The Clone Conspiracy #1 (Marvel Comics)
Like all of Dan Slott’s major Spider-Man stories, there’s been quite the build up to Clone Conspiracy. After initially being marketed as “Dead No More”, the new Spidey epic is actually about the return of the Jackal, and his use of clones to seemingly bring Spider-Man’s loved ones and enemies back from the dead. Now, before you go running for the hills, remember that Slott has an incredible ability to make really dumb concepts work (remember how we all thought Superior Spider-Man was going to suck?). But even with that in mind, I’m always leery whenever the word “Clones” shows up in association with Spider-Man. Luckily though, Slott and Jim Cheung’s Clone Conspiracy #1 gets things off on the right track.
The issue opens up with Peter Parker reeling from the death of his Step-Uncle Jay. While he’s technically not to blame for his death, the fact that he waited too long to give the go ahead for a controversial cure from New U for his disease weighs heavy on his mind. After Jay’s funeral, Peter decides to investigate New U further, and finds himself face to face with Miles Warren, The Rhino and the new female Electro. All this means to Spider-Man is just another fight, until Gwen Stacy and Doc Ock arrive, leaving Spider-Man with way more questions about what The Jackal is up to.
Dan Slott’s script really works well at setting the stakes for Clone Conspiracy and catching new readers up to speed. While the back-story makes this issue drag a little for long time Slott Spidey readers, it’s necessary to get people coming in off the street looking to pick this issue up. Conspiracy has plenty of nods to other Spider-Man stories from Dan Slott’s run though, and is using that to deliver some pretty awesome moments in this issue. While some may feel that it’s time for Slott to leave Spider-Man behind, Clone Conspiracy shows that Slott still has the characterization of Peter down.
Jim Cheung isn’t usually a name associated with Marvel’s Spider-Man books, but I have a feeling that’s going to change after this. While there’s a few odd panels at the beginning of the issue, once the script calls for Spidey to face off with some of his foes Cheung delivers the goods. Cheung really shows off his skills with composition and layouts as the book goes on, and I won’t be surprised if we start seeing requests for him to take on more Spidey work after this.
Clone Conspiracy is off to a good start so far, but it remains to be seen where this will fall quality wise in Dan Slott’s run. While this has the potential to be as good as Superior Spider-Man, it could also fizzle out like the last much-hyped Spider-Man event “Spider-Verse”. As it stands right now, the cliffhanger endings should be reason enough alone to have you coming back for more, and Spidey mega fans like me will find plenty to intrigue them.