Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #22


Fresh off the pages of Clone Conspiracy, it’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the super secret past of Ben “the Jackal” Reilly. Peter Parker is given the chance to bring Uncle Ben back to life.  All this and more! Plus a really freaky cereal picture and an elephant!

 

The Devil in the Details

Story Title: Seeing Red

Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage

Penciler: Guiseppe Camuncoli

Inker: Cam Smith

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: December 21, 2016

 

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

We are picking this up exactly where the last Clone Conspiracy issue left off, with the Man in Red (supposedly Ben Reilly) reveals himself and his plans to reanimate Uncle Ben.  Peter gives him the same response the readers had:

And then come the flashbacks…  To think, for a half of a tenth of a second I thought we might actually get a real story in Spider-Man’s main title.

Flashbacks, smashbacks, double bashbacks. I hate flashbacks!

We get flashbacks of Peter Parker’s career.  We get 13 panels that summarize the entire clone saga (both the ‘70s and ‘90s) which was still about 8 too many for my tastes.

Then we get the flashbacks of what happened to Ben Reilly once he turned into flour. It seems Miles Warren, the real one (or at least real looking one instead of the furry ‘90s Jackal), collected some clone dust (sounds like the next new street drug) and develops his reanimation process, curiously calling the results clones rather than reanimates.  In order to refine the process, he continually kills Ben Reilly.  He kills him so many times (27) that Ben goes crazy and finally breaks free and takes over the process himself.  He then convinces Peter that giving Uncle Ben a second chance may be worth a shot.

What Passed:

Since I never enjoyed the ‘90s clone saga, it was nice to see Ben Reilly electrocuted, drowned, frozen, steamed, injected with diseases (was that small pox?), and burned (then told he was also poisoned, vivisected (dissected while alive), and killed via sonics).  However, I thought this panel of Ben getting killed because an elephant was smashing his head in may have gone a tad bit too far.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Ben Reilly – actually looking forward to the potential Ben Reilly comic by Peter David – it just felt like delayed satisfaction from my 90s self that stopped collecting comics because of this awful story line.

The explanation for why Ben Reilly is acting out of character is acceptable to me.  I don’t like Ben Reilly acting out of character, but I imagine being turned into flour, vivisected, and all the other goodies could drive someone out of their mind.  I also try to remember something that Peter David said either in his Writing for Graphic Novels or on one of his interviews on this podcast – real people don’t always act in character.  Things happen and we do things that surprise even ourselves.

OOTI – Sorry, Evan, there are only two onomatopoeias this issue and neither of them is up to your standards.

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

What Failed:

Well, this is, once again, a back-up story.  Something to be found in a side book, not the main title.  I get that they tried something new with making Clone Conspiracies the main title, but it still just irritates me.  On top of that, I’m paying full price for a flashback issue of a character that is very much like, but not quite, the character I want to read.  It’s like paying full price for King Vitamin when you were hoping for Captain Crunch.

And since it’s a clone story, finding out you really got Sugar Krinkles instead.

While I said that I found the reason why Ben goes down this path acceptable, I still don’t think it was the best path to take this character.  Even if he thinks he is doing the right thing, Peter KNOWS what will happen. Why would he even consider it?  No wonder Kaine thinks Peter’s a cotton-headed-niggy-muggins.

Analysis:

So what does this do for us?  Pretty much nothing.  We figured Ben must be either (a) crazy from his ordeal, or (b) really Miles Warren in a Ben Reilly body.  So now we know.

The only way any of this works from Peter’s perspective is if he is setting Ben up to take him down.  He knows this will, in all probability, go bad and bring down the zombie clone apocalypse, so why even go down that road?  Then again, this is a character that made a deal with the devil, so why wouldn’t he.

I miss ‘80s Spider-Man. Oh for the days when you could just send Kingpin to his death in outer space and still enjoy Christmas Eve…

Extra Credit:

This comic is so just there, that I really have nothing from it.  However, here’s a Christmas related question – what the heck is this and where would one put it?

Come on, Crawlspacers, this is a legit question.  Put on your white-trimmed red thinking caps and figure this one out.

Final Grade:

A back up story that gives a meh reason for Ben’s out of character actions that doesn’t, as JR puts it, offend.

D+

I might could have gone to a C- if they had shown the vivisection.

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

What’s Next?

I don’t get the cover of this next issue.  She already knows.  Why is this the lead off picture?  I am assuming that from the last few covers that Alex Ross has just stopped reading the story at around issue #6.

 

‘Nuff Said! 

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(7) Comments

  1. Evan

    Mark, sorry I'm late getting to read your review -- but the holidays are over and life can resume. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that all your students are happy to be back! Now to catch up on all the Crawlspace I missed! Your writing that your 90s self would have been happy with those Reilly death panels reminded me of that time, after having stopped reading Spider-man during the Clone Saga for the same reason, I happened to see the cover of Peter Parker Spider-man #75 with Peter holding a broken and beaten Ben and thought, "Hey, does this mean the Clone Saga is over?" and I happily took the book to the counter and bought it. I bet I was as happy as the elephant in that picture. Look at him smile! It seems to me that if this is actually Ben Reilly, then Dan Slott has now nullified all of the beauty in his sacrificing himself to save Peter in the issue mentioned above. The only other possibility to explain his behavior is, of course, crack cocaine. Thanks to you, I'm going to have nightmares about the Sugar Krinkles clown tonight! (Glad I waited until after Christmas to read this!) And you know he's a dignified clown because he eats with his pinky sticking out like that. If you're curious, here is a link to the original commercial. You've been warned: https://youtu.be/FDWXGcsMTHw "Tap tap" is all we get? Aw, well, at least it's pronounceable, right?

  2. Enigma_2099

    This is the Peter Parker who gave his marriage to Mephisto to save his aunt, despite her ALWAYS CHEATING DEATH... being written by a writer who would rather write about other characters in his book. And do it rather half-a**ed and brokenly just to get whatever narrative he's forcing to work. Round hole, square peg. ... of course he'll say yes.

  3. ghostlx

    What the heck is that? That is a "caganer" its a spanish tradition for a kind of Christmas decoration called "pessebre".... Read more here on wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caganer ...There is a caganer for every popular character. Its clearly that this Ben Reilly its messed up after so many deaths and not the same, so I don't think that Peter is really its going to join him.

  4. Victor

    I've been keeping a healthy distance from the title for a few years now and this is the first issue of Amazing I've picked up with Camuncoli's art. So here's my question: was his art this bad for the whole run? Because man, that's an ugly comic to read!

  5. Frontier

    At this point in his life, would Peter really want to bring back Uncle Ben? Especially as another clone? I mean, his wife's moved on and remarried, Peter's in his own way has moved on...is there really a need to bring back Uncle Ben? Would that really be so tempting for Peter?

  6. Jack Brooks

    To reiterate Stillanerd's big complaint: this ISN'T Ben Reilly. It's a 27th Xerox. Just like it isn't Gwen, or George Stacy, or Marla. This is a problem with the materialistic philosophy -- Slott seemingly believes human beings are nothing more than chemicals. But if that's true, then none of us have value. So this isn't Ben Reilly. It's a mentally shattered simulacrum. It's more like Ragnarok, the insane Thor-clone from Civil War I. So why would Peter listen to it?

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