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Appearing in "Blasts From The Past!"

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Synopsis for "Blasts From The Past!"

The Clone Saga continues from Sensational Spider-Man #0....

J. Jonah Jameson is disappointed with the front page of the Daily Bugle. This edition asks the question "What Happened to Spider-Man?" because the photo that has been used doesn't grab the same sort of attention as the headline. In fact, Jonah thinks the photo is one of Peter Parker's old photos that the Bugle has in the archives. When Jonah asks if Joe has heard from Parker since he left town with his wife to prepare for their coming baby.[Continuity 1] Unfortunately, Joe hasn't heard a word from the Parkers since they left. Getting back on topic, Joe asks Jonah if he thinks that they are dealing with a new Spider-Man in the city. This is because after not being seen for a few weeks, the wall-crawler reappears with a new costume. Adding to the mystery are unconfirmed sightings of the wall-crawler in Portland.[Continuity 2] Jonah begins getting so upset that he pulls out a cigar from his desk drawer. He is about to light up when Joe Robertson reminds Jonah that he gave up smoking cigars. Looking out the window, Joe Robertson witnesses the Human Torch streaking by and realizes that their story has struck a chord with someone else.

The Human Torch also wants to know the truth and as they have been allies for years, he wants to get to the bottom of the issue, particularly since the wall-crawler recently came to his aid.[Continuity 3] To this end, the Torch uses his flame powers to write a message to Spider-Man in the sky, asking the web-slinger to meet with him at the usual place, figuring that if this is truly the original Spider-Man, he will know where to meet him.[Continuity 4] At that moment, at the Daily Grind, Ben Reilly strikes up a conversation with Buzz, a regular patron about the entertainment section of the Daily Bugle.[Continuity 5] That's when his boss, Shirley Washington, jokingly tells Ben not to let Buzz distract him from the job. As Ben begins preparing the next drink order, he thinks about how he has been trying to make a life for himself as Ben Reilly. Even though he discovered that he has been the real Peter Parker and the man who has laid claim to that identity is now a clone.[Continuity 6] That's when another regular, the fashion-obsessed Desiree Winthrop enters the Daily Grind with her friends. The topic of their discussion is the Human Torch's message to Spider-Man that has appeared in the sky. When Ben goes to take her order, Desiree recognizes him even though Reilly has recently bleached his hair.[Continuity 7] As he takes their order, Ben can't help but think about what sort of relationship Peter Parker had with the Human Torch in the five years he operated as Spider-Man, and fondly recalls how they often worked together.[Continuity 8]

Meanwhile, at the Symkarian Embassy, Silver Sable informs the Sandman that the recent crop of new recruits for the Wild Pack have just arrived. As they head for the gym, Sable sends Sandman to confront them, only telling him to go easy on them. Against the Sandman this group of soldiers lasts only fifteen seconds, however, the Sandman assures her that they will be able to last 20 seconds after a few weeks of training. That's when Sable shows Sandman the front page of the Daily Bugle. Although she figures this is just more of J. Jonah Jameson's bluster, she wants to investigate since it would be prudent to learn if Spider-Man has been replaced as he often worked as a freelancer for Silver Sable in the past.[Continuity 9] A few hours later, the Human Torch has decided that he has waited long enough and heads for the Statue of Liberty, in the hopes that Spider-Man arrives for his meeting. As he streaks across the Manhattan skyline, the Torch is unaware that he is being monitored by members of the Wild Pack.

Elsewhere, someone is watching the meeting between Spider-Man and the Human Torch. Shockingly, the Torch tells Spider-Man that he has come to eliminate the wall-crawler and incinerates the masked hero in a flame blast. However, this is nothing more than a simulation created by Mysterio, the master illusionist. He was running a test of the new digital imagery transmission chip that he had recently stolen.[Continuity 10] He is impressed with its ability to create a simulation of any situation down to the minute detail and begins plotting his ultimate goal: the destruction of Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Ben Reilly pays a visit to his friend Seward Trainer. His body is still in a coma since his mind became trapped in cyberspace. He prays his friend will wake up, and promises he will be back to see him tomorrow.[Continuity 11] As he leaves the hospital, Ben laments over the current state of his life and tries to come up with some ideas on what to do next, ultimately deciding to go meet with the Human Torch. Soon, Ben goes down to the ferry terminal to catch a boat to the Statue of Liberty.

Also, there are Silver Sable and the Sandman, who has correctly deduced that Spider-Man would need to take a ferry to Liberty Island and are keeping an eye out for him. Spotting the Sandman in the crowd, and unaware that the former criminal has reformed, slips away to change into Spider-Man.[Continuity 12] Once in costume, Spider-Man confronts the Sandman and Silver Sable. When he refers to Sable as a "blonde cutie", Sable orders Sandman to go all out to test and learn this is the real Spider-Man or another man. Sandman chastizes Spider-Man for disrespecting Silver Sable, pointing out that even Doctor Doom treats her with respect.[Continuity 13] Spider-Man recognizes Sable's name as he once saw her on a late night talk show.[Continuity 14] As the battle rages on, Jessica Caradine develops photos she recently took of the new Spider-Man in the dark room of Centennial University. Aminique, Jessica's classmate, is impressed with the quality of the photos. She suggests that they rival that of Peter Parker's photography of the wall-crawler and suggests that she could sell them to the Daily Bugle for a decent amount of money.

