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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    There would never have been Ben Reilly or Clone Saga without the intent of replacing Peter. The Clone Saga wasn't a story about creating trendy legacy characters for a hero. It was an attempt to override the continuity. The Clone Saga stretching out led people to see Ben as a sidekick or Peter's very own Dick Grayson (i.e. the more optimistic, youth-friendly foil for a hero who's serious and angsty) so that worked against the overall intent.
    Not necessarily. A writer may have come along and decided to use the clone if they wanted to touch upon it (more likely if they wanted to use The Jackal). Anything could have happened. We will never know because history didn't play out that way.

    And Miles makes Ben Reilly utterly redundant. He's far and away the most successful legacy character Peter has had.
    Miles was created as a replacement. They had decided to kill Peter over in the Ultimate books and decided they wanted somebody to take over. And, by stunting him over into 616, Marvel have made him redundant because Peter is alive and kicking.

    I don't have anything against him, but Miles stood out more for me when he had his own universe to play in. Now he is just another spider-powered hero among a dozen others.
    Last edited by Somecrazyaussie; 12-30-2019 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    The solution to nullify Johnny's marriage didn't make those stories with them as a couple not happen, they just gave them a different meaning. Continuity wasn't wiped out. Stories weren't removed. It was an in-story way to maintain continuity while getting out of an unpopular story thread.
    I think they did that because 1) Alicia is synonymous with Ben, and 2) because they wanted Johnny Storm to return to his partying, bachelor ways.

    The marriage still happened and has been referenced since. As for poor spidey...

  3. #63
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    Unpopular with whom, may I ask? Because if we apply the same logic to The Clone Saga . . .
    https://www.cbr.com/fantastic-four-a...arvel-editors/

    https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/20...licia-masters/

    http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chron..._357-360.shtml

    Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters were established as a quintessential romance back in the Lee-Kirby days. So for many fans the idea of Johnny Storm dating Alicia felt iffy...a bit like if Lois Lane married Jimmy Olsen instead Clark Kent. If you remove that, then who would take Alicia's place in Ben Grimm's heart? So it subtracted from the most beloved member of the Fantastic Four (Ben Grimm) and it didn't add much to Johnny. It made Johnny more like Reed and Sue and less like himself.

    Johnny Storm should always be the immature kid of the Fantastic Four, the lifelong cool uncle of Franklin and Valeria, and the dude who is jealous of Peter Parker being more grown up and kept together than he is. I mean Peter's a few years younger than Johnny, but he's always been more mature than him. He was always written as a romantic playboy bachelor-figure.

    Funnily enough, I just found out that while John Byrne had Johnny and Alicia in a relationship, the man who married them off was...Roger Stern. Which well, speaks for itself in terms of the tangled web it weaves.

  4. #64
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    When they killed off Ben, I didn’t buy another 616 Spider-Man comic until Brand New Day, for the hopes of them retconning Ben’s death. As a result, I enjoyed BND, OMIT, etc the past decade. And in the end, I got Ben back in some capacity.

    The Clone Saga brought me in as a fan. And to be honest, even now, I’d rather have an ongoing Ben/Spider-Man title than Peter.

  5. #65
    Extraordinary Member WebLurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    I think that is a perfect example. X-23 was presented as a clone of Wolverine, but the nature of her creation also meant she was technically his "daughter." She wasn't a straight up copy, so she was never seen as a "Wolverine 2.0."

    Ben, despite attempts to differentiate him by the experiences of his 5 year exile, was still seen by many as just a clone. The fact that he was being presented as the real Peter Parker also didn't help. His fate was sealed from that moment on.

