Clones in Spider-Man comics are almost as commonplace as time travel in Flash. The strange concept took on a life of its own in the massive Clone Saga crossover that ran from 1994 to 1996. It was a storyline that juggled a complex plot across four different Spider-Man titles. The first official Spider-Man clone appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #149 in 1973, written by Gerry Conway. That clone would ultimately be revealed as Ben Reilly, the same clone that returns and stars in the Clone Saga of the ’90s.
The Clone Saga spawned dozens of clones, some cool and interesting, some creepy and a little silly. Brian Michael Bendis crafted his own version of the Clone Saga in ultimate spider-man and a sequel was made in the form of Dan Slott’s Clone Conspiracy in 2016, each introducing more and more clones, for better or for worse.
10 Worst: Web-Man Is A Clone Created By Doctor Doom
Web-Man is a Spider-Man clone that might not be considered canon. He didn’t appear in either of the main titles at the time, such as Amazing Spider-Man or Spectacular Spider-Manbut rather in Spidey Super Stories #25.
Web-Man sports an inverted costume design with the red and blue sections reversed. He was created after Spider-Man looked into a mirror controlled by Doctor Doom. Doom used a “Twin Machine” to create the inverted Spidey clone. Fortunately, since all of Spidey’s traits were inverted for Web-Man, he was quite unintelligent; therefore, Spider-Man was able to defeat him easily.
9 Best: Peter Ross, The Amazing Spider-Boy Of The Amalgam Universe
Comic book crossovers between DC and Marvel happen pretty rarely, but when they do, they’re quite the spectacle. The 1996 crossover DC Versus Marvel took readers to the Amalgam Universe, a place where concepts from both universes were merged, creating characters like Doctor Strangefate, Nightcreeper, and Spider-Boy – a combination of Peter Parker and Superboy.
Spider-Boy wore a costume that resembled a hybrid mashup of the classic Spidey suit and Superboy’s costume from the ’90s. Instead of possessing the powers of a spider, Spider-Boy could control gravity, which allowed him to walk on walls and increase his strength and speed at will. Spider-Boy even received his own one-shot from him as part of the Amalgam crossover.
8 Worst: Jack Was One Of The Jackal’s Earliest & Most Tragic Spidey Clones
The Peter Parker clone known as Jack first appeared in the middle of the Clone Saga in Web of Spider-Man #122. Jack was an early success in Jackal’s long cloning history, but he sported several visual differences from the original Peter. The Jackal used Jack as his lab assistant, abusing him and forcing him to taunt Peter Parker and Ben Reilly.
Jack redeemed himself by gifting Ben with a disk that proved Peter was the clone. The information on the disk was ultimately inaccurate. Jack would die one issue later, succumbing to the degeneration suffered by all incomplete clones after the Jackal issued a command to accelerate his deterioration of him.
7 Best: Otto Octavius Creates The Perfect Clone Body
Dan Slott has written some of the best Spider-Man stories of the last decade. One of his most successful (and controversial) of him at the time was Superior Spider-Man. After Doctor Octopus successfully swapped bodies with Spider-Man, fans were unsure whether Peter would return. That uneasiness made the “Superior” was even better.
Years later, after the events of Clone Conspiracy, Otto and the new Jackal crafted a perfect clone body of Peter Parker that wouldn’t suffer from degeneration. Otto altered the clone, giving it some of his own qualities, and transferred his mind into it. Thanks to the lessons of power and responsibility he learned as Spider-Man, Otto used this new body to become the Superior Octopus: a hero in San Francisco.
6 Worst: Gwen Stacy Clones Confused Spidey & Frustrated Fans
Miles Warren, also known as the Jackal, created many clones of both Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy to torture and confuse Spider-Man. Though not a clone of Peter himself, the numerous Gwen Stacy clones provided nothing but torment for the hero and frustrated fans with a series of misdirects.
The first Gwen clone appeared in the “Original Clone Saga.” More resurfaced in the ’90s Clone Saga, and finally in Clone Conspiracy thanks to the new Jackal. A clone of Gwen Stacy was even created in ultimate spider-man using DNA from the original Gwen Stacy and even the Carnage symbiote, which was created from Peter’s DNA in the Ultimate universe.
5 Best: Jessica Drew Is The Ultimate Clone Of Ultimate Spider-Man
In 2006, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley created their own version of the Clone Saga in ultimate spider-man. They’d already reinvented classic Spidey stories involving the Sinister Six and Venom, so why not tackle Spidey’s most controversial arc?
In the “Ultimate Clone Saga,” Otto Octavius and a scientist named Ben Reilly (no Parker relation) created a small group of Spider-Man clones. One of those clones was a girl named Jessica Drew. Jessica became the Ultimate Spider-Woman and joined the Ultimates. Like the Earth-616 Ben Reilly before her, Jessica became her own hero, and her popularity increased with appearances in Spider-Verse and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.
4 Worst: Spidercide Was A Brutish Clone Created Solely To Kill Spider-Men
Spidercide first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #399 as a clone of Peter Parker. He initially perfectly resembled Peter and believed he was the original. He tried to convince Mary Jane Watson he was the real Peter Parker, growing angry with Peter, Ben, and Kaine.
The Jackal’s latent biological programming activated, transforming this Peter clone into a hulking monster known as Spidercide. The brutal figure battled the trio of Spider-Men and ultimately died at the hands of Kaine. Spidercide was nothing more than a tool in the Jackal’s arsenal and there are far more interesting clones that emerged from the Clone Saga.
3 Best: As Much As He Denies It, Kaine Parker Is A Hero
Kaine was the result of Jackal’s first attempt at cloning Spider-Man. He first appeared in Web of Spider-Man #119. When this clone of Peter emerged, he resembled the original completely. However, over time, the clone that would come to be known as Kaine suffered from physical and mental deterioration.
Initially a villain to both Peter Parker and Ben Reilly, Kaine was inspired by Ben’s heroism and turned himself in. After the events of Dan Slott’s “Spider-Island,” Kaine’s physical form was restored to match Peter’s. He donned the mantle of Scarlet Spider in his “brother” Ben’s honor. Though Kaine has never considered himself a hero, his actions of him in his own scarlet spider series and books like Spider-Verse say otherwise.
two Worst: A Version Of Ben Reilly Returns As The New Jackal
While Ben Reilly – the version who first appeared in the Clone Saga, took over the role of Spider-Man, and then returned at the end of Spider Geddon – is beloved among fans, the version that appeared in the Clone Conspiracy book in 2016 is not.
People from Peter’s life who’d passed away, friends and foes alike, returned in Clone Conspiracy thanks to the emergence of a new Jackal. The new Jackal is revealed to be a version of Ben Reilly, whose mind was warped after so many torturous deaths and resurrections at the hands of the original Jackal. This Ben’s villainous actions and attitude were off-putting for fans of the original Ben Reilly.
1 Best: The Original Ben Reilly Was Worthy Of The Spider-Man Mantle
The ’90s Clone Saga was complex and often convoluted with multiple storylines converging across four different Spider-Man titles every month for two years. Even the Marvel writers at the time expressed how the story was meant to simplify Spidey’s universe but grew into something uncontrollable.
Many fans agree that one of the best things to come out of the Clone Saga was Ben Reilly. Ben shares all of Peter’s powers and memories of him. He is, for all intents and purposes, Peter Parker. Ben has proven himself worthy of the Spider-Man mantle time and time again. He filled Spidey’s shoes when Peter left New York after the Clone Saga, and he filled his shoes again in the recent “Beyond” arc.
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