The amazing Spider-Man is known for taking on all kinds of weird and bizarre foes such as goblins, octopi, and symbiotes. But one of Spidey’s all-time least favorite subjects is, without a doubt, clones. The so-called “Clone Saga” was one of the biggest comic book storylines of the 1990s, and it was a tangled web that weaved through every element of the web-head’s personal life, even calling his own identity as the “real” Peter Parker into question. To this day, it remains one of the most infamous storylines in the web-slinger’s history, and some of the Clone Saga’s most important characters, like the Jackal and Scarlet Spider, are still involved in Spidey’s life today.
While there’s no question that the handling of the Clone Saga itself left something to be desired, the actual concept and characters had a lot of potential. Tom Holland has recently suggested that he’d love to do the Clone Saga in a Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, and it isn’t such a stretch to imagine it happening: there are probably hundreds of screenwriters who would love to get in there, streamline the arc, cut out all of the messiness, and do “their” version of it.
But what many may not realize is that the Clone Saga involved more clones than just Scarlet Spider. There are actually quite a few Peter Parker clones out there — some of them grown in a lab by people other than the Jackal. In this list, we’re going to look back through all of the Spider-Clones out there, and figure out which ones were the best, the worst, and somewhere in between. Without further ado, here is Every Spider-Man Clone, Ranked.
18. The Live Action 1970s Spider-Man Clone
If you’ve never seen the 1970s live action Spider-Man TV series starring Nicholas Hammond… well, don’t go rushing out for it. This show didn’t hold a candle to the classic Bixby/Ferrigno Incredible Hulk. It was campy, low budget, and totally messed up on the whole “great power/great responsibility” theme. Seriously, even Stan Lee hated this show.
Due to budget restrictions, this Spider-Man mainly only fought against gangsters instead of supervillains. But surprisingly, the series did feature the only (so far) live action depiction of the Clone Saga to date, in the episode “Night of the Clones.” Here, the Jackal is replaced by a character named Dr. Moon, who creates an evil clone of himself. The Dr. Moon clone then goes on to create a clone of Spider-Man (also played by Nicholas Hammond, of course). The Spider-Man clone dies by the end of the episode.
If there were an award for the “Lamest, Most Unnecessary Spider-Man Clone of All-Time,” it would go to this guy. He’s a shining example of why the Clone Saga was so difficult to read through at times.
Ben Reilly was cool. Introducing Kaine, the mysterious and torn “original” clone, was also cool. What certainly wasn’t cool was when they decided to introduce yet another clone, who also believes himself to be the original Peter Parker, though certainly none of the readers fell for it. It didn’t help that he got saddled with the most ridiculously ’90s codename ever. Seriously, “Spidercide?”
In addition to having all of Spider-Man’s powers, Spidercide could control his body’s mass, form, and shape on a molecular level, which basically gave him the ability to do anything that the plot needed him to do, whether it made sense or not. These powers also meant he could never really get killed, which means we all have to live in dread of the day that some nostalgic writer decides to resurrect him. God help us.
16. That Entire Army of Spider-Man Duplicates in Maximum Clonage
Yes, there really was a Spider-Man storyline named Maximum Clonage. Yes, it really features an army of Spider-Man clones. Fun? Not really.
Basically, Ben Reilly has to face off against literally hundreds of Spider-Man clones just like himself, all at the same time, with all of them trying to kill him. Why? How? Who knows. One can imagine that it must have cost a fortune for the Jackal, AKA Dr. Miles Warren, to sew all those hundreds of perfect little Spider-Man costumes. None of them seemed to possess much in the way of personality, and really, the only reason this faceless mob ranks above Spidercide is just because Spidercide is so lame.
As you can tell, once the Jackal got a sample of Peter’s DNA, he never stopped having fun with it. Another one of his monstrous cloning experiments produced this insanely musclebound Peter Parker specimen, known as Guardian.
Yes, the character above is a Spider-Man clone. He may not look like it, but he is.
Guardian is one of the Jackal’s earlier Spider-Man clones, from before the procedure was perfected, and so he suffers from rapid cellular generation. As a result, the Jackal locks him in a stasis pod for most of his life, only unleashing him later on so that Guardian can attack Peter and Ben. Guardian degenerates soon afterward, dying in the arms of his best friend — who, as it happens, is also a Spider-Man clone named “Jack.”
Guardian’s best friend, and another one of the early Peter Parker clones, is this short, hairless little guy known as Jack. His altered physical condition compared to the original Peter Parker is due to Jack’s clone degeneration. His powers are also significantly weakened, to the point where he can’t crawl up walls anymore. But yes, he’s still a Peter clone.
Jack is the right hand man of the Jackal. Which, if you think about it, is pretty creepy — you know, the notion that Dr. Warren surrounds himself with little copies of Peter Parker to serve him. It’s hard to say why Jack decided to stay by the side of his insane creator, but as the Clone Saga goes on (and on, and on…) it doesn’t last. After betraying the Jackal, he succumbs to clone generation, and he has never been seen again since.
