YMMV / The Clone Saga

YMMV tropes associated with the Second Clone Saga:

  • Arc Fatigue: Combined with Padding and Ending Fatigue. Amusingly, DC was having its own problems with clone sagas at around this time, with similar results.
  • Archive Panic: Taking into account the number of issues, miniseries, and one-shots that make up the Clone Saga, it'd take you some time to catch up on the series in its entirety.
  • Author's Saving Throw: A few were built into the story, but they were never used properly as the collection of writers and editors battled for turf. A lot of ideas were bandied around:
    1. Seward Trainer, the geneticist who claims that Peter is the clone, was mentioned as having past history with the Jackal; therefore, everything he says is unreliable. (Incredibly, Editorial vetoed this seemingly obvious exit route.)
    2. Ben Reilly is revealed to be the clone and melts away. Mary Jane also disintegrates, revealing that the Jackal had replaced her with a clone long ago, and that Peter was never married to begin with. ("Wait a tick ó That means I'm single again!")
    3. Ben and Peter get caught in an explosion; one of them dies; the surviving one has amnesia and can't be certain if he's the fake or not. Basically the exact same ending from 1974.
    4. Predestination Paradox: Peter is sent back in time five years, loses his memory, and led to believe that he's a clone. Judas Traveler and Scrier (actually Mephisto) are revealed to be responsible for the loop, as part of a Cosmic Chess Game to see whether good or evil win out.
    5. Peter and Ben are both clones. The real Peter Parker has been held in cryogenic captivity by the Jackal since the first Clone Saga ended.
    6. Ben dies saving Peter's life at the hands of the Big Bad. Back in Portland, Mary Jane miscarries, blames Peter, files for divorce.
  • Base-Breaking Character: For some, Ben Reilly typifies '90s comics industry excess, while for others, he's a fascinating look into What Might Have Been: a new Spider-Man, with his own set of struggles and supporting characters.
  • Broken Base: Arguably the entire Saga, except you'll find very few people who thought the whole thing was good, and nowadays most agree that it had some good ideas, but they could have been done better.
  • The Chris Carter Effect
  • Dork Age:
    • What the Clone Saga as a whole as deemed by many fans. It could also be argued that this was the continuation of an earlier Dork Age or that it simply led into another Dork Age (some of the stories afterward were not received very well). And some people say that Spider-Man has been in one giant Dork Age since the nineties, and this was just a more prominent period of said Dork Age.

