The '90s were a pretty rough time for Spider-Man. The web-head dealt with a major problem when his clones began popping up, leading to an identity crisis that saw Peter Parker retire and one of the clones take up the mantle of Spider-Man. Fans had no clue who the real Peter Parker was, and while the issue was eventually resolved, it looks like Spidey's life is going to hell once again — because Marvel's bringing back the villain responsible for all those clones.
Marvel Comics has been teasing a new Spider-Man event for months, with the phrase "Dead No More" accompanying promo art featuring the Wall Crawler's deceased loved ones and even some enemies. But as Entertainment Weekly reports, the new event is actually titled The Clone Conspiracy and will see the return of the Jackal — the mad scientist responsible for the previous clone sagas.
The Clone Conspiracy will be a five-issue standalone series from longtime Spider-Man writer Dan Slott with art by Jim Cheung. Slott has been a key part of Marvel's Spider-Man team for years, and recognizes that while clones carry some baggage for the character, the new event also opens up unique possibilities:
“I think more than any character in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man is about heart. And ever since Amazing Fantasy #15, for him it’s also been about loss. ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ He learns that lesson at the life of Uncle Ben. And then, years later, Captain Stacy dies in front of him, and it’s almost the exact opposite. He did everything he possibly could! He did try to live up to his responsibility and use his power, and still he lost someone very dear to him. So loss surrounds Spider-Man. We live in a day and age of comics where you’re always seeing another important death. ‘Here’s someone who dies!’ We’re subverting all of that. Here’s people coming back.”
This time around, the Jackal's plan is much different. In the past, the villain focused mostly on cloning versions of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy — the hero's former girlfriend who was killed during a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. But as Slott promises that the new story will see the Jackal taking his science to the next level:
“The Jackal has always seemed to be obsessed with cloning Spider Man and Gwen. He’s had a very narrow focus. That’s led to very interesting stories in the past, but you have to stop and think, if you’re The Jackal and you take science to the next level, what’s more important to you than just cloning Gwens and Peters? What does this character want, and what’s he going to do with this awesome science?”
The Jackal's reappearance could play with the nature of life and death in the Marvel Universe as we know it. And of course, The Clone Conspiracy is likely to see the return of some beloved Spidey characters. Previous promo art from Marvel featured dead characters like Uncle Ben, Captain George Stacy and Jean DeWolff among more, meaning we're bound to see some dramatic reveals.
The first issue of The Clone Conspiracy is set for release this October. And while the story is a standalone series, events will spill into Marvel's regular Amazing Spider-Man series.
Are you excited for Spider-Man's upcoming clone saga?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]