Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #51

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!

Story 'A Heart Beat Away!'

Pages 1-4: The Clone is still in May's room in the moments after Chakra's visitation. He is battling about what Chakra had said concerning Peter being killed within the hour unless he saves him. He realizes it's really no choice at all. May has essentially raised them both with the same sense of integrity and responsibility. This is also the first time that we learn his name - Ben Reilly. 'Ben' after his Uncle Ben, and 'Reilly' was Aunt May's maiden name. But after four pages of padding and pointlessness, he slips on his Spider-Man mask and exits out the window.

Pages 5-6: Outside the room, a nurse tells Dr Caputo that they're getting a flatline on May's monitor. Caputo and the nurse run to the room while Caputo screams "We have a code red!" (actually it's code blue for a flatline!). When they get to the room, they are somewhat relieved to discover that it's a simple case of the monitor cable disconnecting (man, this is hospital sucks - the doctors don't know the difference between a code red and a code blue, and the monitors are crap). Caputo wonders where "Mr. Parker" could be as she never saw him leave. But we did, didn't we kids?

Page 7: We see Spider-Man being restrained by a metallic brace in one of the cells in Ravencroft. Judas Traveller is preparing himself for the Clone's arrival, having dismissed this Spider-Man as a disappointment. He instructs Mr Nacht to allow "the other" to enter and to have Boone and Medea engage him once he arrives. As Nacht walks off, Judas stops him - "And, Nacht... I will expect copious notes."

Pages 8-9: Ben arrives outside and easily walks through the energy barrier that has proven impenetrable to everyone else. His spider-sense warns him just in time to dodge a blast from Medea's rifle. Boone reminds her that Traveller doesn't want him dead, they're just supposed "to play with him a little."

Pages 10-11: Meanwhile back in his cell, Spidey is struggling to break free. In his mind's eye he sees a collection of people from his past and his initial urge is to escape them all. But it is Peter Parker (or is it Ben Reilly - it is left deliberately ambiguous) who he then imagines coming to him, reminding him that they have the power and the responsibility.

Pages 12-14: Outside, Ben makes it past Boone and Medea into Ravencroft. He is clearly not enjoying this. He doesn't want this fight or this life - he just wants to rescue Peter and get back to whatever it is he has passing for a life. Just then, another blast from Medea comes engaging him in battle one more time.

Pages 15-16: Spider-Man is having an imaginary battle just to waste a couple more pages. Once he's done beating up the imaginary Green Goblin, Traveller says: "You have emerged from your dance with madness. Shall we proceed then?"

Pages 17-19: Ben also has the "power and responsibility" phrase running through his mind. He defeated Boone, and as soon as Medea's ripped the mouth section of his spider-mask, he lets her have it as well. He leaves them both webbed up as he races off to find Peter.

Pages 20-22: Spidey breaks free of his restraints and smashes through the glass to attack Traveller. Judas grabs him by the neck and tells him that this is one battle that cannot be won with fists. Just then, Ben appears and his kick releases Traveller's grip on Peter. Ben orders Traveller to "Move aside. Now!" Traveller then smiles back: "I am afraid that is not going to happen. Not just yet."

General Comments

The mystery deepens. Traveller has great potential. Shame it comes to little. But that's a review for another time.

Overall Rating

Nothing wrong with this. Three and a half webs.