Channel Awesome
Spider-Man: The Greatest Responsibility

Spider man greatest responsibility at4w.jpg

October 25, 2010
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Melodrama about genetics and virtual reality? This can only be the clone saga!

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall's SECOND ANNIVERSARY!

(To an orchestral fanfare and exploding fireworks, the following message appears: "Happy Second Anniversary Atop the Fourth Wall")

Linkara: Yyyeah... no montages this time, though, since the hundredth episode was just last month, and frankly, if I show too many montages, people will start to think I've run out of ideas for episodes. Which is why, instead, we're just going to talk about the Clone Saga! (beat) Wait...

(Cut to a shot of the cover of a Spider-Man comic where he meets the Jackal)

Linkara (v/o): It's time to once again delve into that period of bad stories, confusing revelations, and all-around horrible characterization and plots.

(Cut to a shot of the cover of another Spider-Man comic: "One More Day")

Linkara (v/o): NO, NOT THAT ONE!

(Back to Clone Saga-era stories, showing panels of such)

Linkara (v/o): I, of course, am talking about the Clone Saga, where Spider-Man's clone from a 1970s comes back, and the writers go back and forth, deciding whether or not he's the real Spider-Man. Last year, I talked about "Maximum Clonage", and to today's subject's credit, "Maximum Clonage" was much worse. That was the lowest point of the entire saga, with the possible exception being the very end. Still, today's is pretty stupid, and I need to give a little history lesson on what happened since then in the Clone Saga. It turns out that the Jackal planted a subconscious-commanded Peter – since, again, at the time, he was the clone – to kill Mary Jane after the trigger words, "When the dream ends, the nightmare begins", is spoken. This is the kind of overly dramatic claptrap you'd expect from a B-grade supervillain, not the guy who masterminded hundreds of clones and a subconscious command. Oh, and instead of having a switch flip so that he did something simple like poison her food or kill her in her sleep, he has to go and chase her around the city with the New Warriors in hot pursuit, because at the time, for some bizarre reason, the New Warriors were in the Spider-Man stable of books.

Linkara: Though, to be fair, the story was only two issues long, and while incredibly silly, it did finally put a rest to all the Jackal's crap.

Linkara (v/o): There was also a four-parter, "Exiled", that expanded some more on what happened to Ben after he first believed himself to be the clone. He met with a scientist, Seward Trainer, who became his partner and confidante. He was also briefly kidnapped and attacked by robots bearing similar tentacles to Doctor Octopus, something pretty confusing, since Doctor Octopus was quite dead at the time, killed by Kaine.

Linkara: Yeah, it's important to have an iconic villain killed by the hip new villain who's sure to stick around for years and years! (a shot of Kaine in "Maximum Clonage" appears briefly) Awkward. Let's just dig into "The Greatest Responsibility".

(Opening titles play; title card has Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" playing over it; cut to a closeup of the cover of the comic – the first of three)

Linkara (v/o): Like last year, we've got a story that's split across three titles. First up is "Amazing Spider-Man #406". And we're introducing the NEW Doctor Octopus! Yeah, I'll get to her a bit more in the review. This isn't a bad cover, but a lot of stuff is crammed onto the edges, like, of course, the title, the introducing bit, and an Overpower game card. Overpower was a card game that Marvel had made at the time, and that's all I know about it. And I only bring this up because then I don't have to talk about the comic itself. (the comic opens to the first page) Anyway, we open to Ben Reilly (dramatically) IN CYBERSPACE!

Linkara: Ah, yes, those of you who are really young probably don't remember, but when the Internet was first around in the '90s, people had some very weird ideas of how such things were supposed to work.

Linkara (v/o): Ben is talking to Dr. Trainer.

Dr. Trainer: Aren't you the one who got all excited when I offered you a chance to make a holographically projected jump into cyberspace?

Linkara (v/o): See, I hate to break it to people, but you can't really make a "jump" like this into cyberspace, holographic or otherwise. The Internet and cyberspace in the end are just data and bits of code. There's no place to physically project oneself into.

(Cut to a clip of The Matrix: the scrolling green letter/number-like things)

Linkara (v/o): At best, it look more like it does with The Matrix, with scrolling bits of nonsensical information...

(Cut to a shot of a web of IP addresses)

Linkara (v/o): ...or like a big web of IP addresses.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): What this comic is doing is confusing cyberspace as another form of virtual reality. But even virtual reality is more akin to a video game.

