Spider-Man: The Trial of Peter Parker
October 27, 2014
The trial of the century! ...Or at least it would be if they ever SHOWED it.
Harvey: Is there something wrong with the portal?
Dr. Linksano: There is... a disturbance within it, as if a large force will be–
(He is interrupted as a Cybermat enters. They stare at it, then at each other as they realize something is up. Suddenly, Linksano and Harvey get zapped. One version of Pollo enters the area)
Pollo: Portal secure on the other end. Advance.
(The various other versions of Pollo and Eliza the Lizard enter the portal as well)
Eliza: (to one of the versions of Pollo) Are they...
Pollo 1: No.
Pollo 2: It would appear the information we gathered from the Linksano android was accurate.
Pollo 3: The inhibitor will disable the King of Worms's control over them. And if we're wrong, the reprogrammed Cybermats will keep them at bay.
Pollo 4: Beginning a distress signal from Linkara.
Pollo 5: Primary body located. The King of Worms affected repairs in an attempt to get past our programming. He failed.
Pollo 2: Contact restored, and it will be rejoining us shortly.
Eliza: It's really weird seeing you all talk like that.
Pollo 3: We are a group of robots sharing a single consciousness fighting alongside robotic silverfish and a foam toy brought to life through science.
(Meanwhile, the Harvey robot sneaks up behind the group and tries to attack, but one of the Pollos shoots at his arm cannon, destroying it. Then the Pollo shoots at Harvey, knocking him down)
Pollo 6: Normal is relative.
Pollo 4: No distress signal found.
Pollo 6: Eliza, I suggest we split up and begin a search of the immediate area.
Eliza: What immediate area? Everything is white.
Pollo 2: That's because your eyes are not designed to see the things my eyes are seeing.
Pollo 6: In which case, stay here and guard the portal.
Eliza: I'm on it.
(The Cybermat and Pollos starts making their across the area while Eliza stays behind. We then cut to Linkara in his darkened room)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, (spreads arms out excitedly) WHERE IT'S OUR SIXTH-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!
(Cut briefly to a message reading, "HAPPY SIXTH ANNIVERSARY – ATOP THE FOURTH WALL". Triumphant music plays while a fireworks display is shown in the background)
Linkara: Seriously, how am I getting that fireworks clip to play while I'm in here? (shakes head) Erm, anyway, as is tradition, it's time for another Clone Saga review and our continuing coverage of Judas Traveller, the most worthless Spider-Man character ever!
(Shots of the Spider-Man "Clone Saga" series are shown)
Linkara (v/o): I mean, for crying out loud, even Kaine – Kaine, with the most generic villain name ever made, he has come back in recent years and taken the name "Scarlet Spider". I actually started reading his solo series right before it was canceled. It was actually pretty good. Think about that: Kaine, the Spider clone who didn't even get to have a spider-based name, was worth bringing back, but Judas Traveller is as forgotten as the new Doctor Octopus and her virtual reality crap. Speaking of new characters, today's review covers a storyline that takes place directly after last year's "Crossfire", separated only by an issue focusing on the (dramatically) NEW HEROIC GREEN GOBLIN!
Linkara: He lasted about a year, did some other stuff in civilian form, and apparently had a mental breakdown and became a villain. (beat) As you do.
Linkara (v/o): That's what happens to secondary hero characters that nobody cares about, really. They just get turned into villains, making what few villains they did have pissed off. But anyway, yeah, no new backstory to cover here, except for the fact that in that in-between issue, Mary Jane sewed up a new Spider-Man costume for Peter, so he's out of the Scarlet Spider duds, and Ben Reilly is currently in prison, awaiting trial for crimes Peter Parker allegedly committed.
Linakra: So let's dig into (holds up hands) "The Trial of Peter Parker" and see just how much more useless some of these characters.
(AT4W title card has "Shama Lama Ding Dong" by Otis Day and the Knights playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the first issue's cover)
Linkara (v/o): We start things off in "Web of Spider-Man #126".
Linkara: You know, I'd really like to know where the hell they think of the titles of these spinoff books. Despite that title, this comic is not about Spider-Man's webs!
