one person outside of JR Fettinger that knows more about Spider-Man than anyone else, write Norman that way?
It’s quite simple: we never see Norman exposed to the chemicals. While he has all the memories of Norman, he didn’t have the madness caused the his exposure. Plus as a parent, everyone wants what they think is Best. And frankly, its a side of Norman we never see. He’s a proud man, and he mans and takes responability for his son. And as if to not make this story any more like the original climax, “Norman” is impaled by the spikes like Ben did.
One of the best parts about this series is the Banter, and the Lines: “I…I can see how someone can grow to hate this CLONE THING. It never seems to end.” And “Didn’t see THAT coming.” when Norman attacked Harry warranted a chuckle.
But My only complaint is that I felt that Tom was getting a little ‘preachy’ at me with Norman, and that’s kinda rubbed me wrong. I’ve gotten used to it, but sometimes it’s a little over the top, and this got a bit close.
Remember when Tom and Howard said that this could lanuch an ongoing? It could. The ending was wayy open for someone to pick up the reigns and take the saddle with the further adventures of Ben Reilly.
Issue Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Series Rating: 4.75 out of 5
BE SURE TO PICK THIS UP IN TRADE OR HARDCOVER!!
Excelsior guys, I’m off til Spectacular Spider-Girl comes back!
Special Thanks to Brad Douglas for letting me review this series. Also thanks to Howard for commenting on the first issue. (And everyone else for that matter!)