(Cut to footage of Doom)

Linkara (v/o): Sure, you can see what looks like three-dimensional objects, walls or settings, but even those are just bits of coding calling for something that a character can't pass through and accessing a texture file to project an image onto its surface.

Linkara: Why am I bringing this up instead of being funny? Because later on, this is just gonna get darn silly.

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, apparently, in the previous issue, several files that belonged to Dr. Trainer were stolen. Trainer tells Ben that he thinks he can trace where the files went to, leading them to a big, virtual, rectangular door.


Linkara (v/o): Noticing the virtual tentacles attached to the doorway, they speculate that whoever stole the files has someone else tailing them. They decide to launch a probe, which, of course, they can do, because a virtual probe works that way and is attached to the side of Ben's head. However, the probe sets off computer-generated anti-viral programs. These of course take the form of humanoid machines with cyberspace laser weapons!

Linkara: Man, Norton Antivirus is getting serious.

Dr. Trainer: Listen to me-- holographic projections or not... the danger from those things is real! You're alive in cyberspace...

Linkara: Um, no, he isn't.

Dr. Trainer: ...and you could very possibly DIE there!

(Cut to a clip of The Matrix)

Neo (Keanu Reeves): I thought it wasn't real.

Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne): Your mind makes it real.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): You know, I never understood that. Does your brain pop blood vessels in response to the perception of actual harm? I can understand causing death that they're suddenly disconnected from a sophisticated virtual reality setting, where their mind is separated from their body, but come on! Anyway, the attack on Ben short-circuits the interface, which is a lot more believable in how it could kill him, but they managed to get him out just in the nick of time... also blasting out most of Trainer's equipment. And this is what happens when you don't put in surge protectors, kids. We cut to Spidey looking out over the city.

Spider-Man: (thinking) First I find out I'm not the real Peter Parker--but his clone. And I totally lose it. But, hey, I fight my way back. Find a sense of self-worth. Everything looks like it's coming together. Until that psychic "time-bomb" kicks in. Turns out the Jackal programmed me to go nuts. Kill my wife. I end up chasing Mary Jane across half the city.

Linkara: (as Spider-Man) And yet, all my horoscope said is that I'd get a compliment from my boss.

Spider-Man: (thinking) Problem is--I don't know what other programs Professor Warren slipped into my unconscious. Who's to say I won't go psycho again in a year? Or six months? Or tomorrow?

Linkara (v/o): This never stops being ridiculous to me. So, in addition to being a geneticist capable of producing a human clone that possesses all the memories of the original, the Jackal could also manipulate his own genetic structure to make himself super-strong, had multiple high-tech laboratories spanning across New York State, some of which were immense in size, has sophisticated defense systems and holographic floating heads of himself, and finally, also possessed the psychiatric know-how to implant triggers and subconscious instructions?

Linkara: The guy was a freaking college professor! What the hell were they paying him at Empire State University?!

Linkara (v/o): As I said, this story isn't as bad as "Maximum Clonage", and here's one reason why: a heartwarming scene between Mary Jane and Peter. He keeps asking her how she can stand to live a married life with him after all the crap they've gone through, but she says it doesn't matter, that any problems they have can be sorted out, and most especially that they'll live happily ever after, because they deserve it.

(Scowling, Linkara looks toward an image of the cover of "Spider-Man: One More Day")

Linkara: I HATE YOU!!

Linkara (v/o): We cut to the new Doctor Octopus singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" while smashing a random computer console, because, you know, random destruction of your own equipment makes you sinister.

Doctor Octopus: Why do you all such dumbfounded looks on your faces? Haven't you ever heard me sing before?

Linkara: (as one of Doctor Octopus's assistants) Well, yes, but usually, you're singing Pat Benatar.

Linkara (v/o): And here's our first official reveal shot of the new Doctor Octopus... which, of course, is ruined by her appearance on the cover. Nicely done. It's not a badly-designed costume, but I can't help but be distracted by the terrible foreshortening shot here. It makes her look like she's one of the 22 Brides. But hey, I guess she wouldn't be an octopus if all of her limbs weren't ridiculously long. Anyway, the scientists working for her, one of whom is apparently a Conehead, inform her that someone attempted to access their systems.

Doctor Octopus: Ah! You should really try this some time, Brucknerr. Downloading information from the global net--directly into chips implanted in the brain. Quite the ecstatic experience!

Linkara: (as Doctor Octopus) I'm reading blogs while watching three different kinds of porn and pirating video games directly my brain!

