Clone Conspiracy Omega Mega Review!


Once again, we come together to review a Bad story. When discussing reviewing this as in the ‘Mega-Review’ format, we selected our two ASM reviewers, plus myself and two others. (Since there were five issues of the story, it only made sense to have five reviews rotate out the ‘lead review.’) But once they annouced this issue, I thought WHY NOT and by our powers combine, we are Capitan Planet-er, Crawlspace? But wait, there’s more! We’ve added additional reviews for this extra sized, extra meaty issue! Here’s our Roster:

Zach Joiner, Webmaster of one of the PREMIERE Spidey-Clone Websites around, Spidey-dude.com, and longtime reivewer of various books. He’s also apart of the Podcast and long suffering Clone Fan.
Shaun Martineau– Reviewer of Silk and Spider-Woman.
Mark Alford– ASM reviewer and writer of the Tangled Webs series of articles (not be confused with the former ongoing series that Marvel Produced)

Neil Bogenrieder– Neil is the other ASM reviewer, and artist in his own right.
James Hynes is the reviewer of Prowler, and Web Warriors

Those were the original guys, but we added another and one with Video Commentary.

Ryan Reed is our Resident video reviewer of various titles
George Berryman is lifelong Texan, Large Mammal (as is his spirit guide, Jim Shooter) former leader of the Delta House, Grand Pooh-Bah of Friday Night Fights in both written and Podcast form, Clone Hater and his hatred of slacker wear is why he may or may not be a clone of the old man JR Fettinger of Spideykicksbutt.com. Or a cousin. Whichever works better.

When discussing the storyline over the last few months, I have routinely referenced how similar Clone Conspiracy was to perhaps the worst story of the Clone Saga, Maximum Cloneage. One of the reasons was the fact we were getting a “Omega” issue. Maximum Cloneage had “Alpha” & “Omega” one-shots that bookended the monthly books. Three stories populate the issue, so I’ll list the credits then go through them one by one. So how the Clone Conspiracy Omega do? Read on and find out.

Clone Conspiracy: Omega #1

“Collateral Damage”

Written by: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Art by: Cory T. Smith
Colors by: Justin Ponsor

“Give Us a Wink”

Written by: Peter David
Art by: Mark Bagley
Inks by: John Dell
Color Artist: Jason Keith

“Kings Favor”

Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by: Richard Isanove

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

STORY: Pickup up from Clone Conspiracy #5, we are given (once again) an extended scene where we see what Rhino says, and the people who weren’t able to be cured of their diseases. Jerry, Peter’s employee, isn’t doing well. Peter calls Jerry’s wide via his webware. After revealing that New U lied, she justifiably is upset. She also tell him that she’s going to sue the pants off him.
Peter doesn’t disagree. Peter FINALLY confronts Kaine about not telling him about the Carrion Virus mutating and becoming more contagious than ever seen before. Peter asks if it was worth it & Kaine’s response was simple: “The world not overrun by Carrion Zombies, so, yeah” just as Peter is about to get physical with Kaine, Art Modell shows up with SHIELD and begins the clean up. Lizard takes the clones of Billy and Martha down to the sewer and gives them lizard formula. More on that later. Kaine ask Peter about Ben and Kaine is understandably upset. (some some nuance from Slott that I’ve rarely seen) Kaine tells Peter that because it was Ben, he has a blind spot and is in denial. Spider-Gwen then asks if that’s how Kaine wants to leave it with Peter, but Kaine says it’s his call. He tells Gwen, who is trying to get him back to Loomworld, that he’s done being the Spider Man version of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and that he’s staying in the 616, er, “Prime Earth”. Peter has a moment with Uncle Ben, who is still in his coffin and the only one who wasn’t brought back in this story, when suddenly, the Rhino begins his angry power trip where he is destroying everything in his path. Peter fights and eventually finds a way to reason with him. Calming down, he moves forward by getting arrested willingly. Art Modell did some tests and everyone is fine. We cut to the Lizard in San Francisco, confirming what we all knew: he gave Billy and Martha lizard formula and they’re now lizard zombies.
THOUGHTS: Man. After complaints that the end wasn’t the end, and that ASM was just a waste, it’s nice to see a true blue ending on this issue. Yes, it’s rushed and yes it’s almost too tidy, but to be fair, it did address far more of the elephant’s in the room. We are beginning to see the seed which are being planted for the eventual downfall of Parker Industries, which along with the whole being financed by Market Manipulations by Otto, the Zodiac being a major financier, and this, the long national nightmare that is the Parker Industries era may be over. The characterization of Kaine was Spot. On. Kaine has every reason to distrust that Ben isn’t dead and his motivations are very clear: Stop Ben. It’s a role reversal between the two characters that intrigues me and thus, I have some high hopes for Kaine and Not-Ben in the new series. In regards to the lizard, not surprised to see him do this and I hope he’s off the table for a bit. Rhino is perhaps the MVP of this issue. Slott has added layers that needed to be there and intrigued me.