Linkara (v/o): We open with–
Linkara: (holds up index finger) Wait! It's a Spider-Man book; you get one guess about what he's doing. Say it with me, kids... (holds up hands and dances in places childishly) Spider-Man swinging around the city! (rolls eyes) You know, it's a good thing his webs dissolve after an hour. Otherwise, by this point, New York would be (makes "finger quotes") "the web of Spider-Man".
Linkara (v/o): Peter is doing his standard shtick of telling the audience what's been going on as of late, but I've already covered that.
Spider-Man: (narrating) Just when I thought my life couldn't get any weirder.
Linkara: What does it say about Peter Parker's life when the Clone Saga is not the most pants-on-head crazy thing that's ever happened to him?
Linkara (v/o): He specifically says he needs to find Kaine, whom Ben Reilly suspects is the real murderer. Fortunately, this is the land of plot convenience, so Kaine jumps out of nowhere and attacks him without setting off his Spider-Sense, which I suppose is because Kaine is a clone of Peter, which doesn't really make that much sense, since it's not like the Spider-Sense works by detecting DNA or something.
Linkara: Come to think of it, how does the Spider-Sense work?
Linkara (v/o): Although, I should note that this is the storyline that reveals that Kaine is a clone, so SPOILERS! ...Spoilers of a thing I already talked about in previous Clone Saga reviews – of a storyline that's twenty years old. Erm, anyway, Kaine's attacking Peter for getting himself into all of this, even though by doing so, he makes it so Peter can actually find him. Uh-huh...
Linkara: It's a rare occasion when the villain could have won by simply doing nothing.
Kaine: Your mistake was involving yourself in matters that don't involve you!!
Spider-Man: Don't involve... YOU FRAMED ME FOR MURDER!
Kaine: Reilly, Peter-- I framed REILLY!!
Linkara: (as Kaine) I framed the guy who shares your DNA and fingerprints that the world at large doesn't know exists! (beat) Okay, upon reflection, that was kind of a stupid plan.
Linkara (v/o): And so, the two of them fight, and we get really exaggerated fight choreography. You gotta love the massive punch downwards that sends Kaine flying up and backwards.
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The She-Creature)
Mike: Space is warped and time is bendable.
(Cut back to the comic)
Spider-Man: Now let's talk about that confession I'm about to beat out of you...!
Linkara: Superhero comics, where that is apparently acceptable in a court of law!
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of, over to the trial. While Ben is narrating to himself more backstory about how it's all his fault that this crap is happening, the prosecution is making its opening statements.
District Attorney: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as District Attorney, one of the functions of my office is to bring to justice those individuals who ignore the rules and regulations set down by our society.
Linkara: Oh, now it's our society! When we bought it, (points to camera) it was your society!
D.A.: To make these people answer for their crimes against others... and against society as well.
Linkara: (as D.A.) One would think that my job would be really damn obvious to the people on the jury, but I guess it isn't, which is why I'm rambling.
D.A.: It's a responsibility I take very seriously.
Linkara: (as D.A.) Despite the terrible suit I'm wearing.
D.A.: Because I don't believe that we should have to live in fear of those who act on their most primal urges...
Linkara: He's right. I do live in fear of people who will just defecate in the streets.
D.A.: I'll apologize to you in advance for the evidence and lurid photographs you, as the jury, will be forced to look at.
Linkara: (as D.A.) But I really feel you guys need to see my boudoir shots. They really turned out sexy.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, back over to the fight.
Kaine: Don't fool yourself, Peter!! You'll get no cooperation from me!!
Linkara (v/o): Aaaand double exclamation points for no reason.
Kaine: ...Not on Reilly's behalf...! And while the order of events did not occur as I had originally planned-- I will be very happy to watch as Reilly is handed the death sentence for the grisly murders he committed... no matter what name he's convicted under...
Linkara: (as Kaine) Despite the fact that your name will be forever tainted and you'll never be able to be yourself for the rest of your life, even though I have nothing against you, and in fact have gone out of my way to make sure nothing bad happens to you! (beat) Man, I suck at this!