The zombie-like figure known as Carrion is one of Spider-Man’s scariest enemies. Though his origins are a bit complicated, Carrion began as simply a clone of Dr. Miles Warren, the Jackal, and eventually evolved into a sentient virus that turns anyone it possesses into Carrion. Though Carrion never got as clone-obsessed as the man his genetics were copied from, Carrion did create at least one Spider-Man clone of his own. Not surprisingly, it’s a creepy one.
The “Spider-Amoeba” is technically a clone of a college student named Randy Vale, which was then augmented by an injection of Spidey’s DNA. This amoeba-like creature then grows into a monstrous beast with all of Spider-Man’s powers, but no human instincts, morals, or intelligence. Though Spider-Man has a tough fight against the Spider-Amoeba, it eventually turns on Carrion himself, and both villains die when the whole lab catches on fire.
12. Superior Octopus
Otto Octavius, the mad scientist better known as Doctor Octopus, has been through some crazy stuff in the last few years. After spending a pretty solid chunk of his life as one of Spider-Man’s archenemies, Ock’s body started succumbing to the damage, so he did a little mind-swap with Peter Parker. This trapped Peter in the body of the dying Octavius, while Ock himself was free to swing around in Peter’s body as the all-new, “superior” Spider-Man.
Since then, Peter’s managed to make his way back to his own body, while the original Doc Ock has died. However, Octavius did save a copy of his consciousness before his untimely death, and this little mental clone of Doc Ock’s mind has now managed to make his way into the physical “Proto Clone,” a perfect duplicate of Peter Parker’s body. Now possessing both the brilliant mind of Otto Octavius and a cloned body of Spider-Man (with no pesky Parker consciousness inside it), the new Ock has taken to calling himself the Superior Octopus.
11. Spider-Carnage from the Animated Series
Any kids who grew up watching the classic ’90s cartoon Spider-Man: The Animated Series will remember this guy, the climactic villain who appeared in the show’s final episode.
In the alternate universe that this character hails from, this version of “Peter Parker” is a person who for years believed himself to be the original Spider-Man, until tests by Dr. Curt Connors reveal that he is actually the clone, and Ben Reilly is the original. Overcome with rage, this clone then bonds with the Carnage symbiote. He then begins working to destroy all of reality as we know it, until the day is saved just in the nick of time by the heroic version of Spider-Man from the TV show’s reality.
This animalistic Spider-Man clone was created during the comic book version of the Infinity War, generated by the cosmic power of the Infinity Gauntlet. Originally a living fractal, this creature was given shape during the conflict, crafted into a monstrous duplicate of Spider-Man. Similar nightmarish clones were generated for several other superheroes as well, but Spidey’s “Doppelganger” was the only one who survived the storyline.
Possessing no real motivation or strong will of its own, Doppelganger has since become attached to its “parents,” the murderous duo of Carnage and Shriek. It follows them around as their loyal, murderous companion, though Carnage is about as nasty a parent as one would expect him to be, trying to kill Doppelganger whenever the duplicate gets on his nerves.
9. Ultimate Carnage
Speaking of Carnage…
In Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Carnage is not the symbiotic spawn of Venom that gets bonded to a mass murderer. As scary as Cletus Kasady might be in the Marvel Universe, this version of Carnage is just as creepy: it’s a vampiric organism that needs to feed off the genetic material of other living beings in order to survive. One of these beings, sadly, ends up being the Ultimate version of Gwen Stacy, who dies at Carnage’s hands — while looking into Peter Parker’s face. Like we said, it’s a seriously creepy story.
This version of Carnage is also, at it happens, a Spider-Man clone. It is created by Curt Connors, who bonds Peter Parker’s DNA to that of the Lizard, and then combines this with a sample from the Venom suit, resulting in what is probably the most horrifying clone on this list.
Amalgam Comics was a fun ’90s crossover that combined Marvel superheroes with DC’s finest, resulting in a lot of new fan-favorite characters like Dark Claw, a character who was half-Batman and half-Wolverine. Spider-Man got merged with the Kon-El incarnation of Superboy — a DC hero who is also a clone — resulting in Spider-Boy.
This character, Peter Ross, is in fact a clone of Peter Parker — who was, in the Amalgam Universe, a researcher at Project Cadmus who was killed in an explosion. The young clone with the power to climb walls is then taken in by General Ross. Ross raises him as his own, but years later, “Uncle Gen” is killed by a mugger. Young Peter Ross is traumatized by his father figure’s death, and decides to take on crime as the superhero celebrity Spider-Boy.
Ever wonder what Spidey’s costume might look like if the colors were reversed? Well, you don’t have to wonder any longer. Meet Web-Man, the Spider-Man clone created by Doctor Doom.
Now, Web-Man was never part of the official Marvel Universe. He was invented for a kiddy Spider-Man comic called Spidey Super Stories, and his origin basically involves Spidey looking into a mirror controlled by Doctor Doom, which then allows Doom to make an instant clone of the web-slinger, but with “none of his goodiness.”
Doom then sends Web-Man after Spidey. Doom then makes a second Web-Man (or “Webby,” as he/they like to be called), who both team up against Spidey, because… reasons. However, when Spider-Man shatters the mirror, both of the Web-Men disappear, and Spidey foils Doom’s dastardly plot.