In regards to the artwork, it’s impressive that the work feels like Jim Cheung’s artwork and overall fits with the main mini. Good job on colors and art here.

Overall, this gets a B from me. A Massive Step up from last three issues.

The next two stories are shorter.

GIVE US A WINK

Story opens with the Not-So good Doctor Rita Clarkson at her favorite watering hole. Shes approached by a man in a hat, sunglasses and a Deadpool shirt. It’s the New Ben Reilly. He asks for money and explains how he needs to run. She isn’t ready to comply until two men who New U helped are ready to exact their revenge. Ben saves her by dispatching the men. But takes one of the assailant’s hoodie. (of course) She then gives him a bag of money and kisses her. For reasons. He tries to explain to her that he had contacted the men and he was using the attack to help convince her to help. She thinks he’s joking. (he’s not. The attacks nearly confirms this) and he exits stage right. Until next month.
THOUGHTS: Ho-Boy. As a set up for a new series, this falls far short of its goal. The only in-character part of this is Ben running away, as he did in Lost Years. His outright manipulation of Rita was both interesting and stomach-turning at the same time. Her trust in Ben is such that I dislike how he went about things and as such I can’t stand this. This artwork is okay, but its not Bagley at this best. I am hoping that we will see an improvement in the new series.
Grade: C.


KINGS FAVOR

STORY: Kingpin repays Spider-Man’s debt by giving him information on Norman Osborn. He needs a win, and now they are all square.

THOUGHTS: A set up for next weeks ASM 25, the story is short and simple. Nothing to write home about. Artwork is solid, and Kingpin is not bad.

GRADE: C+ Not much to grade, middle of the road and not bad.

Now, onto the main event. I’ll be back to wrap up my thoughts on this arc as a whole.

First up is Shawn’s review:

Where to start with this ‘issue’? I guess with the opening three pages which are largely carbon copies of the last few pages of The Clone Conspiracy #5; great start to an ‘additional’ issue that costs more than usual. Or how about the next couple pages, where we spend more time with Jerry Salteres and his quick to accuse wife (Peter has been anti-New U this whole story, so why is she blaming him?) Or how about the last three pages where Peter throws a tantrum at the sit down Fisk arranged for his benefit? Or all the scenes in between where Peter is a dick to everyone, including Kaine (who Peter blames everything on) and Gwen-65 (who he thinks is less real than a clone.) At least Kaine and Gwen have a nice moment. Dan Slott tries to neatly wrap things up by having the high level officals working for Jackal rounded up because Max Modell somehow discovers a way to root them out (this is given two panels but Jerry Slateres is given two pages?) Speaking of Max, guess who creates the cure for the Carrion disease? So not only did Anna save the day instead of Peter, Max does too.
To be fair, I do think there is the bare bones of a good story here, highlighting how Peter and Alexi are both hurting. Sadly this issue is overburdened with other stories (despite ignoring Mattie Franklin and Cindy Moon’s whole importance to this story) and the screentime this story gets is insignificant. I do not think Slott could write dialogue to make me believe in Peter calming Alexi, even if that ‘like a rhino’ line is not totally awful. Also, this new guy, Cory T Smith? He is one talented artist, outshinning veterans Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen.
So where does this leave ASM? After Peter let his anger get the best of him and made quite a few mistakes, we see him ready to do the whole thing over again, this time with Norman Osborn. Glad to see Peter Parker continues to learn nothing under Dan Slott’s pen. Been a hoot reviewing The Clone Conspiracy, which started out as some of Slott’s best writing, but I am so out. This book (ASM) is garbage.
F+ (for Smith’s art alone)

Revises Series Grade: D


 Youch. Perhaps the next reviewer, Neil Bogenrieder will like this one:

I thought that Clone Conspiracy #5 and Amazing #24 was the worst that Slott could offer us.

How wrong I was. This is as bad as both of those, combined, and ten times worse.

With this event, Slott has managed to destroy what little good will I have for him, and I’m going into “The Osborn Identity” with a wary eye not knowing how the fallout will turn out or if it’ll even be acknowledged when the arc needs to be.

