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 avoid getting brought in by the police.
Ned Leeds shows up at Peter's place and drops the news that Gwen is actually a clone. Peter remembers that cell samples were taken of himself and Gwen and all the students in Professor Miles' class, so they go to Miles to ask him about that.
However, Miles says that the samples were taken by his lab assistant, Anthony Serba.
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 (like a daughter, at this point, mind you)...
...and he's cloned both Peter and Gwen. He killed Serba when he found out that the cell samples they took were human...
...and then swore to the cloned Gwen that he'd avenge her.
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 dies 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: Peter shouldn't appear elsewhere between Giant-Size Spider-Man #5 and this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #124, Marvel Tales #125, Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man #149, Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man #150
Inbound References (7): 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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 10, 2011 8:03 PM
Len Wein was the originally announced writer on #150.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 24, 2013 3:52 PM
One of the creepiest scenes ever - ASM 147 - Spidey battles the Tarantula, the Jackal is the bus driver, and a spaced out Gwen clone enters the bus. Good god! As a kid I almost shitted my pants! I still tremble when I think back on it.
Posted by: Jack | July 22, 2013 7:23 AM
Am I the only one who believes that Peter lost his virginity in between issues 149 and 150?
Posted by: Gnuhopper | April 6, 2014 8:37 PM
Actually, that was a common belief among fandom back then.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2014 2:11 PM
And just to back that up, here's a fake classified ad from Fandom Funnies #3(12/76):
"Peter: I love you. I am also a little pregnant. Let's do things right this time. MJ"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 12, 2014 3:29 PM
The Click! of the door at the end of #149 mirrors a similar scene in #122, right after Gwen's death (the beginning of Peter and MJ's relationship and its consummation?). Jim Shooter would call that "parallel construction." Nicely done by Conway here.
Posted by: Haydn | June 7, 2014 1:05 PM
I've added the "Click" scan. Thanks for pointing that out, Haydn.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 10, 2014 9:42 AM
I have mixed feelings about Conway's ASM run, but these issues are notable to me because they provide what is probably the closest thing to an "ending" to Peter' story in the mainstream universe (not that it needs to end, but things seemed pretty well wrapped-up at this point).
Peter is able to put Gwen behind him, literally, by allowing her clone to leave without him looking back. This leaves him free to begin a life with Mary Jane, symbolized by the famous "click" of the door at the end of #149 (which, as noted above, echoes the probably-more-famous "click" that ended #122, thus bringing things full circle). The passing of Miles Warren also ends the threat of the Jackal, and thus all of Spidey's arch-enemies are neutralized at this point; his crusade as a superhero would obviously continue, but on a slightly-smaller scale.
In this scenario, ASM #150 would be the "epilogue," affirming Spidey's continued sense of duty and love for MJ. The only real dangling threads would be a) the fate of the clone's body, which in the context of the story is a question the reader does not necessarily need an answer for; and b) the question of whether or not Peter is really the clone; however, as the reader would have no real evidence with which to doubt Peter's reasoning, we would most likely be led to take his word for it (and I question whether Gerry Conway intended for Peter's authenticity to be doubted in the first place).
Obviously, there are other points in Peter's life where this same logic could be applied. But this is the one that stands out to me, even though most of my favorite Spidey stories come after this point.
Posted by: TCP | September 29, 2014 1:47 PM
No one 'real' is the Jackal! Lol Good one. I am missing one of these (well 147 and 150) but the clone idea was so eerie and raised such interesting questions, particularly to someone raised religiously fundamentalist. Both the science and theology- both barely touched here-intrigued me in repellent, transgressive ways, as I read this 12 years afterwards as an adolescent. The Ben Reilly set-up- probably never pondered at the time, as the impetus seems to have been any credible way to create Gwen anew- had potential,but was just unlikely. Spider-man is ultimately a creature of the Big Apple and those "years on the road" stories will have to be some other character! Well, glad things finally clicked for Peter...
Posted by: Cecil | January 12, 2015 11:57 PM
The last page of #148 is the most egregious misunderstanding of Spider-Sense ever. The Jackal says Spider-Man's Spider-Sense didn't go off because he's always been Peter's friend, then reveals he's Professor Warren.
1. That's not how Spider-Sense works. It buzzes when impending danger is going to occur to Spider-Man, regardless of whether the source is friend or foe.
Posted by: mikrolik | June 26, 2015 8:38 PM
"No one 'real' is the Jackal!" is actually moderately consistent with the origin we get in issue #149, where the Jackal is the imaginary persona Miles Warren invents to avoid dealing with his own culpability for Serba's murder. Conway really loves implying that most supervillains are people suffering some kind of mental break.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 24, 2015 8:30 AM
"I'm the REAL Spider-Man!" That moment still gives me chills. Terrific wrap-up.
Posted by: Dave Burns | December 27, 2015 9:16 PM
Regarding the Tarantula, actually that is the real law- if you commit a crime on American soil or in American waters we have the right to try you regardless of nationality.
Posted by: Michael | December 27, 2015 11:39 PM
I love that moment when he rips up the report as well. I blame poor 90's writing on the clone saga, not Peter here.
Considering the whole spider sense thing it varies from writer to writer. I can shrug and go 'yeah' in one issue of Marvel Knights when Peter says heavy rain affects his spider sense. I go with that since it's like chaff, too many things at once.
I've seen spider sense as more animalistic. The whole 'you see me as a friend so it doesn't click' is more psychic. It happened a while ago with Aunt May shooting and grazing spidey.
