Friday, December 5, 2014

Send in the Clones

Some clones from Marvel that I have a soft spot for.

Madelyne Pryor/Goblin Queen/Red Queen

Maddie started off as a human that happened to look just like Jean Grey. She was never supposed to be a clone until Marvel decided to bring Jean back and had to make people forget what an jerk Scott was to her. You know, the fact he ran off from his wife and child to be with Jean (who knew nothing about the situation for a long time.) This meant Maddie and the marriage had to go. So Madelyne was approached by a demon and unknowingly chose evil since she assumed it was just a dream. Combined with her fury over Scotts' actions and learning of her own origins...well she didn't take it well. She decided to get together with her husbands' brother and kill her baby. Although the latter never happened you can guess her son (Cable) has a somewhat awkward relationship with her. Although to be fair everything is awkward in the Summers family.

Despite this (and the creepy subtext in X-Man which I'm still ignoring) I always felt bad for Maddie. She was very likable when she was introduced and then found out her life was masterminded and royally screw her over. Maddie had no choice but to fall for Scott simply because she was programmed to. Being created just so she could conceive a child. Tossed aside by her husband, by her creator, used by demons and having a huge identity problem. She's not one of my favorite characters but I do like her. In X-Man she became something of an anti-hero/anti-villain although I believe she's gone back to super villainy afterward.
Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider 1/Spider-Man 2
(Ben is the clone in the middle.)
The Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider mini was the first Spider comic I was introduced to when my sister bought it for me. Although I wouldn't fully get into comics until sometime after he died I read up on the back issues and adore this guy. Yes the Clone Saga was a mess but Ben was never one of the problems. His minis (Lost Years and Redemption) were wonderful stories and for me they weren't just the best part of the Clone Saga. Those stories were some of the best Spider-Man stories I ever read. Which is kind of weird since neither focuses on Peter Parker but rather his clones. They explored who Ben was as a character and how he differed from Peter. More than any of the issues in the main titles they drove home the identity problems and the longing for freedom being a clone caused him to feel. Bens' suicidal thoughts cast a unexpected darkness yet there remains a hope that manages to make his struggles all the more heroic. He overcame his self destructive impulses to become a stronger person even inspiring others along the way.
Bens' relationship with his "brothers" (yes plural) is fascinating to read. With Peter he has to earn his trust and by the end they regularly refer to each other as "bro." They genuinely cared for one another and are there for the other. Peter trusted Ben with his legacy. I prefer Ben in the role over Peter after OMD (before they were tied.) While he went through his own dark period (like believing the love of his life committed suicide) he was actually pretty light hearted when he became a costumed hero. Ben might have done some heroic things on the road but he was out of practice prior to returning to New York since he tried to steer clear of that life. That made it more challenging especially when he briefly took over the mantle of Spider-Man. In the end Ben died saving Peter and he has a pretty big legacy over in the MC2 verse. In that world baby May grows up to become Spider-Girl wearing his costume. He also has a son that's pretty interesting even if he isn't a spider per se.

Kaine Parker/Scarlet Spider 2

(It's debatable how many offical Scarlet Spiders there have been. For now I'm saying he's the 2nd.)

 Introduced as something of an anti-hero/anti-villain Kaine is actually the first clone of Peter Parker. He was imperfect and dying painfully thanks to early flaws in the cloning process. Believing Ben Reilly was the real deal and Peter the clone he caused problems for Ben over the years. Kaine also had moments where he explored his own death wish after living such a hard life. His creator tried to murder him for being imperfect, the woman he loved turned out to be a dirty cop, he was constantly in agony, and really had no one. Unlike his brothers Kaine killed and worked as an assassin for a time. He eventually made peace with Ben who he saw as a far better person and after his death acts as inspiration.

With Ben there was always some respect even when Kaine was trying to convince himself that he hated him. Peter and Kaine have a more confusing relationship, at least from what I've seen given later input. At first he was trying to protect Peter (since he assumed he was the clone) then he hates him and now their somewhat close? Yost has mentioned that Kaine used to be slightly insane thanks to his past illness which might explain the confusion. The Parker growing closer part happened after Kaine died to protect Peter and came back thanks to the Other. (Long story there.) I think Peter knows there's good in him now, plus the sacrifice reminded him of Ben. When he died Peter gave him the Parker name (Kaine currently has no idea.) Kaine himself is a lot of fun to follow since his return to comics.


  1. I always felt a bit sorry for Maddie too. There is no denying that Scott ROYALLY screwed her over. And then he did it to Jean with Emma.

    Scott really can be a jerk.

  2. I feel for Jean and a little for Emma but especially Maddie. The only reason she was created was as a placeholder for Jean to make babies for Sinister. Maddie had no choice in loving him, Sinister made sure of that. Then Scott abandons Maddie, her creator sends people to murder her and they take her baby.