I feel so sorry for everybody affected by Slott’s need to drag them in on this trainwreck. Peter David, Robbie Thompson, and all of their teams deserve better, and I especially pray for Ben Reilly fans that David can salvage anything from this. Peter comes out of this way too optimistic, rather than traumatized by the whole experience, and Kaine’s yelling at Peter feels all too justified, but comes across as Slott just finding another way to tear down Peter. The only thing that felt slightly justified, but still made zero sense, was Mrs. Salteres threatening to sue PI, which she has no real legal grounds to do since her husband gave his consent to the procedure.

Gwen-65 served nearly zero purpose, and Silk’s appearance just feels obligatory by editorial. Not to mention that a lot of things, much like CC#5, come out of nowhere, such as Peter’s entrance on the Kingpin that was served just to set up the Osborn Arc. And that’s nothing compared to Rita Clarkson’s sudden rise to relevance, her sudden willingness to give Ben her IRA funds,

The art team saves the issue, as per usual. While Cory Smith isn’t Jim Cheung, he still delights visually, and you can tell that Stuart Immomen is trying, but his colorist is bringing things down. Bagley does a good job as well, but nothing stand-out.

I’m glad this is over. So I never have to talk about it again.

Final Grade: F-


Goodness! What say you George Berryman*?

Life is too short to review bad comics.

My god. It’s an F.


Well, I am not surprised at least. Thanks Bear! Now onto James’ review, which, hopefully is better than the others…

Well if we’re looking at the mess that is The Clone Conspiracy: Omega, we’re going to have to break this down into each story. So let’s get this over with…

Collateral Damage

I know I’ve just called this issue a mess, but I actually liked this opening story. Don’t get me wrong, the shift in art halfway though was quite jarring and that messed-up image of the zombie-fied Conners family might stay with me for the rest of my life, but overall it felt like I was reading Spider-Man again. The old Parker luck was done right for once, with Peter’s best efforts to save Jerry thwarted by his disease once again. This showed our hero struggling to do right and once again just falling short. It showed that Peter can be a billionaire and still be the character we know and love. Another great scene was Spidey’s fight with the Rhino, which really emphasised the pain these characters had gone through as well as the acceptance that Peter had learned. This was a Slott-penned Spider-Man story that felt right (keep that in mind as we move on) and because of that I’m giving this story a solid

B

Give Us A Wink

Now the stories start to go downhill a little. Whilst Bagley’s art is always a pleasure to behold, it wasn’t enough to save this issue. It came across as a little bland and too far removed from anything Ben Reilly to even go under the name of that character. I can’t really see myself rooting for the CC Jackal in an ongoing series, which is a shame considering the creative talent behind it. Even they weren’t enough to get me invested. So all in all, I’d give this issue a

D

King’s Favour

Do you guys remember when I was praising Slott for his good characterisation of Spider-Man and heartfelt, interesting moments? I take it all back.  This one sucked. Immonen’s art was hard to look at sometimes, due to some weird poses and dodgy colourist choices. Spidey was acting like he’d just watched Gwen die again, rather than being called up by the Kingpin. His flipping of the table was comically over the top and felt so unnatural given the context. All this was to try and get us excited for The Osborn Identity, but excitement is the last thing on my mind after reading this pile of crap. So it’s with great pleasure that I give out my first

F

This issue started decent and went downhill from there. I can’t advise you buy this, even with the pretty good first story. So overall, this issue gets a disappointing

D-


Damn. Just… Damn. Dark Mark? You like this one?

Here’s what I was hoping for when I picked up this comic – a list of who survived the clone degeneration or thawing process and a hint that maybe Peter David had a twist up his sleeve for the new Scarlet Spider (maybe it would really be Ock in the proto-clone body or the real Ben Reilly).  Well, I got neither of those, but the story wasn’t a bad one.

What passed: Cory Smith’s art was fantastic!  I really wish he would be the ongoing artist for this book. His multiple Spideys when fighting the Rhino were great.  The connection that Spidey and the grieving Rhino made was nice, but I feel that it wasn’t really earned.  Rhino’s lose far exceeds Spider-Man’s on this one, yet he acts like he lost just as much. In the set up for the Green Goblin story, I liked how the Kingpin was the one who slipped this information to Spidey.  I enjoy those dilemmas where Spidey doesn’t want to use anything coming from the Kingpin, but he would be a fool to turn it down.

What failed: I think I heard somewhere that Immonen will be Camuncoli’s replacement and I was NOT impressed with his style in the slightest bit.  It was art that was reminiscent of some of the old WoSM art.  I love Peter David and I really want to give him a chance on this, but it appears that he is going to run with villain Ben and I am just not excited about the new title and this short prelude doesn’t generate that excitement.  The first story Lizard ending was supposed to give it a Twilight Zone twist, but I just don’t buy him doing that to his wife and kids with his Connors brain.  Maybe the Lizard part is taking over.  Too bad Civil War got rid of Clash.  This whole arc was solved by sonics?  He could have saved everyone way back in Before Dead No More.