Linkara (v/o): I mean, this is stupid enough on a number of levels, not the least of which being this trial is being held in New York, despite the murders he was accused of having happened in Salt Lake City. I don't know, maybe they mentioned estradition in an earlier issue, but I don't think they really cared, since they needed Peter and Ben in New York for them to be able to do their switch. Secondly, it'd probably be easy to prove that Peter was not in Utah at the time. Even forgetting him being Spider-Man, he has a day job and people who see him regularly, so the evidence would have to be planted. Plus, he has no reason or motive to go to Utah to murder people he's never seen before. And the fact that Kaine, who has this hate-on for Ben Reilly but wants Peter to be happy, doesn't see the inherent problem with Peter's name going through the mud before he's potentially put on Death Row?! Kaine is supposed to be mentally unbalanced due to being a failed clone that degenerated partially, but this isn't crazy, this is stupid! But whatever. We've got four issues to cover, and this is the least of the storyline's problems. Anyway, some more banter from Spidey.
Spider-Man: Yeah, well, you're talking about a friend of mine, Kaine... and you're going down to that courthouse to confess, even if the only mode of transportation we can find for you is my FISTS!!
Linkara: (as Spidey, making punching motions) Exact... change... only!
Spider-Man: I don't think you realize how much I respect you, Peter-- how I admire your fierce determination-- your fortitude--your ability to drive yourself to triumph!
Linkara: (as Kaine) I love you, Peter, but I love Stalin more.
Linkara (v/o): (chanting to his "padding" chant from the Alone in the Dark review) Fighting, fighting, fighting! Fighting, fighting, fighting! (normal) Kaine respects Peter by beating the snot out of him, but over to something else: Detective Raven, the guy investigating the murders, whom you might recall from last year's story when he appeared for, like, two pages. He's convinced now that Peter was framed by Kaine, but of course he doesn't have any evidence of that. Instead, he's waiting outside the courthouse, hoping for Kaine to show up at the trial... along with Stunner. I honestly cannot remember if we've talked about Stunner yet. Stunner was Doctor Octopus' girlfriend, Doctor Octopus himself having been murdered by Kaine. Long story short, she's a virtual reality avatar somehow projecting into the real world from the mind of another woman. And man, comic books are weird. But yeah, she's allied with Raven to get revenge on Kaine. She's also often drawn with terrible body proportions and spine-twisting, but considering her body there isn't supposed to be real, well, congratulations, comic, I can't really fault you there. Back over to the trial, Peter's attorney is making his opening statements, and he's... Wwait, Judas Traveller? Er, Father Time? Er, or is that Deathstroke?
Linkara: There are far too many comic book characters with gray hair and goatees.
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, his opening statement is far better than the District Attorney's. While all the D.A. did was spell out his job description, Peter's lawyer works on stating that they've got the wrong man and that the jury won't live with themselves if they convict the wrong man. Aaaand then more fighting. Seriously, this goes on for several pages. And to be fair, it's a really damn good brawl, but at the same time, the dialogue is just repeating the same points: "I don't like Ben Reilly." "Ben Reilly is a good guy." "I really like you, Peter." "Eat my spider fist!" Blah, blah, blah, blah, blaaaah! Raven and Stunner arrive. And take a good, long look at that costume, people: the mismatched sides; one leg getting a boot that goes all the way up her thigh, while the other looks like it's a sock with ankles thinner than her wrists; spiked armbands; boob socks, with each breast larger than her head, of course; and hair that swishes and sways and just won't quit. L'Oreal, because she's worth defying physics. However, before Stunner can try to kill Kaine, someone teleports into the alley... aaaand back to the trial. The defense ends their opening statements, and the prosecution calls to the stand... MRS. MARY JANE WATSON-PARKER!!
(A dramatic sting is heard as Linkara looks up in open-mouth shock. Then he becomes confused)
Linkara: Wait, wait, wait, wouldn't they have had to submit a witness list beforehand, and therefore they would know about this? Why did they look so shocked?
Linkara (v/o): And so, the first part ends with the reveal of who teleported in: Judas Traveller. Because that's what we wanted to see in "The Trial of Peter Parker". He teleports Kaine and Spidey away, saying he "has need of them." Oh, but here's where we decide to turn this whole "trial" thing into a complete and utter farce.
