Characters Appearing: Ashley Kafka, Aunt May Imposter, Aunt Watson, Boone, Carnage Symbiote, Chakra, Chameleon, Cletus Kasady (Carnage), Judas Traveller, Man-Wolf (John Jameson), Mary Jane Watson, Medea, Mr. Nacht, Scarlet Spider, Shriek, Spider-Man, Vermin
Web of Spider-Man #117
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #117
The nature of the "Saga" changed drastically from the original plans. The original idea was to have a relatively short crossover event where the Spider-Man we've known since the mid-70s (Amazing Spider-Man #150) was a clone. The original Peter Parker returns and was to eventually replace the "clone", allowing the clone to have a Happily Ever After ending, retiring from Spider-life and settling down with Mary Jane. But the initial success of the story caused Marvel's business side to demand that it go on longer. So the Spider-office extended the "Saga", dragging on the mystery of who was the original and who was the clone, and eventually mimicking Age of Apocalypse (which itself was spawned by Bob Harras anticipating the success of this and trying to compete with it) by replacing all of the Spider-titles with ones reflecting the event (e.g. this book becomes Web of Scarlet Spider). The replacement of Spider-titles begins in November 1995. Prior to that were a series of inter-Spider crossovers, beginning with this arc and running through Oct 95. One of those crossovers was the 6-part "Maximum Clonage", which i sometimes see referred to synonymously with the Clone Saga. But it's really just one of several sub-crossovers that take place during the "Saga", more or less in the middle of it. The original Saga was supposed to end in Amazing Spider-Man #400. I don't know when word came down that the event had to be extended (i.e. what we see in the issues up to #400 may have already been changed from the original intention based on the order to extend the event).
So "The Clone Saga" just refers to this entire period, although it can be broken up into individual components: the original saga as intended in the initial few crossovers (not to be confused with the "Original Clone Saga", as the mid-70s story is sometimes called), the other crossovers ("Maximum Clonage", etc.), and the replacement period.
I've been debating whether or not i will cover the "Saga". It's not something i read in realtime, and i've studiously avoided it since i came to know what it was and how poorly it was received among fans. My thought was that the excellent Life of Reilly covers the details well and all i could contribute would be my agonized screams. And since at the time of writing i've already limited the scope of what i'm covering, the Clone Saga was a good candidate for skipping. But despite it being generally recognized as an awful period of Marvel history, it's also an important one. So i did pick up this initial arc and the remaining crossovers in the Spider-books through the end of 1994, and i can continue to delay the decision on the larger Saga until after i take a break and come back for 1995.
It's worth understanding the original motivations for the crossover. Here is a quote from Terry Kavanagh, who came up with the idea of bringing back the clone. This quote is from Sean Howe's Marvel: The Untold Story, which, along with Life of Reilly, is one of my sources for the background information i'm providing here.
As the writers grew older and got married and had kids and got mortgages, we sort of wrote Spider-Man that way, and wrote him away from our audience. This was a way to get him back to his essence organically - without divorcing him, which would just give him more baggage.
So the idea was, in a large part, to undo Spider-Man's marriage. More generally, the idea was to metaphorically de-age Spider-Man so that he could be closer to how he was originally conceived. I am sure if Marvel could have found something in Spider-Man continuity earlier than the original clone story, they would have used that instead. The marriage is just the most obvious indication that Peter Parker was older. The attempt to undo the marriage fails this time around, but Marvel will of course eventually succeed in that regard. And there have been other efforts to recapture the flavor of Spider-Man's teenaged years - Untold Tales, Ultimate, and even Miles Morales - which is what Marvel really wants. As i've noted previously, Spider-Man was written as an adult long before the marriage (even by ASM #150), and it is basically impossible for Marvel to recapture the Lee/Ditko years, or even the Lee/Romita years, for the original 616 Spidey without a reboot that would make 2015's Secret Wars look small in scale. But with the marriage undone, Marvel could at least pretend that Spidey was something closer to his teen years.
