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Marvel’s big Spider-Man event of the year has finally arrived with Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #1. Readers who lived through the 90s wondered why writer Dan Slott would dig up the still-rotting corpse of The Clone Saga, and DNM #1 seems to confirm their worst fears. Recycled plastic usually has a weird quality to it that fails to match the original, and recycled stories are the same way.

Here is what you need to know for DNM #1:

  • Peter attends the funeral of Jay Jameson and Jonah explodes on him, which is odd because he knows New U has the power to bring people back from the dead. Jonah’s first wife Marla, after all, has returned.
  • Peter says “this is all my fault” to himself after everyone leaves, even though it clearly was not.
  • Anna Maria Marconi finds out that Peter’s spider-sense went off when he used Jerry Salteres as a guinea pig for New U’s experimental treatment. The two decide to visit the employee’s house to investigate.
  • Jerry’s wife reveals that her husband failed to take his medicine and had something “terrifying” happen to him. New U told her not to talk about it and scrubbed her webware, which contained video of the incident.
  • Peter inexplicably vows to bring Jerry home after retrieving lost data from the webware. Anna privately scolds him for the promise and he heads off to New U as Spider-Man.
  • It turns out Peter used a “microscopic, sub-dermal tracer” on Jerry when they saw each other in the hospital, so he tracks down the man’s “reanimating” body inside a lab.
  • Miles Warren walks in on Peter and within moments Rhino and female Electro are headed for battle.
  • Spider-Man goes into a room marked “Do Not Enter” and finds Gwen Stacy. He is surprised when she doesn’t set off his spider-sense.
  • A reanimated Doctor Octopus punches Peter in the face with a tentacle and the issue ends.

DNM #1 also features a story by Dan Slott titled The Night I Died, which tweaks elements of 1973’s The Amazing Spider-Man #122 to include a semi-conscious Gwen finding out that Peter Parker was Spider-Man just before her death. She cries while thinking of Peter as “the man who helped kill dad.”

Gwen is then “reanimated” by Miles Warren, aka The Jackal, and introduced to her father as a means of convincing her to become a “business partner.”
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The problem with mixing clone stories and The Amazing Spider-Man, besides the fact that they have been done to death (no pun intended) — and badly done — is that a writer is tasked with covering the very nature of existence, consciousness, and the soul. Even unintelligent readers seem to inherently understand that the writer is entering into serious territory, so if the tale isn’t handled right it crumbles under its own weight.

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Let’s put it another way: Even clones in real life would know that they are clones (i.e., see the panel of Gwen Stacy realizing what has happened before grabbing a knife to slit her own throat). Readers are the same way. Why should they care about Gwen Clone?

They shouldn’t — unless it is done well.

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And there’s the rub. On Dan Slott’s watch, Peter Parker “died” and came back to life. The character has not had a single moment of honest reflection on his own death (or whatever it was, since it was never clear) since the series relaunched. Human beings — flesh and blood with thoughts and emotions and hopes and dreams — would be shaken to their core if they died and were brought back to life. Not Dan Slott’s Peter Parker.

Therefore, it stands to reason that if Mr. Slott does not even apply basic human reactions to the protagonist of the series then he will not do so in a meaningful way with clones.

DNM #1 appears to set up all sorts of twists and turns for Peter Parker in the next couple of months. That is the good news.

The bad news is this: Like most conspiracies, the people who weave them usually lose their audience in an incoherent mess that unravels with the least bit of scrutiny. Before you plunk down $4.99 for this book, consider Mr. Slott’s track record and then ask yourself if he seems up to the task.

Editor’s Note:

Regular readers of this blog remember the time when I accurately predicted Dan Slott’s “Arachno-Rockets.” It appears as though your friendly neighborhood blogger has another notch on the belt after having asked in February when “single-cell Spider-tracers” would arrive. DNM #1 does not quite give us a single-celled tracer, but it is “microscopic, sub-dermal.” Given that the function is essentially the same, we’ll consider that a win.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

30 comments

    1. “Knowing that Dan just ruined Gwen’s death is so profoundly depressing.”

      It’s the equivalent of dropping a giant turd in the punch bowl to have Gwen’s very last thought to be one of betrayal by the man she loved — especially for a cheesy clone story.