Scientist: While working on his genetic research, Trainer did indeed develop a program that allows him to simulate organic matter within virtual reality.

Linkara: Because obviously, genetic research would lead one to discover new ways of interacting with computer programs.

(Cut to a shot of a panel of "Superman At Earth's End", showing a...)

Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?

(Back to the Spider-Man comic)

Doctor Octopus: Not just simulate. These files reveal that Trainer has devised the technology to project actual living matter into virtual reality itself!

Linkara: (holding up index finger) One, why the heck would you want to do that? (holds up two fingers) Two, how exactly does one put organic matter into an environment that, by its very definition, IS NOT REAL?

Doctor Octopus: He's managed to create a stable interface between our world and the world of virtual reality!

Linkara: So have I. It's called a keyboard and a mouse.

Linkara (v/o): Virtual reality is not some parallel universe. This isn't Digimon, people! There is no "world of virtual reality" with which to make the kind of interface you're talking about, lady! Anyway, she rambles some more about how she wants to be the ruler of technology, and wow, she's boring. Oh, and also her evil organization even has its own symbol. I wonder who she subcontracted out to make that octopus thing. And why it has a hole in it. Ben Reilly and Dr. Trainer were able to get some of the files before his computerd exploded, one of which is the organization symbol. You think Doctor Octopus is stationary, with the symbol on it and everything? Maybe a gift shop with the logo plastered on everything? Anyway, Ben is concerned because the files stolen from Dr. Trainer also contained information on the Spider-Man. While Ben isn't concerned about himself, since he has no life to speak of – must spend all his time playing World of Warcraft (a rimshot plays) – Peter has a family on the way who could be endangered. Speaking of, Peter arrives with Mary Jane. They want Dr. Trainer to do a thorough examination of him to see if he has any more secret mental programs from the Jackal. And I've been putting this off, but I have to say it: the artwork on this issue is really amateur. The foreshortening is terrible, and everyone's got huge heads, tiny necks, and massive foreheads.

(Cut to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang, watching This Island Earth: the part where Brack (Lance Fuller) enters the elevator, looking sternly at Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) and Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue))

Linkara (v/o): It's like watching This Island Earth.

Crow: (as Adams) Don't mention his head.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): So, of course, Dr. Trainer begins his examination with the help of SCIENCE! And of course, Peter has to be wearing his Spider-Man shirt for this, because... uh... Anyway, Doctor Octopus has decided to test their virtual reality research in the most silly and nonsensical way possible. She's constructed a generator that sends out VR waves that... I have no idea what the hell they're doing. They're either creating some sort of massive holographic projection of dinosaurs or they're actually altering the fabric of reality by making it match virtual reality.

Scientist: (narrating) Welcome to the Jurassic Age--courtesy of the world's first virtual reality bomb!

Linkara: Please, we all know the first virtual reality bomb was the Virtual Boy. (slaps hands together) Ooh, zing!

Linkara (v/o): However, their little VR waves are unstable, so it returns to normal, raising even more questions about what the hell this is actually supposed to be doing. We then get three pages of M.J. and Peter celebrating because Dr. Trainer told them there were no more implants from the Jackal. Good, now we can finally put "Maximum Clonage" behind us. Back at Dr. Trainer's lab, Doctor Octopus shows up, demanding all of his research on cyberspace.

Linkara: (as Dr. Trainer) Well, okay, but the research kind of got sidetracked when I found some YouTube videos of cats doing funny things.

Linkara (v/o): Ben is, of course, hanging out there because he has no life, and he hasn't changed out of his Scarlet Spider duds the entire time... Dude, take a shower or something! ...and tries to attack her from behind. But she has a force field, and her tentacles allow her to have eyes in the back of her head. She mentions how the old Doctor Octopus was her mentor and friend, and she's made improvements on his original technology, allowing her to kick Ben's ass. The issue ends with Doctor Octopus revealing that she's Dr. Trainer's DAUGHTER!

(A dramatic sting is heard, as we cut to a shot of the cover of the second story)

Linkara (v/o): Next up is "Adjectiveless Spider-Man #63".

Linkara: You know, if none of the other Spider-Man books at the time followed their own plotlines, why don't they just name them all the book?

Linkara (v/o): I can't begin to imagine how anyone followed all this stuff at the time.

