From Trace Shelton
Dear Peter Parker Pals,
The Age of Creativity, long thought dead by die-hard comic fans of the pre-1990s, may be rising from the ashes. I am referring, of course, to the recent response by Marvel higher-ups to the immense disapproval of the convoluted and unimaginative storylines that have been running rampant through Spidey titles within the last couple of years. Finally, Peter Parker, the one true Spider-Man, will be returning to action. Although I hate that it had to come to such a sorry state of affairs before editors finally reacted to the readers' cries of anguish, I am delighted to learn that we actually do have some power over what is done to our beloved heroes, even if only by putting the crunch on Marvel's pocketbook.
I am concerned, however, over what will be done with Ben Reilly. Although he is actually "another" Peter Parker, he has been portrayed by writers as a sort-of long lost brother to Peter. Even though I detest the entire clone concept, a really love Ben as a character and I hope that the Spidey-people will keep him around. I really enjoy watching the exploits of Ben and Peter, as they have developed a close bond and have become almost family to one another. They hang out (literally), laugh, quarrel, and work together just as actual brothers would do. I know that the idea of two Spider-Men swinging around New York is not feasible and is overkill, but I hope that Ben will remain as a powered "brother", even if it means his moving to another city. This is the only brother-type team in the Marvel Universe, and it would be a crime of Maximum Clonage magnitude to see it come to an end.
From Prasad Cherian
I have just read your review of the Spiderman issue in which Ben finds out that it is he, not Peter, that is infact Spiderman. Although you felt that this really could be true, because the clone would have been more rested to take out the real spiderman, I am afraid I have to disagree with you due to a few things.
First off, if you were to go back to that issue, you would find that both Spidermen had just woken up to do battle in order to save Ned Leeds. Both were just as fresh as each other considering the Jackal's treatment of the clones as seen in previous more current Spiderman issues.
My next bit of evidence may seem a little bit dubious considering the source, but I think it will help prove my point. If you look in the second "volume" of What If... (#12 I think) you would find that Marvel already tackled this idea of what would have happened if the clone had won. A number of problems arose for the spiderman that is now named Ben that would not have existed and did not exist for Peter the way the real story turned out.
First off was the apparent lack of memory in "cloned" spiderman. All he really could remember was up to the time that he gave a tissue sample to Prof. Warren and nothing else. In fact, he did not even know how or when Gwen had died, the fact that he and Flash were now friends, and of course his new friendship with Osborn's kid (Harry?). On top of all of this, he is so far behind in his school work that he thinks that he might have to repeat whatever year he was in college (Freshman or Sophomore I believe).
Also this spiderman remarks that the spiderman who would have been Peter in this issue looked older and bigger, in order to give the "clone" a better chance to take the younger, smaller spiderman down. If you have read this issue you of course know that in the end, the clone figure out that he was really just that.
Yeah, I guess that 'What If' did suggest that the 'original' was actually older and bigger that the clone. Then again, a 'What If' is exactly that.