Announcer: The trial of Peter Parker may be underway, but in Amazing Spider-Man #403, the trial of Spider-Man is just beginning! And with Traveller as Judge, Kaine as Defense Attorney and Carnage as Prosecutor, you can be sure it ain't gonna be a fair trial!
(As we cut back to Linkara, Vivaldi's "Four Seasons (Spring)" plays in the background)
Linkara: (posh voice) Welcome, my friends, to (The following words pop up...) "Stupid Ideas Theater". On today's episode, Spider-Man is put on trial, with Carnage as his prosecutor. We begin with "Amazing Spider-Man #403".
(Cut to the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): And the cover to it is quite okay, signifying something less stupid than what we actually get.
Linkara (v/o): Remember that Batman: The Animated Series episode, "The Trial", where Batman is chained up and put on trial by all the inmates of Arkham Asylum? Remember how that episode was really good? Yeah, this is nothing like that.
(Cut back to the Spider-Man comic cover)
Linkara (v/o): Although, the cover certainly wishes that was the case, what with Carnage about to bang a spiked gavel right on top of Spidey's head. By the way, this comic is basically a ripoff of that episode. It had come out a year before this comic saw print, and it's the same idea: Traveller is putting Spider-Man on trial for creating the supervillains he fights.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): But let's get on with it. Traveller stands on a giant court bench, with the jury made up of members of the Ravencroft Institute's inmates and some supervillains like Shriek, and Dr. Kafka and John Jameson are in the very tiny defense table, if Kaine's size is any determination, while Carnage stands nearby and Spidey is in the middle of the room.
Dr. Traveller: Will the defendant please rise and face the court?
Linkara: What are you objecting to? That he's going to stand up? And wait, he's already standing! Why is Traveller telling him to rise?!
Dr. Traveller: Mr. Prosecutor-- restrain yourself please. Or I will have you ejected from this courtroom.
Carnage: My... apologies, Your Honor.
Linkara: Aaaand Carnage is playing along with this why? His entire shtick is anarchy and opposing authority rules and establishments. Yet he's deferring to Traveller? This is really dumb!
Linkara (v/o): Why is Carnage, of all people, even the prosecution? The only thing I can gather is because Carnage was still a very popular villain at the time. Most information I could get on the Clone Saga comes from the "Life of Reilly" essay and interview I've talked about before, and this entire "Traveller putting Peter on trial" thing is glossed over in favor of other stuff that happens in this storyline.
Spider-Man: (narrating) Carnage as a prosecutor? Doctor Kafka and John Jameson at the defense table with Kaine? A jury composed of Shriek, Chameleon, and the other Ravencroft inmates-- sitting in judgement on me? Lewis Carroll couldn't have dreamed up a more absurd scenario!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of the animated Spider-Man series)
Spider-Man: This is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot!
(Back to the comic again)
Dr. Traveller: When I first came to this august institute-- I found an irrational hatred of you to be the one common thread linking the minds of these lunatics incarcerated here. And so I return here now to explore a similar--yet profound-- question...
Linkara: (as Dr. Traveller) Who put the "wham" in the "shama llama ding dong"?
Dr. Traveller: Are you, Spider-Man, by your very existence, somehow bringing these entities... these so-called super-villains... into being?
Linkara: Well, technically, yes, because, as a fictional character, there wouldn't be supervillains opposing Spider-Man if there was no Spider-Man to oppose, and as such, there wouldn't be a story to have and... You're not even going for the meta-fourth wall breaking idea at all, are you?
Linkara (v/o): Kaine's not taking any of this crap and leaps out at Judas Traveller, complaining about how he'll never understand how brave and decent and valorous and super awesome Peter Parker is, and how he totally wants to do him... Or since they're clones, is that masturbation? ...and tries to use his "Mark of Kaine" face-scarring thing on him... but it has no effect. Instead, Traveller just grows to giant size and holds up Kaine... which I'm beginning to wonder if that's the inspiration for that awesome Smoke and Mirrors trading card I've talked about before. Two lame characters inspire something for much better ones. I like that.