So that is what Marvel's goal was. The next question is why? There seems to have always been a disconnect between Marvel and fans in this regard. We repeatedly hear about how Spider-Man had been written away from his roots. And certainly if Spider-Man were introduced in, say, the mid-80s, he would never have grown up the way he did. Just like the New Mutants, New Warriors, etc., he'd have remained a perpetual teenager (even if he somehow seemed more experienced than newly introduced teenagers, just like the New Mutants/X-Force remain young despite the introduction of Generation X, etc.). But the fact that Spider-Man grew up never seemed to affect the character's popularity or sales. Spider-Man in 1994 continued to be a top seller, rivaled only by the X-books. And the vast majority of fans reading Spider-books at this (or any) point grew up with the Peter Parker who had graduated high school, went to college, got a job, got married, etc.. The idea that there was some longing among fans for teen Spidey or some untapped market that would only accept a young Spider-Man seems to fly in the face of reality. And when i say that there was a disconnect between fans and writers... well, obviously the writers and editors involved with all of those decisions to have Peter "age" at any given moment clearly weren't against the idea. It's only natural to have your characters grow and evolve. And it's what separates something like the Marvel universe from something like, say, the Peanuts where Charlie Brown is perpetually a kid. So it seems that Marvel only regretted the decisions after the fact (with the exception of the marriage itself), and also didn't seem to learn from past "mistakes". For example, during this Saga it will be revealed that Mary Jane is pregnant. And, yes, that could have worked as part of Clone Peter's Happy Ending, but Marvel would have had to have been almost willfully blind to the possibility that the revelation about who was the clone would be eventually reversed to not see that they were now adding the "baggage" of a pregnancy to the list of things aging Spider-Man.
But i think that the issue was less about fans and more about attracting creators. The fact is that despite the sales, the Spider-Man books were creatively bankrupt and had been for some time (with occasional exceptions). I know that Roger Stern had been offered a return to Spider-Man at one point and turned it down on the grounds that he didn't want to write a married Spider-Man. And that may have been true of other writers as well. But, generally, i think blaming the bad writing on the marriage is a lame excuse. As i've noted quite a bit, the actual handling of the marriage has been poor, with MJ perpetually defined by either being in danger because of Spider-Man or sitting home worrying (and smoking) while Peter is out. It's like the writers couldn't think of anything to do with MJ except define her by her relationship to Spider-Man, but they also couldn't just leave the marriage alone and focus on other supporting characters, despite the Spider-Man books always having a great supporting cast to choose from. The real issue in my mind was the fact that there were five Spider-Man books which were not distinguished in any way. So the character was just stretched too thin and it was difficult to do anything fresh with him. All of this could have been solved. Find one writer who could write the marriage well and devote one of the Spidey books to Peter's personal life (the way the Peter Parker book was sort-of originally intended). Focus another book on Spidey's villains, along the lines of the work that DeMatteis was already doing. Take another book and sideline Spidey a bit, focusing instead on the investigative reporting done at the Daily Bugle. One book for straight-up super-hero action. Etc., etc.. Spider-Man and his supporting casts have a lot of possibilities, and it shouldn't have been difficult to attract strong creative teams to Marvel's most popular character. But i think the marriage just stuck in people's craws (it being a legacy of the Shooter era was probably also a factor) and blinded Marvel to other options. And of course on top of that was the pressure from above to do ever more bombastic and gimmicky events to raise sales. So a quiet realignment of the Spider-Man books (as happened when Christopher Priest took over as editor in the 80s) wouldn't have served that purpose. But of course it's also that pressure from above that caused the event to get extended and, ultimately, fail to do the very thing the event was intended to do.
