Ultimate Spider-Man #102

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picon.jpgreviewbubble.jpgClone Saga: Part 6

Peter Parker is the center of a huge scandal involving cloning. He isn’t the one that is doing it, but all of the Spider-clones that have been showing up lately have come from him. Nick Fury thinks Parker needs to be taken into custody, while the Fantastic Four think otherwise. And what about the mysterious Spider-Woman? The big reveal is made in the review you have been waiting for.

01.jpgUltimate Spider-Man #102
Clone Saga: Part 6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Drew Hennessy (i), Justin Ponsor (c)

I’ve been enjoying the Clone Saga a lot. It has all the intrigue, suspense, and surprise reveals that make for good story telling. The mystery of the Spider-Woman has been on the minds of readers, and it makes for good conversation when talking with other Ultimate Spider-Man fans. As controversial as the original Clone Saga was, Bendis has done a great job of moving the story along, and keeping everything corralled without getting too out of hand.

But questions remain, and Peter is at the center of it all.

As much as Peter doesn’t want to go, he has resigned himself to be taken into custody by Nick Fury and his agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.. Before anyone has time to react, Spider-Woman snatches Peter and takes off into the night.

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But who is Spider-Woman? Since we know all of the clones are some variation of Peter, I’ve said in previous reviews that there is a good chance she is also a clone of good ol’ Pete. And on cue, the reveal is made.

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Eeeeewwww….no, really… Eeeeeewwwwww!

Since Spider-Woman seems to be the sanest of all the clones we’ve met in this story, she recounts to Peter everything she remembers and how she came to be.

All of the clones were created by Ben Reilly, an old assistant of Doctor Curt Conners, under the supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency. When the Conners Carnage experiment went awry, Reilly agreed to work with the CIA (to keep out of jail) to develop a series of clones to by-pass the Super Soldier experiments. Spider-Woman is a Phase 5 project, the best one to date.

Congratulations CIA, it’s a girl!

But here is where it gets even creepier; all of the clones have Peter Parker’s memories – they actually think they are Peter. It takes a huge psych team to wipe those thoughts and implant new ones. That’s not quite how I remember the cloning process, but hey, if it makes a good story, then so be it.

Now the clone saga is staring to make sense. Everyone has their own agenda – the FBI, CIA, SHIELD, all trying to build the best super soldier to fight the bad of the world. But even though it is explained that Peter’s unique body chemistry makes for a good clone, it only came about from a spider bite – something SHIELD already knows, so why not go after the spider?

Spider-Woman does get a name; Jessica Drew, but before her Peter memories are wiped, Carnage breaks out of the facility causing all sorts of havoc and freeing all of the other clones. This means, not only is Jessica a female Peter, she also has all of Peter’s memories – a boy trapped in a girl’s body.

Double eeeeewwwww!

As weird as this is, if Jessica makes it out of this mess, she could actually be a very interesting character in the Ultimate Universe. Whole sub-arcs on sexuality can be explored if handled effectively. But please please please, don’t let Jessica and Peter hook up. That would just be gross.

The four other clones still have their Parker memories intact, and only have one thing on their mind – saving Mary Jane. We’ve seen the results of their attempts at saving MJ, so it is up to Spider-Woman and the real Spider-Man to step up and save the day. As near as she can piece together, the only place where one of the clones would take MJ is to Oscorp.

Transformed MJ is still in a rage, while Half-formed Parker tries to calm her down. When the real Peter Parker steps forward and talk to her calmly, she transforms back. Again, I can’t help but think the transformation of Carnage Gwen Stacy and Red Monster Mary Jane is very similar to the Hulk. Which makes sense, as the Hulk experiment in the Ultimate Universe is a result of other Super Soldier experiments.

Half-formed Parker thinks he’s done something wonderful in injecting MJ with Oz so she can protect herself. But where did he get Oz?

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Doc Ock? Well, this as certainly unexpected. And why are Nick Fury and Reed Richards there too? The gang’s all here, and this ride just got a whole lot more interesting.

The Good

  • I actually didn’t mind the whole Jessica Drew exposition that occurred in this issue.
  • Doc Ock
  • Four clones together in one place

The Bad

  • Two kids riding on top of a semi and no one notices

I really don’t have a lot to complain about this issue. The story pacing was great, there was a lot of good information revealed to help move the story along and give the readers something to gnaw on until next time, and the art was really really good. Except for the first two or three story arcs that took place way back in the day, the Clone Saga ranks right up there as one of the better Ultimate Spider-Man stories out there. If there is one minor dig I have to give his issue is it is still too short for the price. Ten more pages of great storytelling would make this a top notch title. I give this issue of Ultimate Spider-Man 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

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Parting Shot
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