Something that always seems to get lost in year-end lists is that no one experiences just new things. You always have a mix of new and old and the old always get lost. So, mixed in with my top ten comics of 2012, I will discuss five comics (in alphabetical order) that are from before 2012 that I read in 2012 and loved. We conclude with… “THE SPIDER-CLONE SAGA” BY MANY, MANY PEOPLE!
When “The Spider-Clone Saga” was happening, I read some of the comics, but not nearly all of them. What kid is going to be able to buy four or five comics a month like that? And what kid, if they can, is going to focus exclusively on one group of titles — no matter how interesting the story is. This year, I bought all of the trades for “The Spider-Clone Saga” along with the six volumes focused on Ben Reilly when he becomes Spider-Man. I haven’t made it past the first volume of that set. I really enjoyed “The Spider-Clone Saga” material, though. I knew a decent chunk of it. It’s a story that began strongly and had a smart end point with Ben becoming Spider-Man, allowing Peter and Mary Jane to go off and have their family. Things didn’t work out that way in the end, but it was a good idea.
What struck me was how little Peter Parker and Ben Reilly interacted at first. They each dealt with their own problems and mostly stayed apart. Those issues were incredibly strong with Peter trying to stop being so lost inside of the Spider and Ben trying to figure out what he wants to do — and who he wants to be. Where the books close their way is by focusing on the bullshit surround the clone stuff. Focusing on who is the real Peter Parker, introducing more clones, reintroducing the Jackal… oh, that stuff is just dreadful and is such a huge misstep. It’s a big ball of “Who gives a fuck?” I certainly didn’t all those teases and promises of answers did was turn a perfectly good story into something tedious and awful.
If they had kept it simple and contained with just Peter and Ben, it could have been a lot better. Stuff like “Maximum Cloneage” was so misguided, so wrongheaded. I found it cool as a kid, but really bad as an adult.
This year, I plan to finish it by reading the Ben Reilly stuff. Those books are on the shelf beneath the Kirby stuff.
In 90 minutes, I will return with my #1 comics of 2012.
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