*We start this episode with a special message about how to donate directly to black women affected by Harvey. Here are the links you need (they're case sensitive):
- Donate List: Bit.Ly/SupportBlackWomenHOU
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We're wrapping up our Peter Parker Character Corner with the third and final part. We go over (quickly) the introduction of Carnage and then Peter & Harry's final confrontation. Then its on the one of the most controversial storylines: The second clone saga. No matter where you fall in the debate, we can all agree things got a bit out of control. It's not all bad though since Ben Reilly has become a pretty popular character and so despite the mess, there were some good outcomes. We then get into Civil War, One More Day and where Peter is now. Our Rogue Wars character corner covers a lot of the later issues of Peter so you'll definitely want to check that out.
Carnage & the Death of Harry Osborn
We finished our last Character Corner with the first appearance of Venom. I personally think that his next two appearances (Amazing Spider-Man 314-317 & #346-347) are more interesting and defining for the character than issue 300. But that’s just me. Clearly the character was a hit because Marvel decided to up the ante with the introduction of Cletus Kasady & Carnage. This leads to Maximum Carnage which isn’t a very good comic book arc but an excellent and fun video game. So all isn’t lost.
More interesting than Carnage is the “final” confrontation between Harry Osborn (as Green Goblin) and Peter.
The Mess that is the Second Clone Saga
There’s no way around it but the second Clone Saga is a complete mess. It’s a great example of how a decent concept can spin out of control when the original plan isn’t stuck to. Just like with Geoff John’s Blackest Night/Brightest Day, it starts off pretty decent but then the sheer number of issues and books required to get an understanding of what happens just overwhelming.
That said, there’s a lot of good things from the second clone saga that get over looked. First, I think it was a great idea to have Peter thinking he was the real clone and giving up being Spider-Man in favor of Ben. Sure it probably pissed off fans at the time but I think that fans can have knee jerk reactions to change even if it’s a good overall idea. Think what happened when Otto became Spider-Man and Peter “died”. That was a great story. In this case, Ben Reilly is a really great character. It also added a great dynamic to see Ben taking on classic Spider-Man villains for the first time but struggling because the villains have evolved but he was still fighting them using his memories from the first clone saga. Also, despite the sprawl of books in the second clone saga, there are some really good mini-stories in it. Web of Death is a GREAT Doctor Octopus story
And finally there is the return of Norman Osborn. Sure, it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense and probably should have been done better. But considering all the great things that Norman has been used for since then, this is an example of taking something that was executed poorly and making it great with later stories.
When you go and read the Clone Saga mini-series that Tom DeFalco and Howard Mackie wrote in 2009 that followed the original script and boiled it down to 6 issues, you can see how there was a lot of potential there. I won’t say that the second Clone Saga gets unfairly criticized because it was executed poorly but there was definitely a great story buried in there.
Civil War & One More Day
After the Clone Saga, Peter goes through a lot of different changes. Some of them not so great. The Others brings Peter to a weird time where he gets new spider powers like shooting organic webshooters (boooooo). He also gets something else new in his life: A decent paying job thanks to Tony Stark. Tony and Peter become close which leads to Tony creating a new suit for people (the Iron Spider suit). So it’s no surprise that Tony is able to talk Peter in taking his side during Civil War and Peter reveals his identity to the world. But as with all things Stark, it doesn’t go well and Peter switches to Captain America’s side. The thing is though: Once you reveal your identity to the world, its pretty hard to put the cat back in the bag. Remember, if Peter Parker experiences a moment of happiness, it just makes the fall even harder. After Civil War Peter is basically a fugitive and has everyone gunning not only for him but those that he loves. Which leads us to: One More Day.
Again, I won’t say that I’m entirely happy with how this was executed. When Aunt May is accidentally takes a shot that was meant for Peter, it looks like May is finally about to join Uncle Ben. But Peter and MJ make a deal with Mephisto to save Aunt May with the cost being Peter & MJ’s love (marriage). Now here’s the thing: I think this story would have been better if it was MJ who was laying dying (or maybe even Peter). Because when you make it Aunt May my first thought is “Well, she is old.” And to be fair, that point is brought up in the story but I’m still not entirely sold on it. But much like the clone saga, no matter how you feel about One More Day, a lot of great stories came out after this. By freeing up Peter from MJ, there’s a lot of new stories that come out for both characters.
We skipped a lot of the newer stories this episode but mainly because we covered them in the Rogue Wars episode. There are a lot of great stories in the back half of Amazing Spider-Man. Flowers for Rhino, The Gauntlet, Grim Hunt and more. This all leads up to the “final” confrontation between Otto and Peter with Otto actually winning. We’re going to do a Comic Book Book Club on Superior Spider-Man at some point but it’s definitely one of those stories where fans were initially pissed up front but as the story goes on it becomes clear it’s a story about why Peter Parker is Spider-Man and why it’s not as “easy” as it looks. We also get the Goblin Wars and well…Norman Osborn’s return in the clone saga might have been sloppy but, man are we glad he came back.
Make sure you listen to our full episode to get more details on each of these stories. We’ll be back in a week or so with a new episode on The Inhumans (The Royal Family).
- Amazing Spider-Man #344 - Cletus Kasady
- Amazing Spider-Man #360-361 - First Appearance of Carnage
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #200 - Harry Osborn Dies
- The Second Clone Saga (won't list out all the issues, there are too many)
- Web of Death: Amazing Spider-Man 397, Spectacular Spider-Man 220, Amazing Spider-Man 398, Spectacular Spider-Man 221
- Amazing Spider-Man #418 - Return of Norman Osborn/reveals he was behind everything
- The Clone Saga Mini-Series - 6 issues that follows the original script
- Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 #38 - The Conversation
- Marvel Knights Spider-Man 1 - 12
- Doctor Octopus: Negative Exposure - Brian K Vaungh
- Spider-Man The Other - gives him new powers
- Civil War #2 - Peter reveals his identity to the world
- Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1
- One More Day - Peter & MJ make a deal to give up their marriage to save aunt May
- The Amazing Spider-Man #544
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24
- The Sensational Spider-Man vol 2 #41
- The Amazing Spider-Man #545
- Amazing Spider-Man #638 - 641 - One Moment in Time
- Amazing Spider-Man #655 -656 - No One Dies
- Superior Spider-Man
- Spider-Men - 616 Peter meets Miles Morales
- Clone Conspiracy
- Ultimate Spider-Man (the entire run)
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