Amazing Spider-Man #147-150
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #147, Amazing Spider-Man #148, Amazing Spider-Man #149, Amazing Spider-Man #150
No explanation as to why the Tarantula would be in an American prison. Previous foreign criminals like Kraven and the Chameleon were deported after they were caught.
He's picked up by - guess who, again? - the Jackal. Tarantula attacks Spider-Man and tricks him onto a bus that is being driven by the Jackal.
The Gwen Stacy clone is on the bus as well. Jackal and Tarantula bring Spider-Man to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, where Gwen was originally killed. They chain him up and throw him off, but he manages to both survive and avoids getting brought in by the police.
Ned Leeds shows up at Peter's place and drops the news that Gwen is actually a clone. Ned is then kidnapped by the Jackal.
After a rematch with the Tarantula...
...Spidey is ambushed by the Jackal and re-captured. The Jackal reveals that he is Professor Warren.
He apparently loved Gwen, and he's cloned both Peter and Gwen. Blaming Peter for Gwen's death, he sets up a bizarre trap where Ned Leeds will die unless the non-cloned Spider-man defuses the bomb he's attached to.
Both the real and cloned Spider-man believe they are the real thing, so they fight each other for the right to defuse the bomb. But the Gwen clone wakes up from her trance and starts to cry and blame Warren, which causes him to free Ned and die in the explosion. One of the Spider-men seemingly die as well.
The Gwen clone comes to terms with the fact that she's not the real Gwen, and she and Peter agree to go their separate ways. But the question over which Spider-man actually died looms over his head, even as Peter returns to reaffirm his love with MJ.
Peter heads to Doc Connors' lab, and Connors shows up from Florida as well. Connors runs the bloodwork to determine if Spider-man is real or a clone, and Spider-man gets into a fight with Spencer Smythe.
Nearly defeated, his love for MJ gives him the strength to defeat Smythe's Spider Slayer, and to him this is proof that he's the real Spider-man. He tears up Connors' report without reading it, and don't we wish he hadn't done that?
Issue #149 was Gerry Conway's last issue. Did he leave over the fight about the return of Gwen Stacy? Probably not since he remained at Marvel. My thoughts about Conway vary from issue to issue. He's definitely written some good stories, but there's a lot of cheese in between. Even the cheesy issues, however, do pretty well with the non-superhero parts of the story. His use of Gwen was clearly based more on the weepy victim that Roy Thomas wrote, and not Lee & Romita's version, but his development of MJ was OK and his use of Flash Thompson as something more than a dumb bully is also appreciated. Overall, though, his run certainly isn't one of the classics, despite some memorable individual issues. Under Stan Lee, Spider-man was the best Marvel comic, no exceptions. It was always a pleasure to read in a sea of over-the-top corn. Under Conway, it became a mediocre-at-best book.
The letter page in issue #150 had a letter from John Ostrander guessing that the Jackal was actually a clone of Peter Parker. That was pretty close, and an interesting idea. A lot of people thought the Jackal was the Green Goblin returned, which also could have been good.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #124, Marvel Tales #125, Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man #149, Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man #150
Inbound References (3): show
The conclusion to the Jackal/Clone saga had so many inexplicable points in art and dialogue that the ENTIRE letters page in Amazing Spider-Man #153 was used to explain everything away(and leaving no space for actual letters)with variable success--something I've never seen before or since in any Marvel comic.
There actually is a good story in the whole saga, but it needed much tighter editing to unbury it from all the silly/poorly explained aspects.
I believe Gerry Conway defected to DC at this point, and then came back in 1976 to assume EIC chores.
Len Wein was the originally announced writer on #150.
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