I'm actually not against the original idea, with the understanding that it would of course eventually be reversed, just like, say, the period where Captain America was replaced. For a period of time, it could have led to some fresh new stories. But Marvel had to be aware that the clone reveal would be reversed. If not during the Saga, then certainly at some point afterwards. We've already seen replacement heroes - John Walker and James Rhodes - get un-replaced by the originals. But i guess Marvel did get away with the Jean Grey swapperoo and the "Alicia has been a Skrull for seven years" retcon (on the latter point, it's worth noting that Tom DeFalco is one of the Spider-Man writers during this Saga, and Life of Reilly describes him as being one of the first to get excited by Kavanagh's proposal; basically, any attempt to revert characters to the Silver Age is right up DeFalco's alley). Still, this is Spider-Man, and we are talking about 20 years, not 7. You'd have to be crazy to think that fans would accept the throwing out of literally decades of Marvel's most prominent character. At a minimum, you'd better have some (no pun intended) amazing stories lined up. You'd better have your Roger Stern equivalent already waiting in the wings, writing awesome stories taking advantage of this new/old status quo that you think is so important. Not the likes of Terry Kavanagh, Howard Mackie, and Tom DeFalco pumping out absolute garbage like "Judas Traveller". Sales did spike on the Spider books in the short term. But despite that, pressure from fans and creators ensured that the intended retcons withered on the vine. Among the creators was Dan Jurgens, who was (briefly) lured away from DC to write Spider-Man, but only on the condition that it be the real Spider-Man.
Well, it looks like i went and covered the entire Clone Saga already. But the above is mostly about what was intended to happen. Now we'll begin going through what actually happened.
We continue directly from the scene at the end of Spectacular Spider-Man #216.
A thought bubble from "Peter" immediately shows that this isn't just a robot duplicate or something, but of course readers had experienced so many red herrings during the fake parent incident that anything was possible and nothing was to be trusted.
But Peter tells Spider-Man that he's "your clone".
The clone then flees.
While Spider-Man and his clone fight, we get to the really awful stuff. A Dr. Judas Traveller and his entourage of students are given a tour of Ravencroft.
Despite being dressed like a pirate super-villain, Traveller is given the run of the place, and he sets about to perform some kind of mental scans of the prisoners - Chameleon, Shriek, and Carnage - and determine that they each are obsessed with Spider-Man. So Traveller tells his goons to get Spider-Man.
And takes over Ravencroft, teleporting the staff outside.
Spider-Man gets a psychic message from "Chakra" telling him to go to Judas Traveller or else Traveller will begin killing inmates. Spider-Man accepts the invite, despite it meaning that he won't be at Aunt May's side. And when he gets to Ravencroft, the "mysterious" Traveller ushers him in.
On the Life of Reilly site, it's speculated that Judas Traveller (alongside many of the other villains introduced during the Clone Saga) was inspired by the kind of vaguely motivated, mysterious villains that were appearing in the X-books. But i think it's worth remembering that Howard Mackie was one of the people writing the Clone Saga. And Mackie was basically the master of stringing along these kinds of characters on his Ghost Rider book. Judas Traveller certainly feels like something scrapped from the bottom of the Ghost Rider barrel.
In any event, i think it's telling how the crossover that kicks off the Clone Saga is cluttered up with a truly awful villain and a set-up that feels ripped off from Batman's Knightfall (although it only goes limply in that direction). This is before any upper management interference, so this is just a sign of how bad the writing was on Spider-Man books in general. Instead of just doing a straightforward story introducing the clone, the Spider-writers were trying for a pseudo-Claremontian weaving of subplots, but with all the grace of, well, Terry Kavanagh.
The four issues of this crossover were sold in two formats: regularly priced newsstand editions, and deluxe foil cover editions that were flip-books. On the flipside were stories expanding on the original 1970s Clone saga, showing the clone being born and struggling with his identity as a clone, and being abused by Miles Warren for what the real Peter "did" to Gwen Stacy. The issues take place mostly interspersed with the original story. I unfortunately have a mix of newsstand and deluxe books, so i'm not going to cover the story in a separate entry (or at all) but from what i do have, it doesn't seem like we're missing much.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This continues directly from the end of Spectacular Spider-Man #216. This is Power and Responsibility part one. It continues in Amazing Spider-Man #394.
