Ultimate Spider-Man #97
Clone Saga Part 1

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ULTSM097picon.jpg–by Stephen Schleicher

Love it or hate it, the Clone Saga has made its way to the Ultimate universe. The controversial series from the mid 90s (or 70s depending on which one you think of first), turned the industry upside down and had many fans decrying and cheering at the same time. Well true believers, it looks like it is back in Ultimate Spider-Man #97.

ultsp97.jpgUltimate Spider-Man #97: Clone Sage Part 1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), John Dell and John Sibal (i)

I’ve enjoyed reading Ultimate Spider-Man since it first came out, but lord does Bendis know how to draw out a single arc! With the introduction of Blade taken care of in the last couple of issues it appears as if Bendis is getting these story arcs down to a reasonable number of issues, but tackling the Clone Sage means we are in for another long ride. We know already this storyline will extend past issue 101, and possibly further.

The saga kicks off with Peter and X-person Kitty Pride arguing over Mary Jane. By the end of the phone call it looks like they could be over. Unlike other fans of the Ultimate Universe, I haven’t been a big fan of the whole Parker/Pride hook-up. So if they are done for good that is more than fine by me.

Being the confused youth he is, Peter and Mary Jane head to the Mall to “talk” and enjoy a burger. Way to agonize over your love life Parker. One wonders when Bendis will come to his senses and get these crazy angsty kids of today into a serious three way…relationship…

Anywho, the reunion is short lived as chaos breaks out, and it is Spider-Man to the rescue. Of course everyone still thinks he’s the bad guy, but such is the life of a masked teen. Turns out the disruption is being caused by someone dressed in a Scorpion costume, spouting all sorts of weird comments. In the melee the police show up and it’s a bullet fest as both Spider-Man and the mysterious Scorpion dodge gunfire.

After eight smack down pages, Peter Parker discovers the man behind the mask of the Scorpion is… Peter Parker? Ah yes, let the Clone Saga begin…but not before the issue closes out with Mary Jane getting abducted from her home.

Love it? Hate it? It is hard to say. I really enjoy Bendis’ work, and it will be interesting to read his take on the ‘94-‘96 series. But should we be that far yet? It seems everything in the Ultimate Universe has been ramped up and 40 plus years of Spider-Man history are being tossed out, just so we can get to the big story arcs. Pencils by Bagley continues to score high as his impressive run on the series continues, but some of the inking done by John Dell and John Sibal in this issue stumbles in places.

Clone Saga Part 1 gets 4.5 stars out of 5.

What do you think? Post your comments about the Clone Saga in the comments section!