    If they had just straight up introduced him without the intent for him to replace Peter, he might not have been killed off.
    Yeah, writers were unable to evolve him from the original concept, so natural selection weeded him out and left him in the unenviable position of being a character with a following, but no purpose and no story to tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Okay, which of the twins is the real one, and which is the clone? Is the baby that crowns first out of the womb the real kid? Or is it the one whose fetus first gives a bump?
    In any story with a clone, there's a real person who pre-exists, and the clones are copies of that real person. In the case of twins, both babies are born at the same time, come to term at the same time, born in the same day, and grow up together in the same creche. Neither of them is the real twin, nor is the other the copy. Twins grow up with a different sense of identity.
    Uh huh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Whereas clone stories pre-suppose and privilege an original. In this case there's the original Peter Parker, son of Richard and Mary, nephew of Ben and May. He's the original character from AF#15. Everyone agrees that Peter Parker originated in AF#15, the difference is that Clonistas want to cut off from ASM#149, while others believe that character lived and aged after that. Ben Reilly and others are clones of this Peter, specifically they are clones of Peter Parker between AF#15 to ASM#147.

    In comics continuity terms, the Clone Saga is a referendum as to whether the Peter Parker who got married counts as the real Peter Parker anymore. The overwhelming answer as far as fans and others are concerned, is a resounding yes.

    Philosophy changes with the wind and there's no such thing as an agreed upon definition of a human being. Human cloning is banned and illegal in most nations and several US states. And human cloning anyway isn't near the level of science-fiction.
    In my experience, cloning fiction often decides whether the clones are "real" or just "copies" depending on the story it wants to tell, with modern fiction leaning more to the latter then the former (or at least needing to use modifications to explain older style ones in a modern narrative). As an example of how things have changed, I remember seeing a wry observation about the X-Men comics, how when they wanted to write out Madelyne Pryor, one element of her demonization was that she was "just" a clone of Jean Grey. Flash forward and X-23 is introduced as a clone, but, while shown to be something she has been discriminated over, that status has no bearing on her humanity. (I also understand that Pryor herself has been retroactively made more then just a flat villain over the years, too). You can also compare cloning in Star Wars, how older projects handled it vs. later ones (e.g. the Thrawn books vs. the Clone Wars cartoon).

    The Spider-Man Clone Saga seems to be a throwback to the older days (clones are born as adults, have the template's memories, etc.), with a bit of the modern with Ben trying to find a place in the world. However, the point of the story seems to be mostly who's the original, and that being an important distinction. Interestingly enough, when the Real Clone Saga miniseries came out, the writers made the opposite point, that it didn't really matter which was which.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
    X-23: "I know there are people who disapprove... Guys on the Internet mainly."
    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  6. #66
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    Is everyone going to have a drink to Spider-Artist extraordinaire, Tom Lyleís passing this year. He developed the Scarlet Spiderís signature hoodie look.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    There is none there. Or at least nothing of any comparable nature to AF#15 or any other instance. That's my point.

    An old villain whining in the hospital about not getting another chance to kill someone is not something that works on any human level especially in the way it's presented in the book, not as a serious emotional moment but as a way to build up and set up Drago as a new deadly Vulture.

    We don't see Vulture die in the comics, the narrator doesn't mention at any point that the Vulture died. So it doesn't count as a real death.

    The overall intent is try and bring a new character as Vulture and see if it sticks, but obviously Romita by refusing to draw Toomes' actual death left open a backdoor.
    Issue #63's narrator/editor/scripter/Stan Lee says we saw Vulture die in #48, "or so we thought". If it wasn't meant to be read as a death then the narrator wouldn't have said that we saw him die, the characters wouldn't have thought him dead and there would be no need for an explanation of why he's actually alive.

    ASM #48 left Vulture deader than #248 left Tim Harrison. The doctors gave Tim Harrison a few more weeks to live, whereas Vulture was given less than an hour to live, was described as "near death" by the omniscient narrator, and gave his farewell through thought balloon dialogue.

    Vulture's return in #63 was a retcon, a dead character being brought back, an undoing of the previous story. It was no different than being told the Spider-Man clone didn't really die.

  8. #68
    Y'know. Pav's Avatar
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    Hey Jack -- just curious:

    Under what context did you read the Clone Saga? Were you reading it as it came out due to already being a lifelong fan of Spidey? Or perhaps as a young, new fan (as I was)? Did you read it years later?