Crossover: Power and Responsibility
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Hi gang, I had quit comics by this point but I have heard about it endlessly. I wont comment on the quality of the stories as I dont intent to read them but...
The general idea actually sounds pretty good to me. A chance for Spider-man to get a fresh start, unattached and basically as fnord notes, kinda young again. We like a young Spidey deep down. It wouldnt invalidate any of the past adventures. In fact, Id be happy that that Spider-man got a happy ending instead of being stuck in the eternal loop that superheroes live in. And it would give us a Spider-man learning or re-learning the ropes again, with a good excuse for inexperience and irresponsibility.
Posted by: kveto | April 5, 2018 2:08 PM
There are plenty of stories you can tell with a married Peter Parker. I like your ideas of having different ideas for each Spider-Book. That seems like a very easy way to get around writing stories with MJ. Bending over backwards to get rid of the marriage without actually, you know, doing it... always felt so cheap.
Why didn't they just kill MJ? Don't get me wrong, that's a horrible idea, but it's also a very 90's way of dealing with the situation. And at least it's simple.
Posted by: bigvis497 | April 5, 2018 2:29 PM
Just my opinion, but killing MJ would make Peter a WIDOWER which would age him more than a divorce. I mean the only widowers most people know are grandfather age.
Posted by: kveto | April 5, 2018 2:37 PM
Just skimming through reviews, I think these comics look interesting. I’ve been buying them up after a long time out of comics. Can’t wait to read them!
Posted by: Mquinn1976 | April 5, 2018 3:02 PM
I agree with bigvis497. In fact, the very first Spider-story I effectively read was the conclusion to the Lobos/Kingpin/Maggia War. Up to that point I had hardly read any super-hero comics; I was a big fan of the "Turma da Mônica" franchise, the top kiddie-oriented comics (in no pejorative sense of the word) of Brazil.
Thus was I introduced to the more realistic, more serious and less cartoony world of costumed crimefighters living in New York: Peter and Mary Jane discussing marriage issues, financial troubles, the problem of finding a new place to live, her difficulty in getting work as a supermodel, Lorraine's drug addiction, Aunt May's poor health, and Kristy's bulimia. I didn't know what bulimia was, and it shocked me. And I loved the whole marriage/family subplots, as much as I loved the super-hero stuff (I became an instant fan of the Lobo Brothers and Chameleon, Hammerhead and especially the Kingpin). So yeah, you CAN write plenty of stories with a married Peter Parker. And even a child can relate because the spirit, if not the problems, have universal human elements. Peter may have been a grownup, but he reacted with the kind of passion, perplexity, guilt, and strength of character that can really touch the human heart. Spider-Man's shtick is not being "a young dude", it's being "a young dude who had to mature far too quickly, that makes thing even harder." Marriage is not a problem; reacting to tragedy like a psycho is. Thus the curse of the post-Lifetheft period.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 5, 2018 3:30 PM
Yuck! This shit drove me away from comics and destroyed my love for Spider-Man for years. I hate everyone involved in it. Concept, intention, execution — just garbage. Fuck this.
Posted by: Robert | April 5, 2018 3:48 PM
For what it's worth, I think for the sake of your project some kind of coverage of this mega-story is necessary with regard to an analysis and history of continuity in the Marvel Universe, both month-to-month and across the decades. That said, it's your website/project, money, and time invested into this so don't let me tell you what to do. I will enjoy reading whatever you decide to post here as supplementary commentary to Life of Reilly.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | April 5, 2018 4:11 PM
I agree that editors and writers were unconnected to readers. I never saw anyone wish to have Peter return as a teenager. In fact, everyone seems to forget that Peter Parker was not a teenager for that long in comics. He graduated from high school in Lee/Dikto era. It’s a very brief time, comicwise. The Peter Parker that readers were used was a young adult, not a teenager. No wonder no one ever complained about him as an adult. I also don’t buy the criticism towards his marriage. No one complained about it during the McFarlane or Larsen eras.