  1. “The problem with mixing clone stories and The Amazing Spider-Man, besides the fact that they have been done to death (no pun intended)…”

    I generally agree. As far as I can tell, every detail I’ve heard about “Clone Conspiracy” is just a rehash of old material. Even Spider-Man meeting a cloned Gwen who hates him is old hat; it was literally the very first Clone Saga story.

    “Even clones in real life would know that they are clones…Readers are the same way. Why should they care about Gwen Clone?”

    That made me think of the Ultimate Clone Saga that Brian Michael Bendis wrote for “Ultimate Spider-Man” (issues 97 – 105, or the 17th USM trade paperback). That story did have quite a few plot holes in regards to the cloning process and order of events going on behind the scenes, but I think the reason that the story is so well-liked is that the readers cared about the characters (albeit mostly non-clone characters) that got swept up into the chaos (that’s actually the main focus of the plot, not the clones and cloning itself). So, at the end of the day, it’s still a satisfying read. Wonder if Slott will be able to claim the same when “Clone Conspiracy” is done?

    “Human beings — flesh and blood with thoughts and emotions and hopes and dreams — would be shaken to their core if they died and were brought back to life. Not Dan Slott’s Peter Parker.”

    Wonder if Slott ever saw “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”? That show did a pretty good job at integrating Phil Coulson’s struggles with survival while still keeping his team’s adventures exciting.

    “It appears as though your friendly neighborhood blogger has another notch on the belt after having asked in February when “single-cell Spider-tracers” would arrive.”

    Any other predictions?

    1. “I generally agree. As far as I can tell, every detail I’ve heard about ‘Clone Conspiracy’ is just a rehash of old material. Even Spider-Man meeting a cloned Gwen who hates him is old hat; it was literally the very first Clone Saga story.”

      I wasn’t even in my local comic shop for five minutes before the owner and the manager were saying the very same thing. They were exasperated.

      “That made me think of the Ultimate Clone Saga that Brian Michael Bendis wrote for ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ (issues 97 – 105, or the 17th USM trade paperback). That story did have quite a few plot holes in regards to the cloning process and order of events going on behind the scenes, but I think the reason that the story is so well-liked is that the readers cared about the characters (albeit mostly non-clone characters) that got swept up into the chaos (that’s actually the main focus of the plot, not the clones and cloning itself). So, at the end of the day, it’s still a satisfying read. Wonder if Slott will be able to claim the same when ‘Clone Conspiracy’ is done?”

      Say what you will about Bendis, but he works hard to make you care about the characters. I may have issues with this editorial decisions, but he very much “gets it” in terms of establishing a character’s internal motivations, etc. Dan Slott has shown that he will put in time and effort to make readers care about Doctor Octopus, but not so much with Peter. As I’ve said before, this is on many levels due to his fundamental misunderstanding of the character. (I’ll probably have a new blog post on this over the weekend, so stay tuned.)

      “Wonder if Slott ever saw ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? That show did a pretty good job at integrating Phil Coulson’s struggles with survival while still keeping his team’s adventures exciting.”

      I don’t watch that show, but it doesn’t surprise me that they handled it correctly. I watched the first couple episodes in Season 1 and checked out, although I heard it was one of those shows that kept getting better as it went on.

      “Any other predictions?”

      Hmmm. I’ll have to think that one over. I need to just shake my head and say, “Why, Dan? Why?” for awhile longer.

  2. “Sub-dermal spider-tracers” seem a lot more Doc Ock-ish than regular Spider-Man-ish, don’t they? Isn’t that a bit intrusive, especially when you don’t even have any evidence that the person whose skin your tech is burrowing under is guilty of anything?

    Wouldn’t forcing tracking hardware into someone’s body against their will be more of a villain thing? A bit ironic, I imagine Slott is violently against the PATRIOT act, but apparently in his world heroes preemptively spy on potential threats by forcing trackers inside their skin. That’s a lot more intrusive than anything GWB suggested.

    It’s weird how Slott goes out of his way to have Spider-Man make jokes about the things that are stupid about this story. How is that supposed to make the audience feel? If Slott’s dialogue makes fun of how dumb the female Electro thing is, does he think that makes it less dumb? If Spidey says “clones…AGAIN…UGGGGH” is that supposed to make me not think that? I really can’t relate to how Slott writes; it’s like when he writes for characters, the characters see the plot developments from his/our perspective rather than their own.