    Just wondering how context affects your perception.

    -Pav, whose favorite Spidey will always be Ben...
    Last edited by Pav; 12-31-2019 at 10:31 AM.
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  9. #69
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebLurker View Post
    The Spider-Man Clone Saga seems to be a throwback to the older days (clones are born as adults, have the template's memories, etc.), with a bit of the modern with Ben trying to find a place in the world. However, the point of the story seems to be mostly who's the original, and that being an important distinction. Interestingly enough, when the Real Clone Saga miniseries came out, the writers made the opposite point, that it didn't really matter which was which.
    The Clone Saga does not really believe that clones have humanity. That's true of Gerry Conway's first saga, and it's true even more so of the second. The Clones are basically metaphors for memory. And a good number of clone stories are really about that. Are the accumulated memories of a person that person and do the return of those memories substitute for the absence of that real person. In stories like this, the clones aren't really the protagonists. Like for instance, for Scott Summers, the choice between Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor...neither the original Jean and Madelyne are the focus there. It's Scott Summers. In the Original Clone Saga, the protagonist was Peter and the choice was between the living breathing Mary Jane, his present and future, versus Gwenclone, a memory of what once was and can never be again. Whereas in the Second Saga, that's diffused because of how over-the-top it is. Peter Parker is growing up, he loses his Aunt, his wife is having a baby, so you can say that Peter Parker is growing up, he's reaching a period in his life of transition. He's lost his mother, and is about to become a father. That by itself should be this big momentous thing but at the same time you have this stuff about him being a clone, and that erodes his sense of identity and purpose, calls into question his entire life...and just jerks around readers. Meanwhile you have a usurper Ben Reilly who's paraded as the real Peter Parker (i.e. a Peter Parker who spent five years of his life as a drifter). So where is the choice there? Where is the center? What is the focus?

    The first clone saga is about the memory of Gwen Stacy, how people remember her after she's gone, and what the return of that means. The Jackal is fixated on this co-ed who he can't seduce, and blames Spider-Man for her death, so he clones Gwen so that he can first expose and humiliate Spider-Man so that she can then turn against Peter in favor of him, while at the same time Peter has moved on from Gwen's death towards Mary Jane and he's confused and divided what that means. At the end of the First Saga, he realizes that since he moved on and is in love with Mary Jane while the clones are stuck in the past, then he has to be the real guy. That's what the first clone saga was all about. The Gwenclone is not a substitute for the real Gwen. In the case of the second saga, the writers wanted an earlier "unmarried" Peter which they felt was truer to the character, and their attitude was that the Peter Parker of the current titles wasn't the real Peter Parker. The fact is the humanity of Ben Reilly came at the expense of Peter's, at the expense of Peter's character development and growth. Believe you me, had they gone ahead and nullified Peter, a few years later Peter Parker would die off-panel in Portland, alongside MJ and so on. He would be exposed as a clone the way Ben was in Revelations with his body decaying into pink goo. And it would be done to close back doors and make people accept that Ben was the one true Peter.

    In Spider-Man, clones are really about memories. That's what the first saga, and the best one, was all about. The second saga utterly misunderstood the point of that. They violated the entire point of that. It's not a story that believes that clones are people by any stretch of the imagination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Issue #63's narrator/editor/scripter/Stan Lee says we saw Vulture die in #48, "or so we thought".
    Tell me are those references to Peter Palmer, Anna Watkins, Liz Hilton and other sundry typos and jokey walkbacks and so on in the entire Stan Lee period also retcons? Because if we follow Stan Lee's narrative captions word-for-word then nothing make sense. Stan Lee's narrative voice was definitely never authoritative or omniscient. It was slangy, it was talking to the reader, it was "meta" and self-aware. It's simply easier to no-prize these narrative captions as the storytelling teasing the Vulture's death and then going, "Haw Haw! I made you think the Vulture died and have you take that seriously as a comic retcon decades later!" Images count for more than words and captions as far comic book death is concerned. And again we are forgetting that these comics were Marvel Method, and as such are generally artist-writer collaborations with the two not always seeing eye-to-eye. That applies also to John Romita Sr. who did go along with Stan Lee more than Ditko but he still had doubts and second thoughts about a lot of things. Romita Sr. was never comfortable about rewriting Gwen's personality to make her into a sudden love interest because that wasn't what Ditko was setting up. Romita Sr. would have extremely reluctant to categorically kill off a Ditko rogue especially in a story with no emotional stakes and investment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Hey Jack -- just curious:

    Under what context did you read the Clone Saga? We're you reading it as it came out due to already being a lifelong fan of Spidey? Or perhaps as a young, new fan (as I was)? Did you read it years later?

    Just wondering how context affects your perception.
    I don't think context has a great deal to do with my feelings and judgment. There are stuff I was exposed to as a kid that I had a lot of avid interest in but which today I see with embarrassment or disinterest. As a kid I was a fan of TV shows like Lost in Space, Charles in Charge, Small Wonder, Home Improvement, Full House, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons and other stuff. Today I can't stand most of them and the ones I don't have strong feelings of dislike for, I have no feelings for. The same applies for TV shows like FRIENDS (I like the cast but I agree with all the criticisms of the show that people point out i.e. the homophobia and overall male entitlement it fostered), or That '70s Show, and other stuff that used to be big deals on TV in the late 90s but today leave me cold. I am not necessarily an immediate fan of the version I am first introduced to. I mean I didn't like the first version of Superman I was introduced to which was the Lois and Clark TV Show, I was charmed but otherwise disappointed by Christopher Reeve's Superman movies. The Superman I liked was Bruce Timm's cartoon version. I didn't care for the X-Men based on the Fox cartoon which I saw (I found the animation bad looking) and it wasn't until X-Men Evolution that I really became an X-men fan and then went to the comics.

    The Spider-Man I first read was the newspaper strip and I followed that regularly from 1998 to around 2002, when the Raimi movies happened. And that made me go to the comics. I read the JMS stuff and Ultimate Spider-Man and I read older issues at libraries, stuff like Untold Tales of Spider-Man. As for the Clone Saga, I first became aware of it reading about it online in some Spider-Man continuity websites that existed around 2000 and so on, before wikipedia and so on (which yeah dates me). And I found reading about it online utterly incomprehensible. Then I read the stuff in trade and mostly I just think they are more mediocre than bad. But essentially I found the project distasteful. The Spider-Man I read in the newspaper strip, the JMS stuff, Untold Tales, USM was grounded, focused on Peter's personal life and was all about balancing a certain realism with high adventure. The Clone Saga is just distasteful to me on that regard. At the same time, I do love the Original Clone Saga. And look overwhelmingly, the opinion and judgment on the Clone Saga is negative. Chip Zdarsky, Sean McKeever, Mark Ginocchio among many others cite the Clone Saga as a period they plugged out of Spider-Man. Mark Ginocchio who collects every Spider-Man comic didn't collect the Clone Saga. Sean McKeever had his own comics shop in the 90s and he didn't stock the Clone Saga.

  10. #70
    Y'know. Pav's Avatar
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    Like I said, I was just curious.

    Regardless of any logical arguments to be made against the storyline as well as any professionals who didn't like it, there are also arguments to be made for reasons to appreciate the storyline -- or at least aspects of it.

    The introduction of Ben into Peter's life in the '90s had a profound effect on me as a reader, and I'm appreciative in the role it's had in my life -- as a comics fan, as someone interested in philsophy, as a lifelong learner in general.

    It certainly has its flaws, and your reasons for disliking it are certainly understandable.

    But there are other perspectives. There are reasons to like it, to feel it fits into the Spider-Mythos as well as any other crazy thing that has happened.

    I hope someday Ben (and Kaine) get to star in a series written by someone who understands and appreciates what they bring to the table.