(Cut to video footage of Spoony's show, The Spoony Experiment)

Linkara (v/o): It'd be like if I introduced plot elements in my show that somehow ended up on Spoony's show and... Uh, never mind.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the cover isn't too bad, with Doctor Octopus holding up the two Spider-Men over a ledge. (the comic opens to the first page) This issue opens to Peter and Mary Jane in bed. The artwork is improved, but not exactly great, as we see this huge lump of clay that I think is supposed to be Peter Parker. Their baby is starting to kick, and Peter's too excited by this to sleep, deciding to go out and do some web-slinging to burn off some energy. Peter's, of course, over his extreme whining from "Maximum Clonage" and doesn't care that he's a clone since he's going to be a dad. And to show how one writes a good parallel to what's happening in the story, as opposed to most of the comics reviewed in the show, we see Doctor Octopus talking about how Trainer was never a good father to her, despite how Ben sees him as a father figure. Doctor Octopus throws Trainer into Ben and continues her monologuing.

Doctor Octopus: Oh... You want to talk now, Daddy. After all these years you just want to sit down like two calm, reasonable people of science and talk over our differences. Too late for that, Daddy!

Linkara: (as Doctor Octopus) I'm getting a tattoo of the periodic table, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

Linkara (v/o): What isn't well-written is that they spend, like, six pages saying the exact same things over and over: she wants his notes; he says no; she says he was a terrible father; he wants to know where she got the octopus arms. On and on and on! It really just comes across as padding and cliched, though maybe this was fresh in 1995. One thing I will say in the negative about this art is that the action stuff is really badly realized. One panel doesn't flow well from the next. The backgrounds always change, no matter where they are, so it's difficult to tell where they are from panel to panel, or if they're just teleporting. Anyway, Ben and Trainer have escaped from the lab and swung into the city, Doctor Octopus finally catching them on a rooftop. Ben tells Trainer to get away while he fights Doctor Octopus, but sadly, her tech is too much for him. However, Peter shows up and knocks the lady octopus away.

Spider-Man: So what's the plan?

Scarlet Spider: I was thinking maybe... staying alive?

Linkara: (as Spider-Man) Well, you can tell by the way I walk that I'm a woman's man, but how's that supposed to help?

Linkara (v/o): The fight itself is pretty dull, but we do get to see Ben using his head to force Doctor Octopus to retreat, figuring that she's able to use her tentacles to bypass her own force field, and... Well, here's the thing: there are many aspects to any character that people often forget.

(Cut to a shot of a Batman comic, an early one from Detective Comics)

Linkara (v/o): When you think about it, Batman is not only a ninja, a genius, a billionaire, and a scientist of various fields, but he's also a detective.

(Cut to another shot of Batman)

Linkara (v/o): A good writer can balance out these various aspects and make them entertaining, even though one could say it falls into Mary Sue territory.

(Cut back to the Spider-Man comic)

Linkara (v/o): The same goes for Spider-Man. One of the elements people like to forget is that he's a scientist, too. He's the one who built the web shooters and knows how to use strategy to defeat his enemies. A good writer lets Spidey be clever, not just another superhero who uses his fists to end the fight. As much as I bash on the utter stupidity of a villain wanting create virtual reality bombs, whatever happened to weather machine? Weather machines were cool. This sort of story works as a hell of a lot better than others, because it lets the characters act like they're characters, even if the art doesn't make for the most entertaining of rumbles. Anyway, the issue ends with Doctor Octopus getting away. Part two is pretty dull, otherwise.

(Cut to a closeup of the third comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): Part three is "Spectacular Spider-Man #229", which is promised to be a (reads text dramatically) "GIANT-SIZED EXTRAVAGANZA!"

Linkara: (listlessly) It's 39 pages long. That's not giant-sized. It's not even double-sized.

Linkara (v/o): The cover is decent, if a little crowded, with a giant, looming figure of the Scarlet Spider looking out over New York, while Spider-Man and Mary Jane swing away. (reads text) "THE END OF AN ERA..."

Linkara: (as Scarlet Spider) Now ends the era of you puny humans! (throws up arms) Giant-sized Scarlet Spider is your god now!

Linkara (v/o): We open to the two Spider-Men bursting into a random warehouse made out of wood. Seriously, are there a lot of buildings in New York where the roofs are made of pure wood that anyone with above-average strength can burst through? Though, here's the real head-scratcher. This is supposed to be a three-parter, yet part two ended with Spidey swinging off to see Mary Jane, because during the fight, he was starting to realize that if he died, his baby would never know its father. And now we open with an action bit with the two? Where did that come from? Anyway, Spidey almost goes nuts on a guy who asks them not to hurt him because he has a wife and kid at home. I can say one thing about Spidey: it's always a one-track mind with him. Meanwhile, Mary Jane, being a fashion model, is trying on fashionable maternity clothes.