The truth is that editors and writers thought that by reversing him back to young adulthood somehow things would get better, but they clearly forgot to come up with good stories for the proposed new status quo. The proof of this is that once they pushed Ben Reilly as a blond waiter, they simply forgot about the amazing supporting cast that Spider-Man always had. The real problem is that they milked the cow too much. There had been too much Venom, Carnage and crossovers and big events. The worse of all is that they still haven’t learned the lesson.
P.S.: The only aspect of Peter’s marriage that never worked for me was having MJ as a super model. I buy him having a gorgeous wife, but she should have had a normal career.
Posted by: Lecen | April 5, 2018 4:45 PM
I think I agree with everything Lecen just said. I don’t understand why current creators think that every superhero must be a teenager. Most superhero’s have been depicted as adults.
Posted by: Mquinn1976 | April 5, 2018 5:10 PM
My primary books as a child were Fantastic Four and Iron Man. I never closely followed the Spider books, but probably kept up with them via Wizard, or maybe perusing them in the magazine aisle. Even as a 9 year old, when I heard what was going on with the character during the Clone Saga I had no idea what was going through the writers' minds. None of it made sense to me.
Regarding the desire of the writers to write a teen, rather than an adult, I think it's relatively understandable. Teens generally have a larger number and variety of 'issues' that can be explored by the writer. They are more impulsive, less restrained, and still growing into themselves and their roles as a hero.
In the world of comic book continuity the status quo is incredibly powerful. It's hard to think the writers and editors genuinely believe this could be pulled off elegantly.
Posted by: Kubik | April 5, 2018 6:36 PM
'And when i say that there was a disconnect between fans and writers... well, obviously the writers and editors involved with all of those decisions to have Peter "age" at any given moment clearly weren't against the idea.'
Well, as you know, that's not entirely true. You pointed out in your entry for ASM Annual 21 that the marriage was mandated by Stan Lee and Jim Shooter, and that at least then-editor Christopher Priest was strongly opposed. I imagine other creators chafed at that kind of editorial dictate. Frankly the marriage didn't make all that much sense in continuity at the time.
That said, you're right that the marriage is no excuse for the precipitous decline in quality. Ah the 90s
Posted by: Andrew F | April 5, 2018 7:05 PM
"I don't know when word came down that the event had to be extended (i.e. what we see in the issues up to #400 may have already been changed from the original intention based on the order to extend the event)." As I understand it, the changes started when DeFalco was fired and Bob Budiansky took over the Spider books- Dr. Octopus's death was one of the first ones.
Posted by: Michael | April 5, 2018 8:18 PM
"Dr. Kafka tells Judas Traveller that Ravencroft has had a riot and a breakout already." I think the riot was supposed to be the incident in Web of Spider-Man Annual 10, not Spider-Man Unlimited 1, since the incident in the Annual involved multiple people.
Posted by: Michael | April 5, 2018 9:34 PM
I know you like Roger Stern a lot fnord, but I would think his refusal to write a married Spider-Man would be a big black mark on his record. It reminds me of John Byrne's description of why Aunt May was brought back after the Clone Saga, which he says was a big reason he agreed to take the job of writing the Chapter One-era reboot: "It was realized that killing off such an important, cornerstone character was a mistake -- the same mistake DC had made a couple of decades earlier, when they killed off Alfred and then realized the Batbooks did not work properly without him."