    -Pav, who still needs to see a Scarlet Carnage costume show up in the comics someday...
    Last edited by Pav; 12-31-2019 at 12:49 PM.
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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Tell me are those references to Peter Palmer, Anna Watkins, Liz Hilton and other sundry typos and jokey walkbacks and so on in the entire Stan Lee period also retcons?
    I don't recall Stan ever referencing these specific typos within a story.

    But "Robert Bruce Banner" is absolutely a retcon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Because if we follow Stan Lee's narrative captions word-for-word then nothing make sense. Stan Lee's narrative voice was definitely never authoritative or omniscient. It was slangy, it was talking to the reader, it was "meta" and self-aware. It's simply easier to no-prize these narrative captions as the storytelling teasing the Vulture's death and then going, "Haw Haw! I made you think the Vulture died and have you take that seriously as a comic retcon decades later!" Images count for more than words and captions as far comic book death is concerned. And again we are forgetting that these comics were Marvel Method, and as such are generally artist-writer collaborations with the two not always seeing eye-to-eye. That applies also to John Romita Sr. who did go along with Stan Lee more than Ditko but he still had doubts and second thoughts about a lot of things. Romita Sr. was never comfortable about rewriting Gwen's personality to make her into a sudden love interest because that wasn't what Ditko was setting up. Romita Sr. would have extremely reluctant to categorically kill off a Ditko rogue especially in a story with no emotional stakes and investment.
    It's a possibility that Romita didn't intend for Vulture to die. But Stan wrote it as a death, and that's what made it into the final product, the completed story. Vulture was on his deathbed, the doctor gave him less than an hour to live, the Vulture came to terms with the fact that his chance to defeat Spider-Man was lost forever. The reader wasn't told to ignore the narrative captions, or ignore the dialogue. The Vulture was on his deathbed, less than an hour to live. And that was that. That's how it was left for over a year. It wasn't an ongoing subplot or a mystery.

    In #63 the narration admits that the character seemingly died in #48, then it's explained how he survived.

    They killed a character off, then brought them back over a year later with an explanation of how they actually survived.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Somecrazyaussie View Post
    I recent revisited the Clone Saga to see if it I still felt the same way I did as a kid when it was unfolding in the titles. My response was mixed. I feel that the first half of the Clone Saga is pretty decent stuff overall (I'd say everything leading up to and including Amazing #400).

    But then it went off the rails pretty quick by introducing more clones, more twists and endless plots that ultimately went nowhere (half of which had to be explained away in books other than the 4 main titles).

    Like other editorial departments at Marvel during that time, the Spidey office was under pressure to come up with a storyline to rival Knightfall and The Death Of Superman. They were at a total loss for ideas and the floor was open to suggestions. Kavanagh blurted out that they should bring the clone back (he has since said it was meant as a joke). The one who really pushed for it was Dematteis.

    Nobody else wanted to do it. But they couldn't come up with anything else. They felt Spider-man had become too dark and he needed a reset. But those same writers were the ones who made Peter depressing to begin with.

    Still, what we got is heads and shoulders above the other ideas being thrown about. My personal favourite is that Scrier was going to be revealed as Mephisto and that he was engaged in a game with Judas Traveller about good vs evil in which Ben/Peter's actions were going to determine who won. That idea got shot down because Mephisto was deemed to be way out of Spider-mans wheelhouse. Oh, the irony lol.
    Same pretty much. I re-read it back in 2017-2018 and wish that we could have gotten more backstory to Ben's travels and civilian life outside of being Spider-Man, for what its worth I think he fit in well with the New Warriors at the time.
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  13. #73
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    It certainly has its flaws, and your reasons for disliking it are certainly understandable.

    But there are other perspectives. There are reasons to like it, to feel it fits into the Spider-Mythos as well as any other crazy thing that has happened.
    My feeling is that, 25 years later, where does the Clone Saga fit in Spider-Man as a whole? What can one say about it's ultimate impact and meaning?

    One of the ways of talking about the impact of any story, good and bad, is you look at the stories that were written before, stories that were written after, and see what difference it made.

