usm100cover.jpgClone Saga Part 4

Milestone issues should be packed with a really great story, major revelations, and enough goody goodness to make it worth the $3.99 you paid for it. The latest installment of the Clone Saga gets even stranger as we learn what Peter Parker’s father has been up to.

Last issue, we not only saw Peter reveal to Aunt May that he is Spider-Man, but also the reappearance of Richard Parker; Peter’s dad. Of course Peter wants to know what the heck is going on, and as everyone sits down to eat some pizza; Richard begins to tell the long story of where he has been, and what he has been doing.

It is interesting and funny that as Richard tells his back story, Peter asks why Gwen is back and alive, but instead of answering the question directly Richard continues to tell his story, which presumably leads up to Peter’s question. This makes Peter angrier and angrier, and I can’t help but think that Bendis is writing out the frustrations that his audience has when reading Ultimate Spider-Man. Yes, sometimes we all just want Bendis to get to the point, yet he continues to press on at his own pace.

Seems way back in the day Richard, his wife, and the Brocks were all headed to Chicago to sign a big deal that would have ensured their research would make them rich and famous. At the last minute, Richard, not wanting his work turned into a biological weapon, backed out and didn’t board the plane. The plane crashed, and since Richard’s name was still on the passenger list he was presumed dead.

Richard was then approached by the CIA who wanted him to continue his research in direct opposition to a young Nick Fury’s work on the super soldier serum. Richard agreed and for the last however many years, has been perfecting his work that we know now as Venom. It’s only later that Richard discovers Peter is Spider-Man and decides to inject himself back into their lives.

He begins by approaching May, who promptly tells him to stay away. This explains why May has been angrier than usual lately. Throughout the flashbacks, it becomes clear that Richard and the government are behind the cloning experiments resulting in some very strange results.

We’ve already seen Parker-Scorpion, Half-formed-Parker, and even Spider-Girl, but what other experiments are ready to break out of their cages? Turns out Half-formed-Parker has a major Jones for Mary Jane and wants to turn her into something more like him. Before he can do something too drastic, a six armed Spider-Man shows up and the two duke it out. Even with six arms, this clone is knocked out (killed?) by deranged Half-formed-Parker.


It’s too bad Richard spent the entire issue gabbing about his past, because had they all not sat down to eat, and chat, they might have been able to get out of the neighborhood before Nick Fury and his team of Spider-Slayers show up.


Oh oh…

But don’t get too worked up over S.H.I.E.L.D. showing up, as they might be the ones needing assistance. Turns out, Richard has been trying to keep Gwen-clone from getting too worked up. As she become more and more hysterical, she has a Banner moment and transform into the new Carnage.


Major Oh Oh…

It’s only now that Aunt May has a heart attack.

We won’t get to see any Carnage/S.H.I.E.L.D. action this issue, or discover if May survives, heck we don’t even get to what happens to Mary Jane. Apparently, Half-formed-Parker was able to do some experimentation with an unconscious MJ.

All of this in 32 pages.

“32 pages? Wasn’t this supposed to be a big issue 100 spectacular?”

It is, dear reader, it is. The remainder of the issue is filled with cover sketches that didn’t make the cut, a sketch book excerpt, and a 12 page novelization of the story so far. I don’t mind the sketch book stuff, because I think that is pretty neat, but the novelization is a waste of space for me. Might be worth it for someone just coming on board, but overkill for those of us reading since issue one.

The back story content was valuable and important, but it did seem to drag on way too much, making this another issue full of talking, and very little action. For a 100 issue spectacular I was a little disappointed. I’ve loved the clone saga so far, but if the story doesn’t pick up soon, I and many fans are going to chuck this up to another ploy to sucker readers out of money.


Head over to the Major Spoilers Forum and discuss this issue.


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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