Zombies and clones and Gwens – Oh my! It’s everything you wanted to know about what happened with Gwen and Peter between panels in CC#4. If you’ve ever said, “Why are there so many fights in comics? Why doesn’t anyone ever talk to each other?”, then grab this issue!
This is a special STEREOPHONIC EDITION of the Alford Notes. Just play this video and let the music play softly in the background while you return to this tab and read the review.
The Devil in the Details
Story Title: “The Moment You Know”
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: January 19, 2017
Remedial ASM 101
Just to catch you up, here is what has happened:
The Jackal is back, but he claims to be a good guy and is bringing people back to life, especially, but not limited to, people that Peter blames himself for their death, so pretty much everyone he ever knew that died – everyone except Uncle Ben (but they do have his rotting corpse in a box in the back of the car). Turns out the Jackal is not Miles Warren, but instead Ben Reilly back from the dead (*gasp!*). He is trying to convince Peter to go along with him (more for his business resources than out of respect and love), but as Peter believes that these are all clones and the fact that he knows this is will all end in the zombie apocalypse if he does, he is a little hesitant to jump in. That pretty much sums it up so far.
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
At the new New U headquarters, Gwen tries to talk Peter into accepting this program as a good thing, but mostly she just tries to get him to accept her. Everything falls apart.
Who is this fantastic bad villain returned from the dead?
a. Mr. Hyde
e. Captain Power
Click the image to find the answer.
We see Peter and Gwen together again.
Peter doesn’t fall for Ben’s plans and Gwen’s emotional manipulations.
We get more depth to what is happening in the middle of Clone Conspiracy #4.
Slott does not bother rehashing the events of CC#4 and trusts that if we are this far into the story, we know what is happening.
On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates a 2.5. Slott usually goes wild with his onomatopoeias, but this is the only one in the entire book. To be fair, it continues the EEEEEEEE on the next page, so I added the .5 for that.
The Action – This issue is pretty much all talk. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it leaves you feeling like nothing happened. Peter David says in his book Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels, “In a prose book, you can have two people in a room doing nothing but talking for pages at a time, and as long as the dialogue and characters are compelling, you’ve nothing to worry about … In a comic book, however, you always have to keep in mind how it is going to play visually. That’s not to say you can’t write compelling comics that consists of nothing more than two people talking, but you’d better have an artist who is ready and willing to execute what you want him to.” Well, I didn’t find this particularly compelling enough to carry the whole issue and the art sure didn’t help out.
Of course, this is an issue that MUST wedge into Clone Conspiracy #4, so it really limits it and to force an extra action sequence in here would be silly. Be that as it may, don’t expect to see this issue appear on Friday Night Fights anytime soon.
The Art – Lately Camuncoli’s art has been, well not growing on me as much as not bothering me. I’ll let resident artist Negative Neil go into more detail (I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to art – I just know if I like it or not), but this issue hit all the old problems I’ve had with his work, mostly human faces (primarily female faces), and added some new ones as well, such as this shoulderless Spider-Man:
It looks like the Uncle Ben meme Spider-Man finally made it into canon.
Everyone looks flat, even when they are supposed to be moving. The kiss panel is very flat and that should have been anything but.
The Inks – I may be putting this on the wrong guy. Either Camuncoli failed to put the Spider lines on the costume or Smith forgot to draw them on.
When I first saw this, I thought it looked like the time where Spider-Man made a rubber suit to fight Electro and conveniently found enough red and blue rubber to make the suit match. I tried to find the issue number for this, but I couldn’t and now I am doubting myself on the existence of that issue. Anyone else remember it? I think he cut up a rubber boat or something.
The Color – I think I would enjoy this issue as a Marvel Essentials better. The colors seem flat and dull to me. Maybe that is a result of reading it online through Comixology, but I feel more that it is what the colorist was going for.
