Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #21

asm21-coverWant to know what’s next in the exciting Clone Conspiracy Saga? Well, you’ll have to wait until Clone Conspiracy #3 comes out. In the meantime, you can pick up Spidey’s MAIN title and get a long backup story that doesn’t feature Spider-Man AT ALL (unless you count the cover).

The Devil in the Details

Story Title: Live Another Day

Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage

Penciler: Guiseppe Camuncoli

Inker: Cam Smith and Roberto Poggi

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: November 16, 2016


The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

Kaine bursts out of the Other and proceeds to help the Master Weaver figure out why some worlds are becoming zombified. Along the way, he runs into Spider-Gwen (sorry, Radioactive Spider-Gwen) and, despite his best efforts to shoo her away, they team up. It turns out the zombies are a form of the carrion virus that is raging out of control. After arriving on an alternate world where they see Miles Warren (sans Jackal mask and stubble) and Peter Parker working together to stop the zombies that they created, all hell breaks loose and Kaine and Spider-Gwen manage to get out of there with Peter’s notes and a degenerated Kaine. After Kaine uses his super science power, he deduces that he is not contagious, so next stop is 616 where they kidnap Gwen Stacy and substitute Spider-Gwen in her place.


What Passed:

Kaine is in this book. I like how he didn’t try to save the alternate Peter Parker, but did snag his notes.

This one panel of Gwen was O.K. (even if she does suffer from Camuncoli-face):


There are some good onomatopoeias, including this Onomatopoeia of the Issue (OOTI)!


On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates a 7.

What Failed:

spideycomicOnce again, the MAIN TITLE is relegated to backup stories. This issue tells how Kaine came back, but it really feels as if it should be in some side event title like Clone Conspiracy Chronicles or even as a backup story in Clone Conspiracy #2. To be accurate, I said earlier that Spider-Man does not appear in this comic at all, but actually there is one panel. It is a flashback and you see Spider-Man from the back and since it is from Spider-Verse, it may or may not actually be 616 Spider-Man.

Camuncoli does a good job placing the PI symbol in the panels where Kaine is looking for the commonality between these zombie worlds, but since we already know what this is about, the effect is ruined.

asm21-crayolaCamuncoli may have done his job, but we do have some off work from the other artists. Granted, it is not nearly as bad as Amazing Grace, but if the bar is only to beat that horrible mess… The colors in this book are dark and dingy. Kaine’s face is an odd color that I do not think exists in Crayola’s box of flesh colors.

And I think the inker may have just skipped a few lines. Look at Kaine’s face when he tells Gwen that if she touches him, this will happen to her versus a panel of his face later in the story.


Of course, it may just be that he is degenerating throughout this issue, but when he pulls his mask off to horrify her, I don’t really see the issue, other than his coloring. It seems as if the inker just forgot those lines (much like McFarlane’s inker tried to do for his own sanity).

Then let’s go the whole Carrion/zombie thing. Maybe I missed it in the Clone Saga (and I’m not going back into that quagmire to find out), but my understanding is that when a clone degenerates, it turns into goo. Not a zombie that can infect others. However, I must admit my knowledge of Carrion is a bit lacking.

Speaking of Carrion, he appears on the cover and does not appear in the book. For that matter, neither does that building full of people.  Does anyone actually tell Alex Ross what the story is about, or is he just winging it hoping that he’s close?

I’m also going to call on you, dear reader, to set me straight if I am wrong, but my understanding of Kaine is that he does NOT have Parker’s memories. If that is the case, how is he so good at science? My theory is that somehow the reanimation process somehow grants people super science knowledge, which would also explain why Martha Connors is now a scientist. Plus, he looks very uncomfortable around Spider-Gwen, but he should have no real feelings for her. This picture may just be that she took him off guard, but it sure seems to me that it really unnerves him.



This issue seeks to fill in gaps created by the latest issue of Clone Conspiracy. To that end it does. Here is what we find out in this issue that we didn’t already know:

  • Whatever the Man in Red is doing, when combined with Parker Industries it goes viral (in a bad way, of course).
  • In one world, Peter is working with a person who is clearly plain old Miles Warren. This implies that the Man in Red is indeed some form of Miles Warren.
  • The Other is dead.
  • Kaine will not survive this story arc.

That’s about it.


Extra Credit:

I’ll give out all the extra credit I’ve got for anyone who can tell me why Daniele Orlandini keeps getting special thanks credit on the title page.


Final Grade:

If this were a backup story or even Web of Spider-Man issue, I might be willing to give it a C, but this is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. When I pay $$ for a Spider-Man story, I would really appreciate a Spider-Man story. If you are not going put Spider-Man in my Spider-Man story, it better be a fantastic story. This just does not deliver.



Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?


What’s Next?



‘Nuff Said!

