The Clone Saga gets more complicated in this issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, but is this a good thing? The 90’s Clone Saga turned many readers off because, well… it was complicated. However, Bendis seems hell bent on fixing the story and making it intriguing, exciting, and fun.
I doubt Bendis read my last review, where I complained about his lengthy story-telling style, but he does keep the action moving in this latest installment of the love-it-or-hate-it clone saga.
This installment kicks off with Spider-Man showing up at Baxter Building, Scorpion clone in tow, looking for help from brain Reed Richards. At this point in the Ultimate Universe, only a few people know Spider-Man’s real identity, so having to explain why a DNA test needs to be run on the unconscious Scorpion is rather difficult for the teenage hero.
It’s only after Reed discovers the clone is only a 94% match to Peter Parker that Pete reveals his identity to the Fantastic Four. Another secret identity down the drain. Is the reveal a big deal? In this case it makes the dynamics in the Ultimate universe that much more interesting.
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This concerns Richards so much he contacts Nick Fury to ensure that S.H.I.E.L.D or any other government entity isn’t conducting clone experiments in violation of the law.
Knowing if he doesn’t hustle he’ll miss curfew, Spider-Man heads back home, only to be greeted by Aunt May who tells him what we already learned at the end of the last issue – Mary Jane is missing. Talking with her mother, Pete thinks he knows where she might be hiding and heads over to the warehouse where MJ often goes to unwind (and repair his spider costume).
But instead of Mary Jane, he discovers – Spider-Woman? Like the Scorpion, this fem-spider is cryptic in her answers, which makes you wonder if she is really another clone of Parker in girl form – eeeeewwww…
After a tussle, she’s gone and Pete thinks MJ might have headed to the old house. Standing in the darkened home is none other than Gwen Stacy – back from the dead… or is she?
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But just as we think we are about to get an answer, we discover it is the end of the issue and time for another cliffhanger. Mary Jane awakens in a bell jar in the destroyed and abandoned OsCorp labs. The sinister figure in the room responds to the name Peter, but is it really him? Guess we’ll find out as the Spider-Clone continues into the foreseeable future.
I never read the original clone saga – it was a time when I didn’t have much money, and even less interest in Marvel titles in general, but I have to tell you, I’m really getting into the Ultimate Clone Saga, and the tale Bendis is weaving. This issue moves along and combines just the right amount of action with snappy dialogue that keeps me from skipping pages to get to something more interesting.
Bagley does another bang up job, and with John Sibal sitting out this issue, the overall quality of the art is much better than before, but there were still a few panels that looked awkward.
Overall I give Ultimate Spider-Man #98 4.5 out of 5 stars.