    The impact of something can be apart from the quality of work itself. Like Watchmen is a great work but on the whole you can argue that it made a negative impact. What should have been the mark of a new kind of storytelling centered on creator ideas, became a redux of corporations screwing over comics creators out of IP in the same sense that Siegel and Shuster, Bill Finger, Kirby and Ditko, got rolled over. It led the biggest writer of comics to spurn mainstream comics and ultimately the entire medium itself. It inspired a rash of terrible imitations, and so on. George Lucas' Star Wars A New Hope is a great movie but it also probably had a negative impact as great, if not greater than its positive impact in the sense that the blockbuster movies it created led to the adult-audience being shrunk down. Gwen Stacy's death in The Night Gwen Stacy Died had a great impact but it also led to women in refrigerators and on the whole maybe had more of a negative impact than a positive one.


    So quite apart from your feelings towards the Clone Saga, you should be able to assess the impact it made on the Spider-Man continuity. I dislike the Clone Saga, you like the Clone Saga. But we can still talk about the impact it had. Star Wars fans for instance are fully willing to admit that it kind of watered down the kind of movies that could be made in the mainstream. Even George Lucas admitted that on many occasions. That's something they agree with their critics on.

    To me the judgment and argument that the Clone Saga removed the element of realism that defined Spider-Man before, it removed a sense of lasting consequence and progression in the stories, is incontestable. To me the question is not whether that happened or not, and definitely not "whether or not it would have happened anyway". The question is the trade-off.
    -- You can argue that Clone Saga laid the groundwork for stuff like Spider-Girl (most definitely), Miles Morales (debatably), Teresa Parker, Spider-Gwen. This is where the Spider-Family really began. You can definitely make a case for that.
    -- Norman Osborn's resurrection which is overall the longest lasting influence of this story (and which nobody behind it wanted since these hypocrites, who were actively wiping out 20 years of continuity, were against reversing a 20 year classic storyline) and that led to a series of good stories in the late 90s, 2000s, and so on. Osborn has become Marvel's third biggest villain after Doom and Magneto, trailing them in a distant third place for most appearances by any Marvel villain.
    -- It's definitely true that Slott's run is largely inspired by the ideas behind the Clone Saga. Peter Parker during the Clone Saga worked for think tanks like Garid, and afterwards worked for Tri-Corp, which set the stage for Horizon Labs. I read recently that the word "Spiderverse" was first used in one of the issues of the Clone Saga (maybe Maximum Clonage). Slott also made Jackal a villain for stuff like Spider-Island. Slott's entire focus on Doctor Octopus was inspired by the stories that Tom Defalco wrote during the Clone Saga including his childhood and background, the romance with Stunner and so on. So in a sense Slott's entire run is based on this period, and the extreme takes on the character of Peter and the cast can also be sourced to this period.
    -- The Clone Saga also made possible stories like OMD, OMIT, and other retcons in Spider-Man which filled this period.

    To me the question is if this is worth trading away the values on which the continuity was once built upon. My answer is no. I definitely don't think Dan Slott's run is worthwhile. I don't think OMD and OMIT is worthwhile. I do happen to like the Resurrected Norman stories, and for that matter JMS' take on Aunt May (which is largely based on her characterization in ASM#400 anyway) but that's about it. The ability of writers to make good stories out of bad decisions in no way justifies or vindicates that bad story. Chris Claremont admirably fixed Carol Danvers after Avengers #200 but that doesn't justify Avengers #200.
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 12-31-2019 at 03:02 PM.

  14. #74
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    ...
    So what do you think about the Clone Saga? What are your favorite stories within? What's your opinion? Do you think they should have replaced Peter with Ben Reilly? Do you think these are great stories? And so on.

  15. #75
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    Jack you say that the Clone Saga killed the progression but frankly could that just be the time period itself? By the 90s stuff was slowing down for everyone as people started realizing at a corporate level that if the characters stay in limbo you can sell them forever

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