Dr. Traveller: Judas Traveller serves no one... answers to no one... but himself.
Linkara: Oh, yeah? Then who gave you your doctorate?
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, Kaine agrees to defend Peter in this mock trial. Traveller tells Carnage to call his first witness. Naturally, he calls himself.
Spider-Man: (narrating) Terrific. The only thing that's missing is the Queen of Hearts screaming, "Off with his head!"
Linkara: I can get behind that. A good decapitation might improve the story.
Linkara (v/o): We head on over to the trial where Mary Jane is taking the stand and answering questions– (stops abruptly and stammers briefly) Wait... Wait a second! She's actually testifying?!
(Cut to a brief clip of the video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, showing the title character shouting...)
Phoenix Wright: OBJECTION!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): As Peter Parker's wife, she enjoys spousal privilege! That means she is under no legal obligation to testify against her husband! What's more, why the hell was the prosecution calling her?! This idiot was rambling earlier about what his job is, but apparently, he forgot that his job is to supply evidence of the crime, not bring in people who are actively opposing your evidence! This is a person who has every reason to lie, even under oath, to protect the man she LOVES!! Argh! The prosecutor questions her about a period two years ago where he went missing. In canon, it was during a storyline called "Kraven's Last Hunt", where Kraven the Hunter literally buried Peter alive for several days. Naturally, Mary Jane doesn't want to reveal him as Spider-Man, so she stumbles with the answer.
Mary Jane: He... He was away on... personal business, Mr. Tower.
Mr. Tower: I suppose committing murder could be labelled "personal business."
Linkara: (holding out arms, incredulously) Um... Objection, Your Honor?! Anything?!
Linkara (v/o): But nope, Peter's lawyer just decides to let this crap keep going.
Mary Jane: My husband is not a murderer. He's as good and decent a man as ever lived-- and nothing you say can change that, do you hear me? Nothing you say can--
D.A.: The court isn't interested in your biased opinions concerning the defendant.
Linkara: (incredulously) The D.A. apparently has never heard of character witnesses! (shakes head) You know, if you're writing a story about courtroom drama, maybe you should actually know something about the law! Or at least have watched a few episodes of Law and Order!
D.A.: That will be all, Mrs. Parker.
Mary Jane: But--
D.A.: That will be all.
Linkara (v/o): Um, cross examination? Hello?! Defense lawyer man?!? Geez, where did Peter find this guy? He couldn't have called Matt Murdock? Or She-Hulk? Or hell, I know it's a different universe, but Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, would be better defense attorneys than this clown. Back over to the Traveller monkey trial, Carnage claims that Spidey is responsible for him being a psychopath because he brought the alien symbiote to Earth, which created Venom and then spawned off his symbiote. Kaine naturally calls bullcrap since Cletus Kasady was a serial killer even before he got the costume, which Carnage denies. Aaand Kaine leaps over to him and uses his Mark of Kaine touch on Carnage's face. So, if we're going by real trial rules, the defense attorney just literally assaulted the prosecutor and a witness. You know, Peter, at this point, Professor Bobo would make for a better attorney than Kaine.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, showing Mike on trial)
Professor Bobo: (to the judge) Your Honor, I would like to call to the stand right now a little... Amish boy.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): A fight breaks out, and Peter thinks how the two killers are similar, but senses a better spirit inside of Kaine. But enough foreshadowing there; Traveller breaks up the fight, and Carnage calls his next witness: a guy connected to Carrion, a villain who's connected with the Jackal, but honestly, it's not important here. The point is that Carnage knows that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are the same person and starts laying out how Peter destroys everyone around him.
Carnage: The man is a psychic magnet for tragedy!
Linkara: Well, the deranged psychotic mass murderer with an alien costume isn't wrong there. But then again, I suppose a broken clock is still right twice a day.
Linkara (v/o): Peter is pissed off about all this and breaks free of his shackles, telling Traveller that if he wants to kill him, just do it already, or at least wait until he can get Ben Reilly out of jail. But Traveller's not having any of it, telling the jury to just skip to the end and declare a verdict. Naturally, it's guilty. After a quick detour to Stunner and Raven to remind us that they still exist, we see the villains preparing to execute Peter. However, Kaine leaps into the fray and defends him, once again talking about (melodramatically) oh, how perfect he is and super-awesome and full of goodness and decency and...
