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Sunday October 11, 2009 12:08 am

Marvel Comics Review: Amazing Spider-Man #608




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics

Spider-Man608Rating: ***

Since I read the amazing (no pun intended) Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, I’ve been looking forward to more Spider-Man stories focusing on the Spider-Man story the Clone Saga.  In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, we saw the premiere of the character called Raptor who has a grudge against Ben Reilly.  He blames Ben for the death of his family and he’s out for revenge.  Since Peter obviously looks like Ben, Raptor has set his sights on Peter.

Our story begins with Spidey battling it out with the relatively new super-villain Screwball.  I wasn’t reading Spider-Man back then so this was my first introduction to the character.  I like this character.  A perfect modern character that uses the Internet in order to get that “celebrity” status that comes with it if you can get people to watch your videos.  Peter tries to use his photos of the fight to try and sell them to Ben Urich at Front Line.  Raptor whose name is Damon Ryder shows up to the offices of Front Line to confront Peter.  Ryder calls Ben and hands Urich an old newspaper clipping of the fire that occurred at his house that resulted in the deaths of his family.  A sketch of the suspect matches that of Peter’s face. 

The staff of Front Line is convinced that Ryder is a crackpot, but Urich is still curious as to why the police sketch looks exactly like Peter.  Where could this lead to?  Will Ben Urich discover Peter is really Spider-Man?

In the issue, we see some flashbacks to when Ben Reilly was first hired by Damon Ryder to help him as a lab assistant for some research he was conducting.  The research was about trying to discover an evolutionary connection between man and dinosaurs.  Ryder eventually decides to take the work he’s done and conduct some experiments on himself.  As we can see from the present, Ryder was successful in fusing his DNA with that of a Velociraptor, hence his name Raptor.

As part of his revenge, Raptor decides to prey on those that are close to Peter and he discovers that Peter is currently living with a roommate - Michelle Gonzales.  Raptor tells her that he’s an old friend of Peter’s and she invites him in.  The last thing we see is Michelle with her back is turned and Raptor is about to pounce.  Unfortunately, Peter is following a lead on Raptor’s whereabouts as he placed a spider-tracer on him.  It leads him to abandoned warehouse.  Spidey discovers the tracer, but unfortunately it’s not Raptor who Spidey discovers at the scene but instead the failed clone of Peter Parker Kaine and we end there.

This story was entertaining, but it didn’t blow me away like the annual did a little while ago.  The same writer Marc Guggenheim is on this story arc with art by two different artists in Marco Checchetto and Luke Ross.  Their work as adequate here, but not stellar. 

I think one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy this issue as much was some of the cutesy moments that Guggenheim incorporated into the story like having him argue in print with Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker as to whether Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36 was a classic or not.  He also incorporates a dream sequence of sorts into the story where Peter pretends to tell Front Line employee Norah the truth behind Raptor, Ben Reilly, and the clone situation.  It’s all funny, but I felt like I was being hit over the head with all of these goofy moments.  I would have scaled it back a bit.

Still, I like the story enough to recommend it and I’m interested if this is the end of referencing the Clone Saga in Spider-man comics.  I like Kaine and I think he could be a great villain for Peter and they can further develop the relationship Peter had with Ben as far as sharing the same memories with Kaine in Ben’s place.  What drew me to the Clone Saga and Ben Reilly is here was a guy where everything he knows in his life is a lie.  It’s not his and it belongs to someone else.  How would you feel about that if it were you?  As much as I liked the character, I think Ben Reilly should stay dead.  Let’s try to keep the resurrections down a bit in the Marvel Universe. 

Also, since Norman Osborn was revealed to be the mastermind behind the Clone Saga, will he be making an appearance in this story?  What about Gwen Stacy’s clone?  She’s still out there.  Will she make an appearance?  Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.  Pick it up.

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