You remember those times when Warren, Osborn, and even Reilly masterminded clone plots to pester our wall-crawling hero? But what about that time Doctor Doom created a clone of Spider-Man? Then sit back and allow us to present to you a better alternative to those other inferior clone sagas.
O.K., a little disclaimer – this story is not exactly in 616 canon, but who cares? It is by far the craziest clone story ever and one that I have enjoyed reading more than the current conspiracy we have now. I present to you a Spidey Super Story!
Spidey Super Stories were the print version of Electric Company, my personal introduction to the character. We’ll have a whole Cobwebs on that show later, but for now, back in my day (which is further back than George’s but not quite as much as JR’s), there was not a lot of children’s television shows out there. One of the greatest was Electric Company, a show that encouraged kids to read. Marvel was asked to participate and some of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told (this side of Hostess Ads) were produced.
Clones came in to play in issue #25, which I will present to you here, at least in pieces, to clear your palette of Ben Reilly’s ranting and ravings. Rumor has it that THIS is the clone that will be staring in Peter David’s new Scarlet Spider series coming soon!*
Don’t fret, spideyphiles! Easy Reader** gave this comic his seal of approval!
Wasting no space, we jump right into the story on the inside cover of the issue by meeting our villain of the issue – the nefarious Doctor Doom! (Bonus points for anyone who knows what he got his doctorate in.***)
Meanwhile, Spidey is swinging along minding his own business when his spider-sense goes off. Investigating, he stumbles across a mysterious mirror.
Unaware that on the other side of the mirror is…
Now it appears that Doctor Doom has incredible foresight to have predicted that a superhero would choose to investigate an empty room for no noticeable provocation. My respect for this evil mastermind has just increased.
A quick bowl of Rice Krispies and voila!
So what evil machinations could so move Doctor Doom to leave his castle and kingdom in Latveria and spend the effort and money smuggling all of this evil twin machinery into the country not to mention the amount of time he had to spend in that cramped apartment waiting for some hapless superhero to just wander in and stand in front of the mirror?
Yes, to “run this city”. Well, maybe this comic has a few plot holes; however, it is nice that Doom has formed a bond with Web-Man and has given him a special nickname already.
Of course, the new clone needs a little practice…
Web-Man feels that the best way of finding Spider-Man is to commit a crime and chooses to do so by robbing an armored car of $60,000 (it said the amount on the loot bag). He does this right in front of Harry and MJ.
This means that 616 MJ had all of Superior Spider-Man arc to figure out that it was an imposter and she couldn’t – despite the fact that she had been married in a committed relationship with the guy. This MJ figures it out in one panel.
I also want to point out that the twin machine made a duplicate of the web shooter. This means that it is essentially a replicator of sorts. I’m starting to lose my respect for Doom’s foresight as it seems he could have made better use of this machine.
Spider-Man shows up, of course, and quickly attacks the dastardly doppelganger.
While they fight, Spidey keeps asking questions and figures out that this creature came from the mirror. However, it is difficult to fight someone with your same powers (even if they are a bit out of practice).
His grammar is a bit off as well since “they” is plural**** and so far only Doctor Doom has called him Webby. That may be a bit of a nit-picky over-analysis, though.
Enough of my blabbering. Let’s see the fight!
The fight continues and eventually Web-Man gets away. Showing detective skills that would make Batman proud, Spidey tracks him down!
And by detective skills, I mean he just swung around the city until his spider-sense went off. But of course, it is exactly as the Doctor planned! Holy double vision! Doom used the twin machine again!
Then, in a stunning finale that can only be called “Web-Man Omega!” or “Twin No More!” (it was crazy – two titles for the same event):
Now, you are probably wondering how many issues this remarkable story arc took place in. Six? Twelve? Three years worth? No! Believe it or not, this whole story was only in ONE issue! But wait – there’s more! With this issue you got not one, not two, but THREE epic stories! You’ll need to read the issue if you want the whole Web-Man experience and also get:
A STAR IS BORED!
IMPOSSIBLE MAN – THE PEST FROM THE PLANET POPPUP!
THE WIT OF THE WEB-SLINGER
Because back in those days, when you paid a whole 35 cents for a comic, you got your money’s worth!
This story is the brain child of Jim Salicrup, Nicole Cuti, and Bill Mantlo and the art, which in my opinion, outpaces many of the main book artists of today, is by Winslow Mortimer and Mike Esposito. This story takes place on Earth 57780, as does all other Spidey Super Stories – and yes, they are ALL great, but this one may just be the finest gem in the bunch. You can read them at Learn English (link in the sources below). It was this sort of comic I thought Spidey was going to be. I am hugely disappointed.
“Spidey Super Stories Vol 1 25.” Marvel Database. Fandom Comics Community, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. <http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Spidey_Super_Stories_Vol_1_25#Appearing_in_.22Spider-Man_and_Web-Man.22>.
Valorum. “Is Doctor Doom Actually a Doctor?” Science Fiction and Fantasy. Stack Exchange, 16 Aug. 2016. Web. 25 Feb. 2017. <http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/137383/is-doctor-doom-actually-a-doctor>.
Willemsen, Jeff. “Spidey Super Stories.” Learn English – Read Comic. n.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. <http://englishfortamils.com/comics/index.php?album=Marvel-Comics/Spidey%20Super%20Stories/Super%20Stories%20025>.
All Super Story Images from Learn English – Read Comic.
* Ok, that’s a lie. But rumors have to be started somewhere. However, it would be so AWESOME! And, didn’t they show us a costume that was just reverse colors? I’ll be selling “Mark Was Right!” T-shirts if this comes true.
** Easy Reader was played by Morgan Freeman on Electric Company. And that, my friends, is no lie. Just wait until we hit that Electric Company post. Those video clips are pure awesomeness.
*** Doctor Doom got his doctorate in … nothing! He got expelled before finishing his studies for blowing up his dorm room during an experiment. So, you could say that he has as much right to call himself a doctor as Peter Parker does.
**** And since we know Doctor Doom’s gender, don’t give me that “they” is OK as a gender neutral singular pronoun bit. And for those of you rolling your eyes that I put a grammar footnote in, here’s Batman on the matter.