Hello again folks, it’s your resident Clone-Expert back again with a review that I, myself have been dying to review for over 10 years. 10! Because on THIS April Fool’s Day, I purchased the first in a series of Trades that I’ve been wanting in my possession for a long long time. Let’s take a trip back to 2006 (Or Twenty oh-six if you will), back when I was just another snot-nosed kid who had just graduated High Skrool, and was embarking on the rest of my life. For in August of that year, The Immortal one, Brad Douglas approached me (And Kevin Cushing, the great man he is) about doing a podcast. I would be the representative of the Clone-Heads, he would be the man of the 80s, and Kevin would be… Kevin. (Or the JMS-man that he is) Even on those early episodes, Brad and myself mentioned something about the Clone Saga Trade Paperbacks, what would it look like? How many would it take? What about all those Minis? From episode 1 this was the story that we repeated on and off for what will be soon 100 episodes.
Well Friends, I have gazed upon the future, and it looks AWESOME.
Spider-Man:The Complete Clone Saga Epic 1
Writers: Tom DeFalco, JM DeMatteis, Todd DeZago, Terry Kavanagh, Mike Lackey, Tom Lyle, and Howard Mackie
Artists: Mark Bagley, Sal Buscema, Steven Butler, Phil Gosier, Ron Lim, Tom Lyle, John Romita Jr, Alex Saviuk, and Lim Sharp
Editors: Mark Bernardo, Eric Fein, Danny Fingeroth, Sarra Mossoff, and Mark Powers.
1994 Spoilers ahead!
It’s somewhat difficult to talk about a trade, but consider friends what this trade entails:
Birth of a Spider-Man: (The Backup to Power and Responsibility)
LOST YEARS: 0-3
This is the backup that caught up all that there was to know about the 70s storyline that inspired this Saga. Only this time, we saw it through the Clone’s eyes. Powerful stuff indeed by DeMatteis on this one, but it gets into the head of Ben at this time.
Right after that storyline, we get The Parker Legacy a three part backup that ran the month of Amazing 400. (Or Episode 10 of Clone Saga Chronicles! /PLUG) It takes place RIGHT after the events of Birth of a Spider-Man.
Now let’s be honest, Lost Years is the quintessential Ben Reilly story. The above two stories were collected into Lost Years #0, and released shortly before Lost Years #1. In this trade we jump into Lost Years head first, and run through those three issues.
Before getting a Re-Cap Page and about 35 pages of setup before the big-reveal: Ben and Peter on the rooftop, which of course leads DIRECTLY to..
Power and Responsibility
…Power and Responsibility was the first storyline to feature Ben and Peter in over 245 issues, while I won’t go into Spoilers, Peter and Ben fight the Traveller, a very 90s villain who is seen sporadically in the Clone Saga til about issue 402, where he’s not seen until 410, where he’s swept under the rug, likely never to be seen again. (For good reason.)
The Exile Returns
After that we get our first Ben Reilly story in the ‘present’ (at this time in history, 1994) as the wait for it… SCARLET SPIDER! The Exile Returns Ran from Web 118-119 and through Spider-Man 52-53, where Ben Battles and wait… BEATS Venom. It’s also in this story we get the first appearances of Kaine (Someone who you are familiar with by the time you get to his appearances thanks to Lost Years.). Our Trade then ends with A Cover Gallery of the Foil-enhanced Power and Responsibility, Ashley Kafka’s notes on Carnage and the Chameleon, (Who are featured in that story) Covers to the Lost Years Trade and Issue 0, and a reprinting of the Lost Years Trade introduction from JM DeMatteis in June of 1996.
Wow. Just Wow. I’ll be honest, I had been meaning to order this thing for MONTHS. But I didn’t, and Well, it snuck up on me. But upon walking into my Comic Shop this afternoon, I saw this sitting on the counter, waiting for me to buy, and like the impulse buys of Old, I plopped down 34.99 for this thing. Was it worth it?
You better effing believe it.
Finally, a trade that Clone fans DESERVED. This wait we had? It wasn’t for naught. This thing is JAM PACKED. 35 pages of back-ups that led to Power and Responsibility, Lost Years, collected where it belonged. Birth of a Spider-Man, and Exiled Returns… all so much good.
There was an Issue I forgot to mention.
Spider-Man Unlimited #7.
Tom Lyle not drawing, but writing. Was it bad? Sure. But it was placed where it occured in Continuity, between the Venom Battles.
The attention to detail is what impressed me with this book, from having the covers (And in Lost Year’s Case, the Back covers too) in between each issue, to the ‘Foil-Enhanced’ Covers in the back this thing is full of goodies. The Cherry topper was the Introduction in the last two pages, which gave ya some insight into what happened behind the scenes.
Add to all this being in a Beautiful cover, I can’t help but recommend to you, dear reader, the Spider-Man: Complete Clone Saga #1. On sale now.
5 out of 5 Webheads.
Wait, you’re still here? How about a theory about what happens Next:
Here’s the Solit for the next trade:
Villains die and debut in the nineties’ pivotal Spider-saga! Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider are both fighting crime, and there’s plenty to go around when the Jackal arises – with more clones in the wings! But following a team-up with Daredevil – who’s having an identity crisis of his own – Spidey faces a fate that could wrap up his web-slinging days forever! The answer may come down to one of Spider-Man’s deadliest enemies – but what price will he pay for it, and what prize will he leave behind? Plus: Mary Jane’s revelation! Aerial crime warfare, terrorism and a funeral for a fiend! Guest-starring Kaine, Puma and the enigmatic Nocturne! Collects Amazing Spider-Man (1962) #395-399, Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #218-221, Spider-Man (1990) #54-56, Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #8, Web of Spider-Man #120-122, and Spider-Man: Funeral for an Octopus #1-3.
Okay got all that? Good Now here’s my working Theory on how the next trades will run:
Book 3 will Feature ASM 400-402, Spectacular 222-225, Spider-Man 56-59, Unlimted 9, Web 122-125.
Book 4 Will feature: ASM 403-405 Spectacular 226-229, Spider-Man 60-63, Unlimited 10, Web 126-129. (Possibly Spider-Man: The Final Adventure)
Book 5 Will Feature Scarlet Spider 1-2, ASS 1-2, SSS 1-2, Web of Scarlet 1-4, Sensational Spider-Man #0, ASM 406,Spec 230, Spider-Man #64, Unlimited #11. And Spider-Man: Family Ties (Two parter with Punisher)
Book 6 will be ASM 407-412, SEN # 1-5, SPEC # 231-234, Spider-Man 65-69. Unlimted 12
Book 7 will be: ASM 413-415, Sensational 5-8, Spec 235-238, Spider-Man 70-73. Unlimted 13
Book 8 Will be ASM 416-418 Sensational 9-11, Spec 239-240, Spider-Man 74-75 Unlimted 14 with Spider-Man Redemption, and Osborn Journal.
I COULD be wrong. But I don’t think I am.