Not to rehash my looooong comment on the marriage issue, but this is what a hack writer would think, who thinks that every story featuring a character should follow a specific formula that precludes the passage of time and any meaningful change. Obviously there are certain elements of Spider-Man's identity that remain inviolate - it's hard to say that a story about, say, Peter as a well-paid researcher with a sizable fortune from patents is really a Spider-Man story (whoops). But if Spider-Man must remain forever single and worrying about his Aunt May, he effectively must remain frozen in a particular moment in time, unable to progress or move on in any way.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | April 5, 2018 10:29 PM
Stern, Byrne, and Quesada may not be able to write any other Spider-Man, but if no good writer would write a married Spider-Man without Aunt May and still feel like they were writing a "real" Spider-Man story, then he effectively isn't really a character so much as a franchise, closer to an early Silver Age DC character than a modern Marvel character. Marvel's inability to attract good writers to Spider-Man has more to do with their creative bankruptcy at this time and running out all their actual good writers with respect for continuity and change for the sake of the Image artists than getting away from the Spider-Man "formula". Hell, Tom DeFalco will end up creating Spider-Girl which will end up having a long life despite being constantly threatened with cancellation. If Tom "everything should be just like it was in the Silver Age" DeFalco can do it, it can't be that hard.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | April 5, 2018 10:33 PM
It’s really just a shame. I wholeheartedly agree that the books have been creatively bankrupt for years at this point, and that the Clone Saga is total drek, as executed. But only as executed: a temporary replacement by a seeming “original” who eventually turns out to be the clone after all — it could have been awesome. But as executed, it’s, um, not.
Posted by: Matt | April 5, 2018 11:18 PM
Wizard started pummeling the Clone Saga from day one before it even had a chance to really suck, naming Scarlet Spider "Mort of the Month" (i.e. lamest character of the month) with the mort-o-meter off the scale. In a reply to a letter they explained they were simply mad about the ending to the first Clone storyline (20 years old at that point) being revised away and that two Spider-Men diluted the franchise even further. They never really went into the quality of the books themselves.
I recently reread "Back from the Edge" and thought it was okay, but "Exile Returns" is abysmal. Maybe more thoughts later.
Posted by: iLegion | April 6, 2018 12:27 AM
I really hope you decide to continue with the Clone Saga, Fnord. I didn't read these in real time, but was able to track it all down a few years ago. I'll echo other posters in that I was expecting the worst, but tbh, knowing ow much of a train wreck it end sup being is actually part of the fun.
Posted by: DW | April 6, 2018 4:07 PM
Also, there'l at least6 be the Todd Dezago issues of Sensational int he mix. Those're worth it for the Looter story alone.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 6, 2018 5:15 PM
Regarding the comment about killing MJ, that actually was the next way of undoing the Spider-Marriage that they tried after the Clone Saga failed, and Kveto is correct that it just made Peter into a depressed widower. Clone sagas, wife apparently dying in explosions & deals with the devil were all different ways that editorial tried to make Spider-Man young again by getting rid of his marriage.
As Fnord points out, they didn't really need to get rid of the marriage at this point, what they needed to do was to get better writers than the likes of Kavanagh, & write the marriage better. Spider-Man was probably my favourite character & I'd quit the books (with the exception of some of DeMatteis' work on Spectacular) a few years ago at this point. The marriage hadn't got rid of me, it was terrible stories, lame villains, bad melodrama etc.
Michelinie's work had severely deteriorated in the last part of his run, and editorial dictating plots to him like "bring back Peter's parents, and we can't tell you yet if they're really his parents or not" certainly contributed to this. So in some ways it seems like editorial were bringing the clone back to fix the malaise that editorial were themselves causing. I appreciate the point about Stern not wanting to come back, but surely there were some better creators who wanted to work on Marvel's flagship character, marriage or not? Instead the editors were just trying to create another sales event like Death of Superman/Knightfall etc.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | April 6, 2018 6:56 PM
I honestly don't see the problem with a married Spider-Man-" Grant Morrison spent his whole run in Animal Man with the main character married with kids. And it was a really good book.
Posted by: Jay Montoya | April 6, 2018 7:01 PM
According to DeMatteis' recollection in "Comics Creators On Spider-Man", DeFalco was the last to be convinced of the idea of the clone taking Peter's place, and initially hated it. Kavanagh & Fingeroth convinced the other writers, with Fingeroth claiming that there was a perception that Spider-Man was "boring" & that they "needed to do something to really goose the books, something to get people excited".