Back at the ferry terminal, Spider-Man continues to evade the Sandman's attacks, suggesting that they stop fighting and talk. The Sandman is willing to do so after Silver Sable gives the word. Observing from a safe distance, Silver Sable wonders has determined that this is not the same Spider-Man she has worked with in the past. Although this one has the same powers, his moves are completely different and is more inexperienced and light-hearted than the wall-crawler she knows. By this point, Spider-Man attempts to web up the Sandman, only to discover that his web-shooters have been jammed with sand. While not far away, the Human Torch has waited long enough and concludes that there is a new Spider-Man operating in the city.[Continuity 15] As he flies back to Manhattan, he spots a disturbance happening at the ferry depot and decides to check it out. Arriving in time to see the Sandman gripping the wall-crawler, the Torch blasts the wall-crawler free and orders the mercenary to cease his attack. Before the fight can begin anew, Silver Sable fires her gun into the sky and announces that the test is over.

Silver Sable has concluded that this is a new Spider-Man and offers him work if the wall-crawler is interested. Spider-Man thinks about how the situation is more complicated than that, as he thinks of himself as the original Spider-Man. Hearing this, the Human Torch is furious that someone else would take up Spider-Man's identity and demands answers from the wall-crawler. Spider-Man gets annoyed, telling the Torch that he doesn't need to explain himself. Frustrated over the situation, the Torch flies off warning Spider-Man that he is going to keep a close eye on him in the future.[Continuity 16] Silver Sable and Sandman also decide to depart. This entire encounter has left Spider-Man beside himself. Things have changed so much, now his old foe the Sandman considers him an ally and an old ally like the Torch now considers him an enemy, it feels like the whole world is upside down.

... The Clone Saga continues in Spider-Man #64.


Continuity Notes

  1. At the time of this story, Peter and Mary Jane left New York. Some facts:
  2. The facts of behind this "Spider-Man Mystery" are as follows:
    • As stated above, Peter Parker retired as Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man #229. However, this hasn't stopped him from putting back the webs one "final" time while in Portland as detailed in Spider-Man: The Final Adventure #14.
    • Ben Reilly remained active as the Scarlet Spider until the Cyberwar story arc forced him to abandon that identity.
    Web of Scarlet Spider #2 Amazing Scarlet Spider #2 Green Goblin #3 Scarlet Spider #2 Spectacular Scarlet Spider #2
  3. At the time of this story, the last time that the Torch and original Spider-Man worked together was in Spider-Man Unlimited #5.
  4. Spider-Man and the Human Torch would often meet atop the Statue of Liberty, a tradition they first started in Strange Tales Annual #2.
  5. The subject of the article was the band Hootie and the Blowfish. This should be considered a topical reference of Earth-616 as they are real-world musicians.
  6. Ben Reilly was told he was the real Peter Parker in Spectacular Spider-Man #226. However, this is a massive deception on the part of the Green Goblin as part of a complex revenge scheme against the real Peter Parker. This scheme is detailed in Osborne Journals #1.
  7. Desiree first met Ben Reilly in Sensational Spider-Man #0.
  8. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 this is an accurate measurement of time between Amazing Spider-Man #149 and this story.
  9. The original Spider-Man worked with Silver Sable on many occasions. She first encountered the wall-crawler in Amazing Spider-Man #265 and hired him for the first time in Amazing Spider-Man #280.
  10. Mysterio stole the DIT chip in Sensational Spider-Man #0
  11. Trainer's mind has been trapped in cyberspace since Amazing Scarlet Spider #1.
  12. As his memories are based on Spider-Man's memories up till Amazing Spider-Man #149 Ben Reilly's not very up to date on Peter Parker's subsequent dealings with the Sandman. The former villain decided to go straight in Marvel Two-In-One #86. He later went into the employ of Silver Sable in Amazing Spider-Man #281.
  13. As stated in Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #45, Symkaria has considered Latveria an ally since World War II. Doctor Doom also maintains a respectful relationship with Silver Sable.
  14. Spider-Man specifically states that he saw Silver Sable on The Late Show with David Letterman. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Since David Letterman retired from the show in 2015. He also wonders if Sable was hired by Armada or his "mysterious employer". Spider-Man battled Armada in Sensational Spider-Man #0.
  15. The original twin towers of the World Trade Center are depicted as part of the New York City skyline here. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The original towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and have since been replaced by the Freedom Tower.
  16. Although they part as antagonists here, the Human Torch learns the "truth" about this new Spider-Man in Spider-Man Holiday Special #1995.

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