Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #1
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
A review by Gregory Brothers
Dan Slott has been on the Spider-Man books for quite a long time. In that time, he has told some stories that have been met with skeptics every step of the way. Put Doc Ock’s brain in Peter Parker? Universe jumping monsters that brings hundreds of versions of Spider-people together to defeat them? Everyone in New York ends up with Spider-Powers? All of them are stories that Slott has done, and all of them are ones that, as they ran their course, ended up being great. When Slott decided to revisit the most controversial story line in Spider-Man history, The Clone Sage, with his story The Clone Conspiracy, my initial reaction was to trust the process. Slott has earned that over his run, and at times I might not like the direction it takes, it’s important to let it run its course.
Clone Conspiracy #1 picks up right where the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man left off, as Peter, Aunt May, and JJ Jameson all deal with the death of Jay Jameson Sr. The death of someone else that’s close to his circle leads Peter to question his ability to make the right choice at the right time. The death also helps to drive an even bigger wedge between Peter and Jameson. Since the beginning of Spider-Man comics, the two have always had a relationship that was tense and bristling at its best, and down right hostile at its worse. The addition of the death of Jameson’s father being laid at Peter’s feet should have an interesting effect on the relationship moving forward, both within The Clone Conspiracy, and future stories. Peter being Peter makes him want to move forward in questioning if he made the right decision by encouraging Aunt May not to take New U up on their offer. As he suspected, New U is not the miracle company that he suspected they might be, and as The Clone Conspiracy #1 comes to an end, Peter finds out what readers of the Amazing Spider-Man have already known, which is a long time enemy is behind this questionable company.
Slott has been leading up to The Clone Conspiracy since this latest run of Spider-Man has started, so a lot of the ground work was set up long before we got to this point. Instead, The Clone Conspiracy is used to pull the curtain back and show Peter Parker what has been going on behind the scenes. Since the end of Secret War II, readers have had a Peter Parker who seems to have everything going right. He has a company that is making millions of dollars, he bought the Baxter Building, and his personal life seems to be more sorted out than it ever has been before. With the revelations from The Clone Conspiracy #1, Peter is already starting to question not only some of his recent choices, but once again he is questioning how his choices have effected people all the way back to his high school days. As each new twist and turn is revealed to Peter Parker you can feel much of that new gained confidence start to slip away as his past comes back to haunt him mentally and physically as long lost enemies and choices appear before him.
The art team on The Clone Conspiracy does an amazing job throughout this book. It starts from page one with the realism of the faces during the funeral. From the furrowed brows, the tears rolling down checks, to the panel of all those that Peter has lost adds to the solemn tone of the writing. The realism of the art in those same scenes makes the reader feel as if they are there at the funeral with these people, almost like you are seeing things you should not be privy to see. The use of shadows and blues throughout the book give a certain amount of mystery, leading you to wonder what other secrets are hiding in the shadows as Spider-Man tries to get to the mysteries of New U. Finally in the last two pages, the use of light from above reveals the two biggest surprises to Spider-Man.
Buy it! If you have been reading Slotts’ Amazing Spider-Man since the end of Secret War II then this is what all of those stories have been leading up to. Clone Conspiracy #1 takes everything that has been going on behind the scenes for months and begins to reveal it to Peter Parker. The story is perfectly paced and leaves you wanting more at the end. If the rest of the series goes the way of Clone Conspiracy #1 then readers have nothing to worry about and should be in store for another epic Slott Spider-Man story.