DeMatteis says at first he was not interested in the clone ("Oh, God, no!") but when Kavanagh elaborated on the idea in a following meeting, he became interested in the psychological aspects of identity that the clone plot raised, and "the more we discussed the Clone idea, the more pumped we got". DeFalco turned up at the next meeting intending to talk them out of it, but instead they convinced him with their enthusiasm & he decided to write on of the books himself.
The same book also includes DeFalco interviewing Stern, there's an amusing moment where they mention that Stern had intended to stop readers writing in asking about the Gwen clone by writing a story showing the Gwen clone had aged at an exponential rate & was now an elderly woman about to die. DeFalco (then Stern's editor) told him to forget about clones, which they both acknowledge was good advice that DeFalco should have followed himself.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | April 6, 2018 7:21 PM
So, uhm... is it lame to admit that, when I first read that story (which happened near the end of my high school years), I actually thought that Judas Traveller was cool? And that he might've been one of the factors that influenced me to study psychology during my university time..?
Posted by: Piotr W | April 6, 2018 7:55 PM
Posted by: Pootas Trashier | April 6, 2018 9:05 PM
Posted by: Piotr W | April 6, 2018 9:14 PM
Judas Traveller was a nice character concept - certainly far better than most of those that ran around those days, such as Venom for one.
In a better climate he could have been memorable.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 6, 2018 11:11 PM
Hey, I started a Spider-man: Marriage thread in the forum if anyone is interested: https://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=140
Posted by: kveto | April 7, 2018 4:13 AM
Hi fjord, the riot at Ravencroft that is being referred to actually took place in Web of Spider-Man annual 10. That was also perpetrated by Shriek.
Posted by: Bigdaddyk | April 7, 2018 1:23 PM
Judas Traveller is just another version of the Beyonder.
I can't recall what was the final fate of Traveller. The writers clearly had no endgame with this character. That suggests a lack of planning with the Clone Saga.
Posted by: OptimusFan | April 7, 2018 1:36 PM
"That suggests a lack of planning with the Clone Saga."
You don't say..? ;)
Anyway, the final fate of Traveller was the reveal that he was just a perception-altering mutant deluded into thinking he was some sort of demi-godlike character. Which seemed to go against that one issue when he got stuck in a time-space vortex and he was shown to be immortal and having been present during Christ's crucifixion...
Posted by: Piotr W | April 7, 2018 2:03 PM
@Jonathan, son of Kevin: "Instead the editors were just trying to create another sales event like Death of Superman/Knightfall etc."
Things would get even worse in the "Norman Osborn is Responsible for Everything Including People Slipping on Banana Peels" Era. They tried to recreate "Born Again" by having Spider-Man kick the living shit out of Norman Osborn ON CAMERA (spider-sense must've been on sleep mode) and being accused of murdering some shmoe. 'Cuz Spider-Man was never given a bad rep. Osborn is no Kingpin, people!
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 7, 2018 2:10 PM
Did Judas Traveller ever get a partner called Blues Priest?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2018 2:34 PM
Good one, Mark. Maybe that's what Scrier was supposed to be, the Blue Priest. Of course, he's no bluer than "Mystery Men"'s Blue Rajah, but considering all the stuff Scrier was supposed to be but oops he wasn't, it'd be a minor detail.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 7, 2018 3:32 PM
Piggybacking off Mr. Drummond's comment, Judas Traveller could potentially be the name of the world's strangest novelty/cover band. Though I would imagine they would not be near the class of Dread Zeppelin.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | April 7, 2018 7:45 PM
And if Judas Traveller wanted to exchange communication with Blues Priest, they’d use Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Ba dum bum.
Posted by: Andrew | April 8, 2018 12:40 PM
That would make Judas Traveler Tortelvis!