      One of the things that may not be immediately apparent is that before the Clone Saga, Peter Parker was going through some changes in an attempt to make him Darker and Edgier. Among other things, he was abandoning his Peter Parker identity and calling himself "the Spider". It's likely that the initial interest in Ben Reilly was because at the time, he was more like Spider-Man than Peter Parker was. No wonder some thought Peter was the clone. Oh, and the event that caused this dark turn was another story that went on too long: the supposed return of Peter's parents (the trend was already in place). Additionally, it has been alleged that the writers did this on purpose to make people accept Ben as the original and Peter the clone.
    • The story also featured one for Lizard. Someone got the bright idea for Curt Connors to be stuck in mutated-Lizard form. No one—not even a lot of people involved in the Clone Saga—liked it, so near the end, it was revealed that Connors didn't mutate and the "mutated" Lizard got Ret-Conned into being an experiment that Connors did in an attempt to rid himself of the Lizard.
  • Ending Fatigue: One of the main strikes against the Clone Saga. It was supposed to last about six months, but dragged out for two years. The comics were selling well (a stark contrast to others at the time) and Executive Meddling forced them to drag it out. "The Trial of Peter Parker" storyline eventually reveals that Peter is the clone and Ben the original, leading into the six-part Maximum Clonage story. That story ends with the Jackal's death and his plans foiled... but the overall saga keeps going because neither Peter nor Ben can decide "who will wear the webs." Eventually, Peter and MJ get Put on a Bus, leaving Ben the sole spider hero in town... but he stays as the Scarlet Spider. Marvel decided to milk it by printing Scarlet Spider issues for a couple of months (basically taking a cue from Age of Apocalypse) before finally having him become Spider-Man (albeit in a modified costume). That would've been the end of it, but fans hated the reveal of Ben as the original and sales kept going down. So, Peter and MJ came back, a Spider-Man skeleton was discovered to create ambiguity about the results and a mysterious villain named Gaunt turned up. Things were going to be settled during "Blood Brothers" (another six-parter), but Onslaught was coming up and Marvel didn't want either story stepping on the other's toes. Some months down the line, the "Revelations" four-parter happened and finally put an end to this storyline. Even people that feel the Clone Saga's reputation has been blown out of proportion admit it's longer than it needed to be.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The whole thing was an attempt to get an unmarried Spider-Man. If that sounds familiar, you should note that at one point, Mephisto was going to be the Author's Saving Throw, via a Shoot the Shaggy Dog Stable Time Loop. The editors at the time thought this was a bad idea and abandoned the concept. Then Joe Quesada picked it up again...
  • Moral Event Horizon: This story marks the graduation of Norman Osborn from mentally ill Sympathetic Murderer to complete and utter bastard.
  • Padding: See Executive Meddling. It led to complaints of Arc Fatigue, which was one of the bigger complaints of the Clone Saga. On the other hand, this was an unfortunate trend in the Spider-Man comics already.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Ben Reilly was generally well-liked in his Scarlet Spider days, but the moment he was declared the original Peter Parker, the fandom saw him as this. Things only got worse once he officially became Spider-Man. Crashing sales led to a reversal as quickly as possible.
  • Seasonal Rot: Many feel that the saga started strong with an interesting hook, but a combination of Executive Meddling and the writers inability to figure out a satisfying solution caused things to fall apart.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The death of Aunt May. Made less so when it was revealed she was a genetically-modified actor after the Clone Saga.
    • Ben Reilly gets impaled by the goblin glider saving Peter and falls several stories. Ben is still hanging on by the time Peter/Spider-Man is able to get to him.
      Spider-Man: Ben! You've got to hang on. I'll get you to a hospital...
      Ben: Peter, come closer. I have things to say that we'd both rather keep from those looking on. From this day on... clone or not... you are Spider-Man. You have to carry on for me. Take care of my "niece," Peter... tell her about... her Uncle Ben. (dies)
      Spider-Man: No. No. No.
  • Vindicated by History: To a degree. While still universally considered a mess, the saga is widely considered to have been a good premise gone terribly wrong, and Ben Reilly and Kaine have gained considerable fanbases.
  • Wangst: Possibly justified, but a lot of it can also be considered bad writing. It would probably be more tolerable if the series was shorter and the angst moments weren't done to pad out issues.
  • What An Idiot: Peter Parker is definitely at his stupidest here. He believes everything the Jackal says in Maximum Cloneage, despite the fact the guy's already proven to be an utter liar.
    Linkara: (after Peter thinks the Jackal may have been lying) Gee, I don't know, Peter. Maybe I should hit you with my CLUE STICK!

YMMV tropes associated with the Ultimate Clone Saga:

YMMV tropes associated with the 2009-2010 miniseries:

  • Angst? What Angst?: Peter writes off Jackal telling him heís a clone and Harry saying itís not as the words of liars and lunatics and doesnít seem to worry too much about it. This is at least justified in Harry's case, since Harry immediately admitted he was lying to mess with them.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The entire point of the miniseries was to tell a more cohesive version of a three-year-long storyline that marked itself as the Dork Age for the Spider-Man franchise.
  • Broken Base: Was the series Better Than Canon that told the story as the original creators intended? Or is it ultimately still a lackluster story filled with Lying Creator moments due to behind-the-scenes commentary?
  • Heartwarming Moments: Kaine meeting his "niece" for the first time, and being rendered speechless when he discovers Peter and Mary Jane named her May.