Comics : Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #56

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This story is part of an Arc: "Smoke And Mirrors"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Peter Parker's clone - Ben Reilly - has recently reappeared in his life. Ben has been going about his business as The Scarlet Spider, while Peter has been dealing with a virus he was infected with. MJ recently announced to Peter she was pregnant (SSM #220). All the while, a mysterious figure called Kaine has watched over events, having visions of MJ dead. In an encounter with Doctor Octopus, who had saved Peter from the virus, Kaine snapped Ock's neck (ASM #398), killing him instantly. Meanwhile, Aunt May is still seriously ill in hospital.

In Detail...

"Truth And Deceptions"
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #56
Mar 1995 : SMURF 399.600 : SM Title
Summary: Jackal
Arc: Part 3 of "Smoke And Mirrors"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  Tom Lyle
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Tom Lyle
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Ben Reilly, The Jackal, Kaine, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Spidercide

Spidey jumps in to beat on Jackal but Gwen stops him and says 'it's me'. Peter goes mad and says he's happy with his life. The Jackal is egging Scarlet Spider on, saying it could be his life. Jackal tells Ben he is the REAL Peter. He tells Ben he's giving everything back to him. Kaine watches on from on high while Scrier watches him.

Jackal then attacks Ben for some reason before Peter intervenes. Jackal tells Peter he is real after all and Ben is the clone (jeez!). He tells Pete to go to Gwen, who degenerates in front of him. Jackal finds that incredibly amusing and disappears into some cryogenic tank telling Peter and Ben that neither of them is the real one. The other Jackal - Jack - tells the two Spiders where to get out before things explode and asks that if either of them find a solution for the degeneration that they let him know.

Peter and Ben both leave, not knowing who they each are. Meanwhile, Kaine watches, while Scrier watches him and the unopened pod rests in the rubble.

In General...

Well quite what the point of all this was, I'll never know. Who's real, who's a clone and so on. This three-parter just made a promising plot an utter shambles. The clone saga was going along all right before this. This is just what it didn't need though. Everything is now so convoluted that it's unclear who's who, what's what and where everything is going.

I'm not even sure what to say about the story itself as so little of it really makes sense. The art in Spider-Man 56 is gorgeous and Peter and Ben working together was pretty cool but everything else is just so draining.

Overall Rating...

The whole three-parter was confusing and unnecessary. We still know nothing of Kaine / Scrier / Traveller / Seward yet more people were introduced and everything just turned into one big mess. I have marked this up slightly because of the art.