I thought the interaction between Peter and Gwen, while a bit long (I’d get rid of the joke about Spider-Gwen to speed up the scene a bit – that whole laughing panel was a tad awkward), was a bit intriguing and handled the complexity of the problem. Peter represents most of the readers who looks at her as just a clone, while Gwen makes Slott’s case that she is the real Gwen. The argument has been going on ever since the first preview image was released. So I am going to use my mighty authority as an official Crawlspace staffer to end this argument once and for all – they are NOT clones.
Allow me to explain – a clone is taking DNA and making a duplicate. You can have several clones running around at the same time. What Ben/Jackal (Benackal?) is doing is not making duplicates (OK, so he made some duplicates of Miles Warren), but rather reviving the corpse of the deceased characters. This is how Slott says that this is different from cloning. So this Gwen is every bit as much the real Gwen as Lazarus was still Lazarus after Jesus rose him from the dead. Slott’s been pushing the point that they still have their memories to prove his point, but to me, the real selling point is that he revives the corpse. That’s why he needed to steal the bodies from the grave yards in order to do this rather than just take genetic samples. If this is not the case, then the whole story falls apart. If it is just a clone of Gwen, then this scene:
has no emotional impact. Well, for me it had no emotional impact anyway, because I am not a fan of Gwen, but in CC#4, I feel bad for the Rhino and Lizard who are losing their real loved ones all over again. That also means that the Kingpin actual kills the real Vanessa and not a clone remake like he thinks (back in the FCBD issue). This is what the author intends to be the case, so I am willing to buy into it for the story’s sake. It is also what gives this scene a bit of a punch:
As far as the dialogue goes, Slott does an excellent job conveying (without over-explaining himself) having the conversation being awkward. Gwen is all over the emotional spectrum in this discussion. This makes sense since she is only 21-22 years old (having never graduated college) and having just been through a traumatic experience of dying a few months ago (in her time understanding). Peter, however, is much older. He is anywhere from 29-33 years old according to ComicsBackIssues.com (they go into great detail, but have two distinct ages on their page and I added a year for the eight months after Secret Wars). He has a full ten years (or so) of maturity on her. Add to that, he has seen various Gwens since then and has moved on (and moved on from that too). As a result, she’s laughing, in tears, angry, in love – all while Peter is pretty much trying to figure out how to get out of this crazy house. When she kisses him, he completely shuts her down.
Wait – wrong Spider-Man/Gwen kiss
This conversation really underscores the problem of trying to revive this relationship.
I was dreading Peter going down this road of wanting it all to be real, so he’ll blindly follow Benackal down the rabbit hole and was very glad to see that Slott doesn’t take us there after all. What this issue does give us is a reason for Peter to fight for their survival. Before it was all, “Nobody is going to die!” Now, after seeing Gwen, talking to her, rejecting her, and choosing to go against her wishes, when it all starts to fall apart, Peter is experiencing true turmoil. He doesn’t believe Gwen is real, but to watch a copy of her suffer is too much for him. So the next issue, when he is trying to find some way, any way, to save these people/copies/clones/resurrections, we can buy into it. This is the saving grace for this issue.
There is more to Captain Stacy than appears on the surface. He knows who Benackal is. He is pushing for this to happen. I feel that there are hints in this story that he is a bigger figure than I originally thought. I can buy his motivations so far as he is trying to find a way to save his little girl, and what father wouldn’t risk the zombie apocalypse to save his daughter? If it’s between you and my little girl, well, you’re out of luck. No hard feelings. Plus, this man can put on a guilt trip like nobody’s business. I feel like he should have been the one to convince Peter to join, not Gwen.
Give this image a Shed-worthy caption.
Slott’s dialogue is the best thing about this issue, but that is just not enough to outweigh the art and the general problems I have with the arc as a whole. I’m not offended. I’m not a fan.
What grade do YOU give it?
Amazing Spider-Man #24
- Spider-Man has been through hell…
- The Jackal has taken his best shot, but Spider-Man doesn’t need to face him alone.
- Discover who is joining Spider-Man in his battle!
The cover looks intriguing enough, but it will be after the main title of Clone Conspiracy ends, so I’m assuming a wrap up issue. I read the last line as Discover who will save Spider-Man in his on book this time!