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(10) Comments

  1. Jason

    I thought the issue was terrible. It seemed to come out of left field. The people brought back to life end up dying and becoming zombies? *Yawn* The whole zombie thing has been played out since Marvel Zombies. Zombies are all over TV. BORING.P.S. Still not getting e-mails when a new entry is made on the Web Site. I used to get them all the time. What changed?

  2. Fabio

    Hi Mark! Don't worry about my comment caught in limbo. Those things always happen on Internet. About the Scarlet Spider, yes, I read the entire series and I loved it. I think the series had a great supporting cast and I really liked the chemistry between Kaine and Aracely as a brother who cares for his sister. It's a shame they canceled it but we all know how the comic industry works. The good series do not always sell enough to keep going. Greetings and thanks for the response!

  3. Mark Alford - Post author

    @ Zach - Ha! Did you think Carrion was going to be in this issue just because he was featured prominently on the cover? Silly Zach!@ Evan - Thanks! You're right - Peter is a jerk to Kaine and after Spock treated him so jerkily, I don't blame Kaine for not bringing Peter in on this. Breaking news - Kaine is going to die and apparently the sun will rise in the morning. More from the Fact Channel as news breaks! Plus, say what you want to about other aspects of Slott's writing, but the man can crank out some onomatopoeias!@ Fabio - Thanks for the kind words! You are so right about Kaine's degeneration being healed in Spider-Verse. I had forgotten all about that (so much for being "very smart"). I wouldn't count on Kaine's death being worthy of this character, but who knows. I guess it depends on which title it happens in. If he's worthy to die in _Clone Conspiracy_ then it might be memorable. If it happens in ASM, well.... But never fear! We'll cover it either way and chances are that Kaine won't stay dead too long. :) Did you read the Scarlet Spider series that featured Kaine a while back? I started it and really enjoyed it. I can't remember why I stopped picking it up. By the way, you comment got caught in limbo (where mine have been lately). I pulled it out. I hope you didn't think you'd been blocked or something.@ Will - I was going to put the baseball cap in the extra credit, but, well, I didn't. Obviously. I thought it was a nice nod as well.@DPFW - Thanks for the clarification. I didn't think he had the memories and I did a quick Google search and saw an artist interview that confirmed that, but after you wrote your post, I did a more thorough search and found other sites that confirm what you said too. You're probably right. I was not a fan of the clone story line in the '90s. so I'll yield to your expertise. I'm going to count on you to keep me straight on Kaine for the rest of this series.

  4. DPFW

    With regard to your question about Kaine's scientific ability, I always assumed he was as adept as Peter. I haven't been able to find any in-story evidence proving this, but here's why I always thought so....Kaine and Ben (Reilly) are both clones of Peter. They both have all of the memories of Peter up until the point that the DNA was taken by Miles to make the clone (i.e. that time when Peter was in college). Ben clearly has scientific knowledge (he makes his own webbing, and even makes advances, such as impact webbing and the stingers). Therefore, Ben and Kaine should really be alike in what they know (memories, scientific ability, etc.). The only thing you could argue is that the clone degeneration could have robbed Kaine of his intellect, but since that's never been stated in the books it's just as easy to say that that's not the case.

  5. Evan

    Thanks, Will -- Strange that I don't remember his use of the last name -- I guess I'm stuck thinking of Kaine as how he originally appeared in the Clone Saga: more of a scarred monster villain type than as a part of Peter's family.

  6. Will

    That second image of Kaine where he is putting on a ballcap, the logo on the cap is one of the Houston Astros logos. Nice little nod to his time he spent in Houston during his own series...

  7. Fabio

    Hi guys! I'm from Argentina and I have been following this site for some time. Crawlspace is one of my favorite Spider-Man sites. Mark, I really like your reviews. They are very smart and funny. About Amazing Spider-Man #21, I feel very disappointed with this comic. Especially with the retcon of Kaine disease. Kaine's disease was not healed by "The Other". It's cellular degeneration was cured when he fell in a tank with a concentration of Anti-Venom's symbiote in the Spider Island story arc. This caught my attention, because it's as if Dan Slott did not remember the stories he writes, and bothered me a lot because Kaine is one of my favorite characters. I just hope that Kaine does not die, and if he dies I hope he does it in a dignified way for a great character like him.

  8. Evan

    Excellent review (and onomatopoeia!) -- My initial thoughts were these: Since when does Kaine refer to himself as "Kaine Parker?" Has that ever happened before? Incidentally, I remember a panel at the end of Spider-Island (I think when Peter was telling Kaine goodbye at the airport on his way to Houston), and he made some kind of clone reference that I found to be really distasteful coming from Peter, since they're essentially brothers. I think it mentioned Kaine's being made of radioactive goo or something like that. SPUCH! (That was also one of my signal #notmypeterparker moments.)My second thought was, "Wait, so Kaine is going to die at the end of this arc? Again? So what?"My favorite part of this whole review was the Crayola picture.

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