6. Ultimate Tarantula
And now we dive back into the Ultimate Universe, which has quite a few Spider-Clones of its own, other than the aforementioned version of Carnage.
The Ultimate Clone Saga had the benefit of hindsight, so writer Brian Michael Bendis took an entirely different approach to the concept: this version of the story sees these clones being created not by the Jackal, but instead by Spidey’s archfoe Doctor Octopus, who is hired by the government to create super-soldiers. Otto rather maliciously decides to use Parker’s DNA for the operation, resulting in four Spider-Man clones. One of these is the Tarantula.
Tarantula is one of the earlier attempts at cloning Peter, and is the result of an attempt to bond more spider-like attributes onto Peter’s DNA. Because of this, Tarantula has six arms, black eyes, venomous fangs, organic webbing, and his entire body is covered in spider-like hair. Unfortunately, Tarantula ends up being killed by Doc Ock.
5. Ultimate Kaine
The one clone from the original Clone Saga who made the transition to the Ultimate adaptation was… no, not Scarlet Spider, but Kaine. Like his mainline Marvel Universe counterpart, this version of Kaine also suffered from physical deformities due to that whole growing-up-in-a-test-tube thing, resulting in both skin disfigurement and psychological instability.
This version of Kaine is a bit more delusional than the Marvel Universe version, however. Like many of the other clones on this list, he believes himself to be the one true Peter Parker, and he embarks on a goal to empower his (Peter’s) love, Mary Jane, so that she can protect herself from Spider-Man’s many enemies. Not the worst idea in theory, but in practice, Kaine’s approach is inject Mary Jane with the OZ formula (the stuff that turns Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin), an act which will transform her into a monstrous beast.
4. Ultimate Scorpion
The character above may look an awful lot like the old Mac Gargan Scorpion, a character who kind of sort of appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but don’t be fooled. The Ultimate version of the Scorpion is a Spider-Man clone who possesses some seriously violent tendencies, as well as a giant acid-squirting scorpion tail grafted directly to his spine. Ouch.
Scorpion, of course, is also a result of Doc Ock’s horrific cloning experiments, and he is the first clone that Peter encounters — it’s only after Scorpion gets unmasked that Peter’s face is revealed beneath, in what is certainly one of the worst moments of the Ultimate Spider-Man’s life. After the Ultimate Clone Saga wraps up, Scorpion is taken into custody.
3. Ultimate Spider-Woman
In the Marvel Universe, the true identity of Spider-Woman is Jessica Drew. In the Ultimate Universe, Spider-Woman is still Jessica Drew, but this Jessica just so happens to be a female clone of Peter Parker. Out of all of the Ultimate Spider-Clones, Spider-Woman places the highest on our list.
Spider-Woman is created and grown to be a top secret CIA agent, but she manages to escape before her memories can be wiped out. Spider-Woman rebels against Doc Ock, and then takes Peter’s old “with great power…” philosophy to heart, becoming a superhero in her own right, and an occasional ally to Spider-Man. Later on, she signs up as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She also starts dating Peter’s friend Johnny Storm, a relationship which understandably makes Peter feel a little bit weird.
2. Ben Reilly
There’s no question that Ben Reilly is the most popular character to come out of the Clone Saga. Beloved for his edgy, hoodie-wearing turn as the Scarlet Spider, Ben has almost as many fans as Peter Parker himself. Though the fan base wasn’t too happy about the plot twist that revealed Ben to be the actual Peter — a twist that was soon reversed — the character himself has never lost his cult favorite status.
Fans were screaming for Ben’s resurrection for years, and while “The Clone Conspiracy” turned out to be a disappointing story that completely misrepresented Ben’s character, the hero himself has received a mainstream revival in the last year. If the Clone Saga is ever turned into a movie, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ben will headline the film. And he should. He’s a great character.
Yes, that’s right. Ben Reilly is awesome, but c’mon, Kaine? You just can’t beat Kaine.
Originally introduced as a mysterious villain, Kaine is soon revealed to have been the Jackal’s first “successful” clone of Peter Parker, but one that was deformed by the cloning process and cast aside like trash. Rejected by his “father,” left with no purpose in life, Kaine is filled with rage, and he begins stalking the improved clone who replaces him — Ben Reilly. Kaine spends years trying to “protect” Peter Parker by attempting to murder Ben.
But the reason Kaine steals the number one spot on this list is because of his redemption. Years after Ben’s death, Kaine adopts his once-loathed “brother’s” mantle as the Scarlet Spider, and turns over a new leaf as the protector of Houston, Texas. Kaine being a hero is an uneasy fit, but it’s exactly the sort of uneasy fit that great stories are made of. He’s not the moral, righteous figure that Ben was or that Peter is, and he knows it. But despite his painful past, Kaine tries his hardest to do the right thing, in the best way he knows how. He’s flawed, disturbed, and makes lots of mistakes, but he’s always genuine.
That’s why Kaine is our favorite Spider-Man clone. And as messy as that whole Clone Saga business may have been, having a terrific character like Kaine around makes the entire saga worth it. Kind of.
Any clones we missed? Agree or disagree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments!
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