    So that’s why the clones are supposed to not just be clones, huh? That’s all he’s got? You’re not a clone from earlier in the original’s life, you’re a clone that remembers dying? That’s exactly the same freaking thing! He even knows that since he called it “The Clone Conspiracy” and not “The Reanimated People Conspiracy.” What is with this guy? And why doesn’t someone stop him already?

    1. “What is with this guy? And why doesn’t someone stop him already?”

      If I were more confident in my writing (and weren’t rusty), I’d try to throw my hat into the ring when it comes to usurping Slott.

    2. “If I were more confident in my writing (and weren’t rusty), I’d try to throw my hat into the ring when it comes to usurping Slott.”

      Get that rust off, Conner. Write! 🙂

    3. I think a lot of people could do a lot better.

      Slott’s writing continuously bothers me, and I think I finally identified it; his characters see their situation externally, as though they were reading the comic themselves, rather than internally as you’d expect. They don’t view the current situation through the lens of their own perspectives.

      You end up with Peter constantly commenting on the events of this issue as though he read the solicits. It’s very jarring. From our perspective — company involved with cloning organs, upcoming event called “Dead No More,” upcoming comic called “The Clone Conspiracy” — must be the Jackal going back to his cloning ways. That’s not a big deal for us because we’re just reading a comic, and returning villains are common.

      But for Peter, this is his life! He was just investigating something slightly off about New U. In his world, there are a thousand shady things New U could be doing that might set off his spider-sense (mind control through the new organs, new organs all have a virus that can be triggered, new organs have a bomb in them, new organs came from or were cloned from monsters or symbiotes or aliens or demons, etc.).

      It should be shocking to him that the Jackal is back, he shouldn’t just take it in stride while saying “clones again, sheesh.” This is a big deal! The last time he dealt with the Jackal and clones, it ended with a man he saw as his brother dying and the Green Goblin returning. That was big, life-altering stuff; the Jackal screwed with his life and really got into his head back then.

      We know it’s unlikely any of this will amount to much, but Peter shouldn’t have that perspective. He shouldn’t be flippant about this, this is a big deal for him. A new Electro is a big deal; Electro has nearly killed him many times.

      It’s like Slott remembers that Spider-Man makes jokes and doesn’t remember any of the context to that, doesn’t remember that he takes dangerous situations seriously, and his thoughts typically capture that. Slott’s Spider-Man thinks almost exactly the same way that he talks, which is almost exactly the way that Slott thought while writing the story for the issue.

    4. “You end up with Peter constantly commenting on the events of this issue as though he read the solicits. It’s very jarring.”

      Bingo. I’m happy and sad for you at this moment. I’m glad that you realize this, but it’s a bit of a downer that you will now run into people online who deny what is painfully obvious.

      “It’s like Slott remembers that Spider-Man makes jokes and doesn’t remember any of the context to that, doesn’t remember that he takes dangerous situations seriously, and his thoughts typically capture that. Slott’s Spider-Man thinks almost exactly the same way that he talks, which is almost exactly the way that Slott thought while writing the story for the issue.”

      People generally do not like to be called out, and you just called out Dan to a tee. Given that he reads this blog, it’s safe to say that you’ll be getting some serious grumbles from a New York City apartment or Marvel office in the near future.

    5. ‘Sub-dermal spider-tracers’ seem a lot more Doc Ock-ish than regular Spider-Man-ish, don’t they? Isn’t that a bit intrusive, especially when you don’t even have any evidence that the person whose skin your tech is burrowing under is guilty of anything?

      Read this Hollywood Reporter article and I think you will glean some more insight into Dan Slott’s skewed understanding of Peter Parker. I don’t want to say too much about the moment, but I’ll have a blog post on this article in the near future.

      “Wouldn’t forcing tracking hardware into someone’s body against their will be more of a villain thing? A bit ironic, I imagine Slott is violently against the PATRIOT act, but apparently in his world heroes preemptively spy on potential threats by forcing trackers inside their skin. That’s a lot more intrusive than anything GWB suggested.”