Posted by: VtCG | April 8, 2018 1:38 PM
Supposedly the creators’ growing older led to them making Spidey older—but in fact, I’m pretty sure the opposite was the case. Older writers pined for their bygone youth, and for the Spidey of their youth. Marvel as a whole had a weird mix of nostalgia and ‘90s ‘tude during the DeFlaco years, but real change and growth was out of the question. Although that becomes ironic with the Spider-Cline because instead of getting a reset, unmarried Peter Parker, we get a blond dude named Ben who works at the coffee shop that the characters from Friends frequent. Scrapping 20 years of continuity would be one thing, but replacing Peter with a dull new Character (in effect) was nuts.
Traveller I thought was a DeMatteis character. He’s reminiscent of Haven, the new age-y villainess he created for X-Factor.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 8, 2018 11:54 PM
Thanks Michael and Bigdaddyk regarding the riot reference.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 9, 2018 1:14 PM
Pootas, don't be so hard on Piotr! There, there, Piotr, I used to think Judas Traveller was pretty cool too, when I first knew of him. And you're a better man for studying Psychology, anyway. Like Luis said, the concept of Judas Traveller was cool (if not very Spider-y), or could've been, if the writers themselves knew what the concept was. Back then, I thought they did, and I eagerly anticipated each tantalizing clue they dropped me, blissfully unaware they needed some themselves. Hey, he's connected to the Jackal somehow, and "Kaine't Be Beat" Kaine knows of Scrier the Blue Priest, and woooo, there's certainly some stuff about to happen and...sheesh, when are his motivations gonna get a LITTLE BIT clearer? It seemed they were dropping more questions than clues. As someone pointed out, if it was just about "understanding evil" he could've boned up on his Immanuel Kant and Thomas Aquinas. Shit, Judas Traveller inspired Piotr to study Psychology, but I doubt it if Piotr ever took over an insane asylum and threatened to kill its inmates (if you have, Piotr, gives us a heads up). And heck, that's kinda sorta evil in itself, maybe Judas oughta look in the mirror sometimes (and realize his threads aren't really doctor material). BTW, it soon dawned on me that Judas's and his "large entourage's" outfits made it seem they belonged in an asylum in more ways than one. How come Kafka didn't pick up on that?
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 9, 2018 1:19 PM
Oh, I am so so so so glad that I stopped reading all of the Spider-Man books a few months before this happened!
Judas Traveller and his entourage look like they're ready to go clubbing in Manhattan.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 10, 2018 1:23 PM
It does bother me a bit that when Ben tells Peter he's the clone, Peter refers to him as "the Jackal's pawn". Obviously Peter's not in his best frame of mind & has been dealing with duplicates of his parents etc relatively recently, & obviously Ben was created by the Jackal, but it just seems like an odd choice of words by Kavanagh, any readers who hadn't read ASM =149 might have got the impression that Ben actually assisted the Jackal in some way.
Instead, it was just that Peter & Ben fought for about a page because the Jackal said only the real Spider-Man could defuse the bomb (how exactly that would work I don't think was ever explained), & at the end Peter wasn't sure whether he was the clone or not, but he didn't think of himself as "Jackal's pawn". In fact, the whole cloning of Peter serves no real purpose for the Jackal other than to mess with Peter's head a bit more, because the Jackal knocks Peter out more than once, and could just have killed him as he'd already tried to do at the end of ASM # 147.
It seems to take away a bit of the punch of the ending of #149 if Peter doesn't see the clone as an exact duplicate of him who thinks exactly like him but died, instead seeing him as a pawn. But then I guess at this point that's already been changed by Conway himself who retconned them to be innocent people who'd been modified into 'clones'.
I realise there are at least 263 things in this issue more worth complaining about, but for some reason it bothers me.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | April 14, 2018 2:52 PM
Good point, Jonathan, son of Kevin. It hadn't occurred to me and now that you mention, it does seem a little weird.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 15, 2018 12:15 PM
I realise there are at least 263 things in this issue more worth complaining about
Kind of weird how you picked the exact number of issues "Spectacular" lasted.
Posted by: iLegion | April 15, 2018 5:40 PM
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