Spider-Man comics have never shied away from being weird. Classic Spider-Man villain Doc-Ock not too long ago possessed Peter Parker's body only to eventually be removed, and events have only continued to get stranger from there.
Which is where the ongoing The Clone Conspiracy event comes in. Spider-Man and clones have a long history, and some of that history comes back in spectacular fashion in the latest issue of Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy.
Spoilers for Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy #3 below!
If you haven't been following Marvel's ongoing Spider-Man event, it's essentially about a villain by the name of the Jackal (aka Miles Warren) creating clones of dead characters from Spider-Man's past, characters that include Peter's lover Gwen Stacy and the villain Green Goblin. Why, exactly, has been unclear.
It's revealed in issue #2 that alternate dimension Spider heroes Spider-Gwen and Scarlet Spider have traveled throughout various realities of existence in an effort to stop a zombie-like apocalypse, an apocalypse that comes about when Peter partners with Miles Warren in order to perfect Warren's New-U cloning technology for reasons unknown.
Peter, of course, doesn't believe it. Why would he partner with Miles? Regardless, Spider-Gwen and Scarlet Spider insist that it's the truth.
It's when Peter confronts Jackal that the megaton reveal of the issue is dropped: Jackal isn't actually Miles Warren.
Instead, the man behind the mask is none other than Ben Reilly, aka the perfect clone of Peter Parker created by the real Jackal and who debutted in the original The Clone Saga back in the 1990s. While the two Spider-Men were initially enemies, eventually Peter's clone adopted the name of Ben Reilly (Ben being the first name of Peter's beloved uncle and Reilly being Aunt May's maiden name) and became the first hero to be called Scarlet Spider. Peter and Ben later became allies, with Ben even taking over as Spider-Man full time for a stretch.
Ben Reilly's died a number of times over the years, but it looks like he's back once more. The real question is what does he want, and how in all those alternate realities does he manage to convince Peter to join him? Luckily enough, readers get some answers at the very end of this issue.
It all comes down to Uncle Ben. Ben promises Peter that together, the two of them can perfect the New U cloning technology and bring back Uncle Ben, the key character from Spider-Man's origin story who's death forever changed Peter's world. This should be interesting. There are still two issues of The Clone Conspiracy left, but we are having a hard time imagining how things could get any crazier.