      I think you’re going to like my next Spider-Man blog post. 😉

      “It’s weird how Slott goes out of his way to have Spider-Man make jokes about the things that are stupid about this story. How is that supposed to make the audience feel? If Slott’s dialogue makes fun of how dumb the female Electro thing is, does he think that makes it less dumb? If Spidey says “clones…AGAIN…UGGGGH” is that supposed to make me not think that? I really can’t relate to how Slott writes; it’s like when he writes for characters, the characters see the plot developments from his/our perspective rather than their own.

      I wish I had a cigar or a stuffed animal to give you right now, because you definitely win a prize. Excellent observation. There is a certain level of finesse a writer needs when tackling a long-established rogue’s gallery. If a writer does not have that, then one of his options is to try and be funny by running up against The Fourth Wall.

      “So that’s why the clones are supposed to not just be clones, huh? That’s all he’s got? You’re not a clone from earlier in the original’s life, you’re a clone that remembers dying? That’s exactly the same freaking thing! He even knows that since he called it “The Clone Conspiracy” and not “The Reanimated People Conspiracy.” What is with this guy? And why doesn’t someone stop him already?”

      Shhhhh! You’re not supposed to say that. You’re supposed to just say that it’s brilliant and hand over your cash. Stop ruining the plan, Eidolon! You’re ruining the plan. Heh.

    6. Wow, you could write a week’s worth of articles about that interview. What a confused mess! “He’s you, the ordinary schlub loser! That’s why he’s a billionaire playboy philanthropist!”

      I wonder, is he really so shallow that he can only see the cloning thing from the perspective of “you can have something you want”? Does he see it as tempting because the loved one’s place can be filled and it can make the grieving person feel better? Like The Sixth Day where they cloned people’s dogs so they could have their pet back?

      Doe he really not understand that no one (sane) would feel that way, because this is just a clone with all the loved one’s memories and not the original person?! We want our loved ones to not be dead! It isn’t about us feeling sad that they’re gone! If my grandpa could be alive, but I’d never get to see him, that would make me happy. If there was a clone grandpa who had my grandpa’s memories up until his death, what does that mean to me? That just means you created a new person who unfortunately is already really old. I would want to get him some help to get going in life I guess, but he’s not my grandpa. I would just be doing that because I value life, not because he’s my grandpa.

      The old clone stuff was emotionally damaging because you didn’t know who was real; there could’ve been some kind of resurrection of Gwen for example, so who knows if that’s really her or not. And of course it wasn’t clear which was the real Peter. That was the real problem — not knowing who was the original. Once they knew that it was clear that Ben was his own person and should go his own way.

      It’s like an alien is writing this. He doesn’t seem to get how people actually feel about things. I recommend he go read Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities, and other great works of literature, stat, so he can understand human emotions.

  3. The interviews with Lowe on this are extremely frustrating from a marketing stand-point, he makes it sound like Slott is non-committal to the whole clone premise because of an allergic reaction to the very controversy of the second Clone Saga, hence why he’s having Peter speak out his frustration over the whole thing where as The Jackal, like Ock before him, is the calm, composed voice of reason letting us know in the story that we should not think of them as clones but “reanimates”…in the meantime, the marketing continues to hammer home the fact it’s the Clone Conspiracy.

    “The Night I Died” did not bother me that much, I’ve read a What If where Gwen survived the bridge and she was a bit miffed to find Peter was Spider-Man even in those, but in that particular story Peter talked it over with her and she forgave him enough to marry him later in the issue. It’s actually a good story….the trouble with this Gwen is she’s not doing anything particular of note that her clones haven’t done a million times before..siding with the Jackal and probably having a change of heart later.

    I was more pleasantly surprised to see Peter and MJ on good terms at Jay’s funeral…they don’t do much, and Anna-Maria takes up the confidant role yet again, but MJ being there for him and May repairs a lot of the damage Slott has inflicted on her and their relationship without really needing more panels and pages. Is it just lightweight promotion for how much they’re in love in the pages November’s Renew Your Vows? Probably, but it’s nice to see Slott care just a little again.

    1. “…in the meantime, the marketing continues to hammer home the fact it’s the Clone Conspiracy.”

      They can call it “reanimate” all they want, but…it’s clones. It’s like they’re trying to repackage this as something new when it’s not. No one is fooled.

      “I was more pleasantly surprised to see Peter and MJ on good terms at Jay’s funeral…they don’t do much, and Anna-Maria takes up the confidant role yet again, but MJ being there for him and May repairs a lot of the damage Slott has inflicted on her and their relationship without really needing more panels and pages.”

