Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #149

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This story is part of an Arc: "Original Clone Story"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 1995.

Background...

I'm going to stick my neck out a little this time. Yes, I'm going to look back at this issue which caused all the fuss - the October 1975 issue where Spider-Man fights Spider-Man, all courtesy of the twisted mind of The Jackal. This just came out in one of those Silver-Coated collector's reprints edition which faithfully reprints the original issue including all the original ads. Almost as good as owning the real thing.

In Detail...

"Even If I Live, I Die!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #149
Oct 1975 : SMURF 031.500 : SMURF 123.650 : SMURF 123.850 : SMURF 149.500 : SMURF 149.700 : SM Title
Summary: First Clone of Spider-Man (Ben Reilly)
Arc: Part 1 of "Original Clone Story"
Editor:  Marv Wolfman
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Ross Andru
Inker:  Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  Gil Kane
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #149
 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #126
 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #7
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Clone Gensis (TPB)
Articles: Ben Reilly, Betty Brant, Gwen Stacy (Clone), The Jackal, Jameson, J. Jonah, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Leeds, Ned, Robertson, Joe "Robbie", Tarantula I

Peter has just narrowly escaped death at the hands of Tarantula and The Jackal, in Amazing #147/#148. He is still stunned from the re-appearance of Gwen in issue #144. He and Ned Leeds have discovered that Gwen is indeed a Clone. Miles Warren, Peter's professor, has pointed the finger of suspicion at his lab assistant Anthony Serba. However, when Peter goes to investigate Serba's apartment he finds Tarantula.

Peter defeats Tarantula, but is caught from behind by The Jackal, who is revealed then and there to be Miles Warren. When Spider-Man recovers consciousness at the start of Amazing #149, The Jackal humiliates him in a brief battle, and then launches into a Soliloquy, during which we learn that Miles loved Gwen, and was crushed when he learned of her death. He and Serba experimented with cell samples taken from Peter and Gwen before her death, and successfully cloned them both.

He accidently killed Serba in the heat of the moment, attempting to keep him quiet about the successful cloning. He disposed of the body, and developed schizophrenic tendencies, believing that it was 'The Jackal' who killed Serba, not himself. He developed weapons and a costume for himself, while tending the growing clones. When Gwen emerged, he brought out her latent memories via hypnosis and re-education. Having finished his monologue and departs, telling Spider-Man to come to Shea Stadium that night if he wishes to see Gwen again. He tells Spider-Man that it will be the 'Final Battle - between Spider-Man and his Hidden Self'.

Peter learns that Ned Leeds is missing, and keeps his appointment at the stadium. When he arrives, Jackal attacks and drugs him. The last thing panel before he succumbs to unconsciousness for the fifth time in a week, is The Jackal leaning over him with a Syringe, saying "Sleep Well, and when you awake, you'll be A New Man."

When he comes round, he says "Wow, I feel like I've been stung by a hornet." Simultaneously, another voice echoes his words. Yes, it's the Spider-Man and the Spider-Clone. Jackal has removed some of Parkers RNA cells, and updated the memories of the Spider-Clone, so that they both believe themselves to be The Real Spider-Man.

Ned Leeds is hanging from a bomb, which Jackal tells them is sensitive to allow only the real Spider-Man to defuse it. The two Spider-Men fight to be the one to defuse the bomb. As time runs out, Gwen tells Jackal the he is doing a terrible thing and that she hates him. Miles Warren realises has a flash of normalacy and wracked with guilt he rescues Ned Leeds. He doesn't manage to avoid the blast himself however, and the ensuing explosion kills him. One of the Spider-Men is also killed by falling debris - but which one remains? Only time might tell...

Gwen packs her bags and leaves for parts unknown. Peter returns to his apartment and finds Mary-Jane there. He has been almost ignoring her for the past months while he deals with his confusion over the returned Gwen. Now as he opens the door to find her there...

"...Mary Jane! Lady, am I ever glad to see you!"
"Do you mean that for real Tiger? For real?" she asks
"Come here, and I'll show you..." he replies, as he clicks the door shut.