Posted by: david banes | December 28, 2015 1:08 AM
@Mark Drummond: Any specifics on that letter page from issue 153?
Posted by: D09 | July 29, 2016 10:33 PM
This page has a scan:
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2016 11:16 PM
Here's a link to a section of the Spidey Kicks Butt website that proposes an unseen link between the first Clone Saga and the brief reign of terror of the 3rd Green Goblin that helps to smooth out a couple questions that pop up like "How was Prof. Warren able to sneak up on Spider-Man?" and "How did Dr. Hamilton know about the clone of Spider-Man?":
Posted by: D09 | August 20, 2016 1:44 AM
In MU it would have been plausible that a biologist professor, albeit over middle-age, could improve himself enough to outfight Spider-Man by some experiment. But by working out? Luckily he didn't divulge the name of his gym to the underworld.
Posted by: JTI88 | December 31, 2016 12:03 PM
Somehow whenever someone becomes a super-villain, they immediately get the best gym membership and supplements available if they don't have a superpower already. Heck, the image of Eddie Brock's "before" even before he became Venom had him as some nerdy-looking reporter.
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 1, 2017 7:17 AM
In an interview published in Comic Book Creator #9 (Summer 2015) Joe Staton stated that he did uncredited layouts for Gil Kane on ASM #150.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 17, 2017 1:30 PM
That sounds really strange. I don't think Staton ever did layouts for anybody else, let alone at Marvel. Was he working as Kane's assistant or something?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 18, 2017 11:00 AM
Yep, early in his career Staton worked as Kane's assistant for a time. Staton also says he did layouts for a Ghost Rider issue that Kane penciled, but he couldn't recall which specific one it was.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 18, 2017 11:10 AM
Found an earlier interview with Joe Staton online...
CBA: You worked as an assistant to Gil Kane?
The complete interview can be read at http://twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/12staton.html
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 18, 2017 12:51 PM
Thanks, Ben. Kane seems to have done the pencils for only one issue of GHOST RIDER, #21. That was Dec. 76's.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 19, 2017 12:13 AM
That's what I suspected, but ASM#150 would have been in the middle of 1975. Did Staton specifically cite #150, or could he have meant Annual #10?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 19, 2017 10:46 AM
Charlton's E-MAN issues were cover-dated for Oct. 73 to Sep. 75, so it could be he started working for Kane in 1975.
I looked up what Conan work Kane was doing at the GCD. The only new stories I can see from 1975-76 are instalments of an adaptation of Howard's novel THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON/CONAN THE CONQUEROR. The adaptation appeared in GIANT-SIZE CONAN #1-#4 (Sep. and Dec. 74, Apr. and Jun. 75) and THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #8 (Oct. 75).
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 20, 2017 3:54 AM
Quotes from that Joe Staton interview in Comic Book Creator #9...
"I was working for Gil while I was still doing E-Man. I worked for Gil, I guess, for about a year."
Asked if he remembers which specific Spider-Man story he laid out for Kane, Joe replies...
"Amazing Spider-Man #150, an anniversary issue where all of Spider-Man's villains fought him. I remember it being like the best Marvel style script I had ever seen. Each paragraph was a page, each sentence a panel. I wish I'd copied it. It was just a fill-in but it was absolutely perfect! I have no idea what the Conan was and Ghost Rider... and odds and ends of other things."
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 22, 2017 1:07 PM
Another strange detail: in the panel in #147 where the bus with Spider-Man and the Jackal enters the bridge, at the right we see a sign saying "wood", which is done in the same lettering style as Wally Wood's art signature. On the left, there's another sign saying "Crespi". Danny Crespi was a Marvel production guy, but otherwise he never had any credit on this title. Why Dave Hunt would add those names is a mystery; I can't imagine either of them had uncredited work here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 30, 2017 11:04 AM
So Warren cloned Peter Parker - and made a Spider-Man costume for him? With web-shooters and web fluid? And presumably a spider-signal light and a camera? And Spider-tracers?
Posted by: S | April 3, 2018 10:43 PM
Miles Warren, obsessive-compulsive, with too much free time in his hands. Guess he took a sabbatical. He's got tenure, right?
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 4, 2018 8:41 AM
It was explained in the letters page of issue 153 that Warren found a costume Peter threw away:
Posted by: Michael | April 4, 2018 7:55 PM
I didn't mean to peeve you, I have OCD myself, it was all tongue-in-cheek; it's perfectly reasonable--within the notion of screwing up with Spider-Man--for him to go through all the trouble of getting the clone a new Spidey costume with webshooters, Spider-Signal, and the like. If you're gonna clone him, see it through and just copy everything about him. If Warren is mad enough to undertake this "cloning-for-vengeance" scheme, he might as well do it properly. Marvel villains can't afford to be sloppy!
But seriously, doesn't this idea of finding Spider-Man's discarded costume present problems of its own? Wouldn't Spider-Man distinguish an old costume from a new one? They must've least SMELLED differently, right?
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 5, 2018 10:22 AM
was it ever explained why Peter didn't try to recover the costume later on?
Posted by: clyde | April 5, 2018 10:34 AM
Good point. "Now to retrieve my costume--oh, shit, it's gone, someone must've taken it. Well, no biggie; I threw my costume away once and the worst thing that happened was some kid finding it and giving it to J. Jonah Jameson. It did make the world--and the Kingpin--aware of my retirement, but since I'm not retiring NOW, I have nothing to fear. Except the wild possibility of some random guy figuring out that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are somehow related. Never mind, nobody ever connects THOSE dots."
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 5, 2018 1:53 PM
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