      I love you man, but MJ literally has two lines: “Don’t worry, Peter. We’ll look after Aunt May.” That is creatively the bare minimum for utilizing MJ in a story like this. I think you’re setting the bar extremely low in this case.

    2. I’m aware it’s not much to go on, but I’m seeing little pieces of a jigsaw, I’m just trying to make it make sense

      We still don’t know what MJ’s standing is going to be after Civil War II, if she will be part of Iron Man or not, or if she’s gravitating back to the Spider-books in time for a fresh spin on the Peter/MJ/Gwen triangle…in order to do that, she has to be back in Peter’s good books.

  4. Peter blaming himself for Jay’s death, or anyone else blaming him, is dumb. Jay was of sound mind, and there was a lot of suspicious stuff going on and around New U. Also very story-convenient that NYC of all places would allow New U to even hang a shingle without first investigating and regulating it to pieces. Especially after a similar place messing with breakthrough technologies, Horizon Labs, nearly annihilated the city in a temporal accident, and the entire staff was banned from the city forever as a result.

    Hypothesis/prediction: Are they going to say that Peter’s spider-sense is going off just because it’s the Jackal behind all this?

    In other words, will Peter not just react to immediate threats but to bad guys who were standing behind some long chain of secondary causes? If the Gibbon got a job in a Hostess factory (there’s delight in every bite!). would Peter’s sense go off if he came near a package of cupcakes that the Gibbon had touched? Because, after all, a cell is just a cell, it can’t have nefarious intent.

    I’ve only read bits and pieces through the reviews, but this “Gwen” doesn’t seem very Gwen to me. More like a generic blond female character who’s there for the Jackal to talk to. This one doesn’t seem like the original ASM Gwen or the Emma Stone Gwen.

    How do we know that the real original Gwen’s last thoughts were that of blaming Peter for her father’s death? If it’s the clone-Gwen thinking / remembering this, then there’s no reason to take them as true. And for some reason I’m thinking that Original-Recipe Gwen had settled her feelings and outlook on Spider-Man’s role in Capt. Stacy’s death (Doc Ock is the one who actually killed him, and her father was present in the line of duty). But I cannot remember if that’s correct or not. (Maybe I’m a clone)

    Interesting observations about Slott’s apparent inability to put himself in the mental POV shoes of the characters, and instead everything is polluted with a fog of “meta.”

    As you say: What’s so compelling that we are going here again?

    1. You’re not wrong. Read the Alex Ross illustrated story “Marvels”, a great little take talking about the heights and fall of the Silver Age from the perspective of a journalist. In one of the closing chapters, he forms a friendship with Gwen and she begins to confide a lot in him, and talks about beginning to see that Spider-Man wasn’t entirely to blame for her father’s death. It’s Gwen’s death that ultimately convinces the reporter to stop covering superheroes and focus on his own family life.

      That said, Gwen’s reaction to finding out Peter had been lying to her for years and reacting more to that would make for a much better rationale for resentment than saying “oh, he sort of helped kill my father”. It’s understandable and very heat-of-the-moment. As a matter of fact, Gwen lets Peter know exactly how she feels about that in that one issue of What If where Peter saved her life. Luckily Peter is able to charm his way out of something more dramatic and Gwen calms down very quickly in that story in order to move along the part where they get engaged.

  5. As a casual former reader of only the occasional Spider-Man arc…seeing another clone story, Another Gwen story or any other regurgitated mix of that would diminish any interest in ever touching any spider-man book again. That’s before even knowing Slott wrote it,

    Man that old Gwen Stacy arc was good…reading through the old material in my now-lapsed Marvel unlimited subscription made me really understand why he had so many fans over the years. I wonder if his fans should even tolerate this twisting of the characters in that arc.

    I know with X-men, had Jean stayed dead, she would have been well loved…bringing her back over and over turned her into a hated figure over the years. To the point that many people cheered her being replaced by the former villain Emma Frost (including me to my own surprise). Just her presence meant we were going to do the ‘hidden power’ thing again, eventually, with similar lackluster results.