Linkara: Because I imagine the first priority of any pregnant woman is to make sure they still look fashionable.

Linkara (v/o): However, after the shoot finishes, she suddenly collapses and is rushed to the hospital. The doctor talks to Peter and Ben, saying that she's been exposed to microscopic traces of radiation. Peter realizes that it's because of the radioactive spider bite that originally gave him his powers, contaminating him on a genetic level that's responsible for all of this. There's a lot of science there that I'm not an expert in, so I can't even begin to tell you if that's feasible, but then again, this is the comic trying to tell us that virtual reality can be forced into the world with VR waves. Dr. Trainer arrives to help since he thought this might happen. Mary Jane's condition is fatal, but thankfully, Trainer has already prepared an antidote that will be delivered an hour. Of course, for dramatic purposes, we can't have a problem introduced to not be complicated, so it turns out that Doctor Octopus has been eavesdropping.

Doctor Octopus: It was necessary! Thanks to his special security programs, I haven't been able to open many of the files which I recently drained from his computer banks-- and I must have access to all his files relating to the interface which he developed between organic matter and virtual reality!

(Cut to a clip of The Exorcist III)

Lt. William F. Kinderman (George C. Scott): IT IS NOT IN THE FILE! (pounds fist on desk) IT IS NOT!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Doctor Octopus intercepts the antidote and steals it, calling up Trainer to tell him that she'll exchange it for him. The Spider-Men go with Trainer and put a tracer on him so they can track him to the good doctor's base, but sadly, Doctor Octopus anticipated this and has her men take out the tracer. However, they quickly realize that they must have taken him underwater and so go swimming after him, wearing tight spandex and spider-web-made flippers.

Linkara: Just what in the heck is their webbing made out of? It's waterproof, it's solid enough to let them swing on, it's sticky, it can be made into solid objects for remaining relatively lightweight!

Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Trainer and Doctor Octopus are doing what they do best: exchanging really boring and predictable dialogue with one another. He gives away the access codes to his files, and oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: Doctor Octopus is working with some computer screen thing. I don't know if it's supposed to be working from somewhere else or an artificial intelligence, but it's barely worth mentioning. The thing dispatches goons to deal with the invading Spider-Men. Said goons are a bunch of guys in purple who have this to say...

Goon: Rush these clowns! Take them DOWN!

Linkara (v/o): Yes, rush directly at them in a confined space while you're armed with guns and baseball bats, with your eyes closed and grimacing. Thanks, Napoleon. Peter is letting his inner monologue talk about how much he's changed, causing him to once more go nuts on the guards because of what's happening with Mary Jane and his fear for his baby. Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention: Doctor Octopus is now wearing a goofy-looking gold helmet. Look, lady, I thought the purple hair was a little silly, but I didn't mean you should put a Faberge egg on your head instead. And why do you keep getting these low-angle shots of her?

Linkara: I mean, what, is she supposed to be, like, five feet tall and really sensitive about her height or something? It's not making her look any more menacing, comic!

Linkara (v/o): The two split up, and Spidey finds the antidote conveniently placed under a big lamp. Doctor Octopus is also waiting there and engages him in a fight. The Scarlet Spider, in the meanwhile, finds Dr. Trainer, who's being guarded by the computer thingy. Back over to Peter, he finally grills the lady for some info about why she hates Dr. Trainer so much. She says she doesn't really, but he never paid attention to her as a child, blah, blah, blah, cliched nonsense... (suddenly, the next panel shows Doctor Octopus' mouth wide open in rage) GAH, ART ATTACK!! Erm, anyway, as I was saying, the point of this fight is that it's really about Peter, about how he's worried that if he remains Spider-Man, he'll be a neglectful father to his child, like what happened with Trainer and Doctor Octopus. This is a much better way of ending the Clone Saga, with Ben as the new Spider-Man, than (mockingly) "The Jackal trying to unleash thousands of clones to replace the human race!"

(Cut briefly to the cover of this comic again)

Linakra (v/o): Spider-Man has always been more about the human struggle between man and mask, about his responsibilities. It's why this story is called "The Greatest Responsibility".

(Cut back to the comic in progress)

Linkara (v/o): A pity that all this character is kind of easily forgotten because of subpar art and Doctor Octopus' rather stupid goals.

