[This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Amazing Spider-Man #19 and “The Clone Conspiracy.”]
Things have taken a turn for the weird in the Spider-Verse as of late. After Parker Industries was reduced to rubble, Pete and crew begin to rebuild in the hopes that life can finally return to some semblance of normal. Of course, that’s never a particularly high likelihood in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. The last couple of issues have tugged on some loose threads, bringing the yawning mouth of “The Clone Conspiracy” ever closer.
After tragedy struck for both Hobie Brown (Prowler) and Max Dillon, the original Electro, could things possibly get any worse (or weirder) for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Apparently so.
As Amazing Spider-Man #18 further unfurls the Jackal’s nefarious plan, we also discover that Doctor Octavius is still alive and kicking - sort of. The final issue of the lead up before the latest clone saga finds Aunt May holding on to her husband, J. Jonah Jameson’s father, by a thread. In addition to shattering the family and angering his uptight uncle-in-law, Jay’s passing also gives Spidey’s genetically inclined former professor another major card to hold. As if a baker’s dozen of villains (except for Wilson Fisk) on Spider-Man’s back isn’t bad enough, it appears his beloved Uncle Ben could return to life in an unholy manner.
During a recent panel on Marvel’s Clone Conspiracy the New York Comic-Con (via Comic Book), one astute fan posed the Ben-return question to Spider-writer Dan Slott and editor Nick Lowe. The centerpiece of their argument is a certain variant cover released by Marvel recently. In it, the web-head wrangles with several villains, while simultaneously a group of (presumably) revived individuals saunter over the horizon. In the middle, a figure whom many – including the studious fan – take to be Peter’s uncle leads the pack. In response to the fan’s question, Lowe returned with an exaggerated (and possibly facetious) answer:
"We could never bring Uncle Ben back! That would be CRAZY! Fans would kill us!"
Hyperbolic or not, even a slight possibility of Uncle Ben’s return won’t sit well with many Spider-fans (later in the event, one web-head even pleaded with Marvel: “Don’t bring back Uncle Ben. Please.”) Throughout his history, Peter Parker has lost many friends and family members, including his sweet Aunt May (it didn’t take), Gwen Stacy (ditto until recently, again), and his on-again-off-again friend Harry Osborn (don’t ask). However, Uncle Ben is one of the few members of the large cast of characters (and in Marvel’s vast stable) who hasn’t returned from the dead so far – Doctor Strange visions and alternate universes notwithstanding. He’s even the sole remaining deceased member of the Big Two's big dead three (Bucky Barnes, Jason Todd, and Ben Parker) – characters who weren’t supposed to get another shot at comic book life.
Given the overall importance of his uncle (and his death) in the Spider-Man mythos, it would be surprising if the House of Ideas resurrected Ben Parker, even as an altered clone-resurrection creation via the Jackal. However, his semi-return would be a powerful tool to explore Peter’s life and what it means to be a superhero. It would also be a fantastic way for to lord power over Spider-Man – especially if, as postulated, the Jackal knows exactly who’s beneath that mask. Of course, a lot of clever research and some resemblance in promotional artwork don’t mean that Uncle Ben is coming back from the dead.
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"The Clone Conspiracy" #1 arrives in stores and online on October 12, 2016.
Source: Comic Book, Marvel