    I guess Bendis did do that one thing right, left Jean gone. And it’s true what you said earlier Doug…Bendis makes you care about the characters. I’ve never cared more about punching Cyclops, Magik, Eva, etc…in the throat. 🙂

    1. “And it’s true what you said earlier Doug…Bendis makes you care about the characters. I’ve never cared more about punching Cyclops, Magik, Eva, etc…in the throat.”

      Haha. Well, the thing with Bendis is that he is technically sound as a writer and obviously loves the craft, but what he actually does with the characters can be incredibly maddening (to say the least). 🙂

  6. My biggest problem is that I believe clones are just as much people (have souls) as identical twins, albeit with probably a lot of physical problems based on the animal cloning experiments that have been done. I really dislike it when clones are seen as disposable in stories – I believe that people who create clones would likely see them that way, but I think the narrative should contradict that perspective. At no point should a hero say, “It was only a clone” – that clone is a person, and every time I see a story treat characters like this story apparently treats Gwen, I’m incredibly irritated on a philosophical and moral level.

    I would second the enjoyment of the Ultimate Spider-Man Clone Saga expressed above – and I liked the way that Jessica Drew (in the Ultimate Universe a female clone of Peter) is her own characters. It gets a bit odd later, when both Gwen and Peter are resurrected as clones with all their old memories, implying that somehow memory transfer is the same as soul transfer, but…that’s comics for you.

    1. “My biggest problem is that I believe clones are just as much people (have souls) as identical twins, albeit with probably a lot of physical problems based on the animal cloning experiments that have been done. I really dislike it when clones are seen as disposable in stories – I believe that people who create clones would likely see them that way, but I think the narrative should contradict that perspective.”

      Excellent point, Ian. As I told Carnage707, I hope my post did not indicate that I would endorse a perspective that clones somehow would be lesser humans. As I mentioned in the review, once a writer enters these waters the reader will start thinking about things like bio-ethics, consciousness, etc. A less intelligent reader might not use the term “bio-ethics” in their conversation with you, but that is exactly what they’ll be covering.

  7. So if it is not an implanted memory, are they gonna make it where Gwen isn’t genetically engineered to be evil, or had her mind twisted by the Jackal, but hates Peter because she remembers his role in the death of her father, and hates herself because she is a clone?

    And like others have said, I don’t see why the clones are treated as disposable sub-lifeforms. Are sentient A.I.’s like Vision, that were created by science, or beings that can (and have) regenerate from a clump of cells treated with less worth than others?

    There seems to be a disconnect with certain writers that see the clones as some sort of a blank-slate copy of the original entity, with a basic set of parameters they must follow to be exactly like the original being, lacking any sort of individual self-awareness, independently developed emotions, feelings and life experiences that changes the clone into it’s own person. A person with thoughts and experiences, goals and achievements that could never be exactly replicated even with another clone to take it’s place. Even with the memories of the original Gwen, this Gwen’s life and thought processes are not the same.

    I never saw Ben Reilly as any less of a person than anyone else, or “just” a clone of Peter. He wasn’t a carbon-copy of Peter, he was his own person. Everything in the clones may be identical on a genetic level, but the human mind, what makes a person that specific person, I don’t think can ever be cloned or programmed in. There can be a million Gwen clones, and every single one would be different There being a million of them doesn’t degrade or invalidate the worth of any of them.

    1. “I never saw Ben Reilly as any less of a person than anyone else, or “just” a clone of Peter. He wasn’t a carbon-copy of Peter, he was his own person. Everything in the clones may be identical on a genetic level, but the human mind, what makes a person that specific person, I don’t think can ever be cloned or programmed in. There can be a million Gwen clones, and every single one would be different There being a million of them doesn’t degrade or invalidate the worth of any of them.”

      I totally agree with you, Carnage707. I hope my post didn’t imply I would think of clones as not worth the dignity and respect of any other human.

      If it came across that way, then let me clarify: Because they would obviously have their own unique personality, readers are not going to immediately care or be invested in the character. For exactly the reasons you stated, the clone would start pondering its own existence, what it means to be a clone, etc. Gwen Clone would never just say, “I’m Gwen! I’m the real Gwen.” For some reason, that seems to be the realm Dan Slott is working in. It’s weird.