Doctor Octopus: I don't want to think about the painful past! Not while I have such a glorious future! Knowledge is power! Whoever rules the information highway will be the most powerful person on this planet!

Spider-Man: (thinking) Is that her goal? To conquer virtual reality the way petty dictators try to dominate countries?!

Linkara: So... let me see if I've got this straight: Doctor Octopus' end goals are to conquer the world by taking over the (makes "finger quotes") "information superhighway", and she will do this by unleashing bombs that merge virtual reality and the real world?

(Cut to a clip of a Spider-Man cartoon)

Spider-Man: This is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the fight ends with Spidey spinning her right 'round, baby, right 'round, like a record, baby, and tossing her through a wall. This results in a nice, big hole in the wall that causes water to flood in. The room collapses on top of Spidey, with water leaking in as well. If it seems like I'm rushing through all this, it's only because I am. A lot of these three issues has just been fight scene nonsense and dialogue that doesn't leave me much room for jokes.

(Cut to a shot of the climax from "Maximum Clonage", showing Gwen Stacy clinging for dear life to a rope)

Linkara (v/o): Remember how last year I talked about the Spider-Man cliche of throwing someone off a bridge to echo what happened to Gwen Stacy? Well, here's another: Spider-Man buried under heavy things and having to lift it all off through sheer strength of will.

(Cut to a shot of the cover for "The Amazing Spider-Man: The Final Chapter!")

Linkara (v/o): The original comic that did this was glorious and showed the sheer determination and will of Spidey.

(Cut back to the current comic in action)

Linkara (v/o): This is just a carbon copy that lazy writers like to do because instead of creating their own iconography, they prefer to just keep referencing the old stuff. But yeah, much to the shock and amazement of no one, Spidey pushes on through the rubble. Trainer is rescued, and they all meet up back at the hospital with the antidote, curing Mary Jane. And so, our comic ends with Peter finally saying he has to take responsibility for his life and is handing over the Spider-Man costume to Ben. However, Ben doesn't fully accept it since he doesn't feel he's earned it. Buuut he does say he's gonna get a new costume that's a trifle more contemporary, but that's a story for another day.

Peter: (narrating) Mary Jane and I finally have an opportunity to head into the SUNSET...and live HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

Linkara: Yeah, that lasted all of five minutes before someone at Marvel decided to once again screw everything up! (holds up... nothing) These comics... (realizes he's not holding anything) are not that great.

Linkara (v/o): It's hard for me to say that they suck, because they really don't. From a storytelling perspective, they're well put together and accomplish what they set out to do. Character emotions and motivations ring true – save for Doctor Octopus, but this is why you don't screw with the classics unless you truly have something better in mind. And if not for the interference of several factors, this would have served as a decent way to finally put an end to the Clone Saga. The comic's problems are bad artwork, the boring fights, and the absolutely goofy virtual reality stuff that gets explored even more in another Clone Saga story. Speaking of, for those actually interested, Marvel shockingly has been collecting the Clone Saga in trade paperback form. As of this video there are three volumes out, and while it's a little difficult to follow at times, since, hey, it's mid-'90s Spider-Man, the early stories of the Clone Saga were really the good ones. Heck, Marvel even released a six-part miniseries called "The Real Clone Saga", which depicts what they claim to be their original plans for it, but condensed down. While the stupid Jackal stuff is kept, it's pretty damn enjoyable and ends much happier than the real Clone Saga did.

Linkara: But anyway, yeah, after so much excitement, it's been a good year for Atop the Fourth Wall. And here's hoping the same can be said for the coming year. And what better way to look to the future than by starting with the past! (beat) Well, okay, there are much better ways, but the point is, I'll see you all next week for the start of "Secret Origins Month"! (gets up and leaves)

(End credits run)

Have you given thanks to Giant-Sized Scarlet Spider today?

You can pretend that the way to merge virtual reality and the real world was in there, Doctor Octopus, but the truth is that it was NOT in the FILE! It was NOT!

Sadly, I was hoping the Clone Saga collections would be up to this point by now, hence why I didn't have any physical copies of the comics.

(Stinger: Linkara comes back in and leans into toward the camera)

Linkara: Oh, yeah, and because this comic dealt with virtual reality, you all want me to make a joke about this...

(Cut to a clip of VR Troopers)

Ryan (Brad Hawkins): Trooper transform!

VR Troopers: We are VR!

(The gang morphs into their VR Trooper attire)