All in all, the Rhino and Cory Smith are pulling the weight of this issue. 

I’ll give it a C.  
 *Not really George. 

Finally, We have our resident Video Reviewer to talk about this final issue and his final thought on series as a whole. Ryan, take it away.

Well, That does it here. I’d love to give this event a higher grade, but due to the overwelming evidence to the contrary, I can’t. Sadly, this gets an F. We had a blast doing these and maybe next time we will do it when we have issues we actually enjoy. 
Excelsior!
Spideydude

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(7) Comments

  1. Evan

    I wonder sometimes in retrospect how these events compare to the promises made during the promotional hype and the solicits. I don't really want to revisit the solicits for this event, but I seriously doubt that any of them delivered. Maybe that would make an interesting column -- though I guess it really comes down to nothing more than assessing the validity of a commercial, which maybe wouldn't be that fun to read. In fact, in the case of recent events, I imagine they would be pretty depressing. As always, wonderful review,everyone. The one upshot from all these bad issues is that the reviews are very entertaining.

  2. Victor

    I really like Stuart Immonen, but there was something truly off with his art here. Don't know if it was the inks (by John Dell here, while Immonen's go-to inker, who worked with him in Star Wars, is Wade Von Grawbadger) or the colors (again, Immonen is best colored by Justin Ponsor and here we got Richard Isanove, who is excellent, too, but perhaps the styles didn't match). I really like him for the flagship title, but I wish he'd have a better writer to work with =\

  3. Jeff Gutman

    This "character" is NOT spider-man. These are not spider-man comics. The actual character of Peter Parker hasn't been seen in over 10 years now. As long as Dan Slott continues to write the title, we will Not get spider-man stories. The more the years go on, the less people will even remember what the actual spider-man character was like once upon a time. Dan Slott has been on the title for 9 years now. Eventually whole generations will come up only knowing his version of Peter. So what can we do? The editor Nick Lowe thinks Slott is a brilliant writer and has no plans to ever replace him. Quesada called him the "Michael Jordan" of comics. Slott said they'll remove the title from his clod dead hands. So as things stand, Slott will never leave and the character is ultimately doomed to poor characterization that will span decades to the point where he is nothing more than s figurehead for marvel stationary. So what can we do? Sales sales sales. If sales drop, marvel will consider dropping him. I mean sales need to drop more than they have been (spideys in the top 20 still). So if you're buying for completeness sake, stop. If you're buying for your kid, stop. If you're buying hoping things will get better, stop. If you're buying to see how bad it is, stop. If you're buying fit ANY reason, stop. Just stop. And maybe. Just maybe. Marvel will make Dan Slott stop. Because he will never stop raping the character over and over till there's nothing left. Just stop.

  4. Hobo-Goblin

    @Chase the Blues Away I feel most of Slott's failings come from his utter misunderstanding of the "Parker Luck". You're bang on the money; the Parker Luck used to mean that Peter Parker suffers because of his responsibility as Spider-Man. Nowadays, it seems Slott (and many other writers, let's be honest) takes the Parker Luck to be "Life dumps on Peter Parker all the time always no matter what he does". Or Peter acts like an idiot and things go south- "Oops, that's the Parker Luck!" No, moron, that's you being written as a MORON!

  5. Chase the Blues Away

    See, I would argue that it's not Parker Luck at all. It's not even bad luck. It's hubris. Parker Luck - IMO - is Peter SUCCEEDING as Spider-Man, but his success as Spider-Man directly leads to a failure as Peter Parker. Spider-Man stops the Lizard, but injures his arm - in public - while doing so. Therefore, Peter turns down Mary Jane's invite, because people might put his injured arm together with Spider-Man's injured arm. And the next time Peter sees MJ, she's with Harry. That, to me, is classic Parker Luck (ASM 44-45). Parker Luck only hurts Peter. It doesn't - and shouldn't - hurt others. Gwen's death is not Parker Luck. The Jerry thing is pure hubris. Peter thinks he knows better than anyone else. Oops, he doesn't. And Peter isn't even ultimately to blame. He didn't kidnap Jerry and force him to have treatment. The correct permission was given. It's just...bad writing.

  6. Shaun Austin Martineau

    You know, James makes a good point I did not think about. By bringing it back to Jerry Salteres, the series was really just about Peter failing to help someone and the old Parker Luck. Still doesn't make it much better, but my biggest complaint has a sensible solution.

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