  8. Nice review, Doug. And yeah, this whole claim that Gwen Stacy isn’t a clone but a “reanimation” simply because The Jackal obtained a sample of DNA from her corpse instead from a blood sample while she was alive is an exercise in pure semantics and doublespeak. As I put in my own review:

    “…the big “twist” of The Clone Conspiracy is that there is no twist. No one is back from the dead. It’s just the Jackal doing the same thing he’s always done for the last four decades: creating clones just to mess with Spider-Man. Which also meanhttp://whateveraspidercan.com/2016/10/13/stillanerd-reviews-spider-man-clone-conspiracy-1/s, try as Slott might, we’re not the least bit shocked when we see a dead character make a sudden reappearance. Gwen Stacy? She’s just the latest in a long line of clones, only now with the memory of her own death. Doctor Octopus? More than likely it’s Doc Ock’s mind from Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #18 downloaded into a new clone body. It’s not a dramatic or surprising reveal if there isn’t any drama or surprise behind it. Yet Clone Conspiracy #1 is entirely dependent upon the assumption readers will be shocked seeing dead characters “brought back to life” even though it’s evident that’s not what’s really happening. These clones are living human beings with all the memories of their predecessors, yes, but they’re not the actual person in question. For Clone Conspiracy to claim otherwise, and to try to milk drama from that claim, is disingenuous to say the least.”

    http://whateveraspidercan.com/2016/10/13/stillanerd-reviews-spider-man-clone-conspiracy-1/

  9. Hey Douglas! Sorry, I didn’t mean that I thought you were thinking of the clones as lesser beings, I was agreeing with you that a good writer would see that clones are individuals and create an interesting character, but that the writing in this story is lazy and blind to this fact so we can’t. And like you said:

    “Why should they care about Gwen Clone? They shouldn’t — unless it is done well.”

    And the way the clones in this story have been handled is definitely not well. Everything I said was directed towards the way that Slott is writing the clones, and how the way it is being written is really flawed and makes no sense. Sorry, I’ll try to be more clear next time!

    “For exactly the reasons you stated, the clone would start pondering its own existence, what it means to be a clone, etc. Gwen Clone would never just say, “I’m Gwen! I’m the real Gwen.” For some reason, that seems to be the realm Dan Slott is working in. It’s weird.”

    Exactly, this was a real opportunity for the story to really have some emotional impact. When Slott has a sentient being state that they are “not real” because they find out they are a clone and leave it at that, it seems really cheap and lazy. All of the philosophical issues you mentioned could be explored here, but they aren’t. And again as you mentioned, it would give Peter a giant opportunity in-story to finally confront the fact that he was dead and what that really means and how it changes him and also how he feels about the clones and their own predicament.

    1. “Hey Douglas! Sorry, I didn’t mean that I thought you were thinking of the clones as lesser beings, I was agreeing with you that a good writer would see that clones are individuals and create an interesting character, but that the writing in this story is lazy and blind to this fact so we can’t. […] This was a real opportunity for the story to really have some emotional impact. When Slott has a sentient being state that they are ‘not real’ because they find out they are a clone and leave it at that, it seems really cheap and lazy. All of the philosophical issues you mentioned could be explored here, but they aren’t. And again as you mentioned, it would give Peter a giant opportunity in-story to finally confront the fact that he was dead and what that really means and how it changes him and also how he feels about the clones and their own predicament.”

      No problem, man. The more I thought about your initial response, the more I was convinced that I didn’t adequately hammer home that point. It really is important, so I’m glad that you expanded upon it for other readers. Thanks! 🙂

  10. Do you think Slott is making a stab at “rehabilitating” clones and the Jackal? A different method of creating the dupes, a new outfit, a non-crazy persona?

    From what I can tell so far, it seems like superficial distinctions without much in the way of real differences.

    1. “Do you think Slott is making a stab at ‘rehabilitating’ clones and the Jackal? A different method of creating the dupes, a new outfit, a non-crazy persona?”

      Perhaps. But at what cost to Peter Parker? When all is said and done, but will be Dan Slott’s quintessential Peter Parker moment. What is Dan’s Slott’s “Apotheosis of Peter Parker” look like? I want someone to tell me.

      “From what I can tell so far, it seems like superficial distinctions without much in the way of real differences.”

      He is the author of The Superficial Spider-Man. 😉

    1. As he should. Renew Your Vows wasn’t the best thing I’ve read for Spidey, but it’s incredibly better than anything else I’ve read from the character in almost a decade.

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