Spider-Man faces his most testing challenge in Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. Loved ones are coming back in this epic storyline from the brilliant writer that brought us Spider-Verse, Superior Spider-Man, and Spider-Island. Spider-Man’s identity is out. The Jackal is back—and he has friends. In exchange for their loyalty, he is giving them a chance to reunite with their loved ones. With the Rhino, the Lizard, Electro, and Octavius on his team, the Jackal is a force to be reckoned with. But who else is coming back from Spidey’s past?
Writer Dan Slott has a lot of credits and notable works that range from Ren & Stimpy to Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, and plenty of Marvel heroes in between. So, he is well qualified to take Spider-Man on this journey. What’s ironic is that Slott chooses to start Dead No More with the loss of a loved one (no, he doesn’t come back—at least not in this issue). This is a great and clever way to start the story. The issue is written in such a way that there is little to no room for confusion. The pacing is steady, and it works well with the premise of the series.
For some reason, I think the most interesting part of the issue isn’t that these clones of those who have passed exist, but that they irritate Peter Parker’s spider senses. We can clearly tell that “New U” is creating somewhat evil clones, probably to help the Jackal, but what I’m curious about is what makes them evil in the first place.
Jim Cheung’s artwork is nearly flawless. There is a lot of movement to push the story forward, as well as a ton of detail to show us just what kind of strange science is going on here. When Cheung draws Jerry’s insides in a tube at “New U” headquarters, he adds the human skeletal structure, the tendons, it’s fabulous—haunting and a little creepy, admittedly, but absolutely fabulous. It’s a sight that won’t leave your mind even long after you’ve shut the book. Justin Ponsor’s colors help create a really dramatic tone for the issue. The colors are dark, deep, and rich. Along with Cheung’s precise line work, Ponsor is able to create the tone of this issue flawlessly and effectively.
We’ve waited a long time for this series, and I can honestly say that it was well worth the wait. Slott, Cheung, and Ponsor make an excellent creative team, bringing us emotion and action packed into one solid first issue. This is definitely a can’t-miss series for any and all Spider-Man fans.
Written by: Dan Slott
Illustrated by: Jim Cheung