Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #394

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Power And Responsibility"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

If you didn't start back at our review of Web of Spider-Man #117 then you really should head back there to get up to speed, then join us once more as we carry on through Chapter One of The Clone Saga!

In Detail...

"Breakdown!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #394 (Story 1)
Oct 1994 : SMURF 394.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Power And Responsibility"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Liam Sharp, Mark Bagley
Inker:  Larry Mahlstedt, Robin Riggs
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
Staff Only
Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Astonishing Spider-Man (UK Reprint) #5
Articles: Watson, Anna, Aunt May Parker, Ben Reilly, Carnage, Chameleon, Kafka, Dr. Ashley, Gwen Stacy (Clone), The Jackal, John Jameson (Man-Wolf), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Vermin

Pages 1-2: Part 2 begins with the Clone on the rooftops, looking out onto the Manhattan skyline. He has so many memories of this city, but his heart goes cold as he realizes "these aren't my memories... they're his. These feelings don't belong to me." Over the last five years that he has spent on the road, he has come to terms with who he is - and who he isn't. He has resigned himself to living a life in the shadows.

Pages 3-5: Ravencroft looks like it's on fire. It's actually engulfed in impenetrable energy preventing anyone from getting in. Inside, Edward Whelan (Dr Kafka's assistant and also the man-eating Vermin from time to time) is so much terrified by Traveller that he reverts back into his Vermin persona. As he leaps to attack Traveller, he orders him to fall paralyzed. Mr. Nacht wants to take the opportunity to study him, but Traveller refuses saying that Whelan has suffered enough. Chakra turns him human again and teleports him outside the institute.

Pages 6-10: Spidey walks the corridors of Ravencroft thinking over the no win situation that he has walked into. He observes the Chameleon in his illuminated cell; the cell then darkens and Carnage's lights up. His reaction is that of total confusion as to what to do or where to turn.

Pages 11-14: A couple of brief interludes follow. After a little reassurance from Aunt Anna that she's doing the right thing, MJ flies out to Pittsburgh to make peace with her sister and father. We then see the Clone in Aunt May's room in the Forest Hills hospital. He is weeping over her when a female doctor, Doctor Caputo, comes in. She naturally believes him to be Peter Parker and asks if he could use a friend to talk to. "Doctor," he says, "you don't know the half of it."

Pages 15-21: Spidey continues to crawl through the corridors of Ravencroft, observed in the shadows by the enigmatic Scrier. He senses eyes watching him and voices laughing at him. He sees Traveller through a glass door, and before he can finish shouting at him, Traveller smashes through the glass and grabs him by the neck. He begins to look into Spider-Man's soul to discover what it is about him that obsesses the inmates to such a degree. There is something that he sees in his psyche that surprises him so much that he starts laughing. This is the final straw for Spidey. He can no longer stand being treated like a laboratory experiment and fights back. He hits, and hits, and hits, and hits, and hits, and... it makes absolutely no difference at all. Spidey collapses in total desperation, wanting to embrace the madness like Chameleon and Carnage rather than to live any longer in this cruel world. Scrier emerges from the shadows, and Traveller tells him that when he was ! looking into Spider-Man's soul, he discovered that... there's another one.

Pages 22-23: Chakra appears to the Clone in Aunt May's room with a choice from Traveller. He can either let Spider-Man die and have the life and identity that he's hungered for during his long years of exile, or go with Chakra to Ravencroft to risk his life to save the one man whose death would set him free. The plot thickens.

In General...

Again, there's nothing here to indicate that the Clone Saga should go so bad. This could easily have been played out for a few months, then tidily wrapped up. Sadly, it didn't go that way - but I guess that's no reason for not acknowledging that this story is perfectly acceptable on its own merits.

Overall Rating...

Still better than average. Three and a half webs.