Linkara: Okay, now this really is masturbation, since technically, Kaine is talking about himself, too.
Linkara (v/o): All the villains disappear in the fray, Traveller having returned them to their cells. Traveller reveals that he did all this because he was confused by Peter's selflessness from the "Crossfire" two-parter and wanted to know more about him through the fact that someone so lost and corrupted like Kaine was willing to sacrifice himself to save Peter.
Dr. Traveller: I find you not guilty of all charges, Spider-Man. My investigation is concluded-- for now.
Linkara: It's not over. Carnage can file for appeal due to the interruption by the judge after he rescinded the jury verdict.
Linkara (v/o): Kaine and Spidey find themselves on a street again, but before they can do anything else there, Stunner attacks. However, the issue doesn't end there. Instead, Traveller has to go and erase Carnage's memories, as well as the memories of everyone else involved, so that Peter's secret identity can remain, well, a secret. However, despite all the idiocy of that trial, we still have the real trial to get back to in Part 3... and that trial seems to be even more idiotic.
(Cut to a closeup of the cover for the third installment)
Linkara (v/o): The cover for "Adjectiveless Spider-Man #60" promises "The Face of Kaine"... as well as both Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider swinging towards him. Spoilers: Ben Reilly might be in this, but the Scarlet Spider costume never makes an appearance. Also, the sun is exploding with our bright orange sky and bizarre orange buildings at the very bottom of the page. Also also, nice butt, Kaine. You work out? We pick up where we left off: Stunner wanting to kill Kaine, Spidey wanting to keep Kaine alive to prove Peter Parker's innocence, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. When the fight is over, Kaine still continues to refuse to help Ben Reilly.
Kaine: And even as beaten up as I am... I can still defeat you.
Spider-Man: You're probably right. I probably don't stand a chance. But then again...
Linkara (v/o): Aaaand one punch knocks Kaine out, although what's more impressive about it is that Spidey clearly wasn't even looking at Kaine when he did that. Nice. Spidey carries Kaine's body off to the trial. Speaking of...
Linkara: (as D.A.) That's what I'm in the mood for!
D.A.: Coldly and premeditatedly carried out... The brutal scarring of the victims... The state has presented you with the evidence. You have heard from all the eyewitnesses... You have lain eyes upon photographic evidence of the victims' remains...
Linkara: (frustrated) But we haven't! What the hell?! Did we skip the entire trial?! In a story called "The Trial of Peter Parker"?!?
Linkara (v/o): Opening statements, questioning of Mary Jane that should not have happened, then closing statements?! And this is a "meanwhile"! Did the trial only take an hour?! How long has Peter been in the fake trial with Judas Traveller?! And they were all apparently the real people, since he needed to wipe their memories later! Have they all been gone for days and weeks?! Murder trials are not over and done with in one day! What can you say about the creators who don't know anything about the trial process in a story about trials?!
(Cut to a clip of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
General Chang: You were incompetent!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Spidey arrives at the courthouse with Kaine, informing him that they're gonna march right into the court and tell them what happened.
Linkara: Because that will certainly prove effective: a masked vigilante that many people believe is a criminal dragging another known criminal into the courtroom, who then refuses to admit to his murders. That sure is how the law works.
Linkara (v/o): Although, I'm really curious how the defense attorney is doing in there with his closing statements.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Justice League)
The Flash: But first, I'd like to say a few words about... about habeas corpus.
Linkara (v/o): Kaine wakes up and breaks free of his bonds.
Kaine: The truth? The TRUTH? No... I don't think you really want that!
Linkara: (listlessly) Because he can't handle the truth? Just say it. You know you want to.
Linkara (v/o): Surprisingly, no, they don't go down that road. Instead, their fight takes them inside of the court. The judge naturally calls for a recess while this is dealt with, and more fighting and arguing between Kaine and Spidey follows, with Kaine saying that Peter doesn't know anything about who he is and why he's been trying to help Peter. And as such, he finally takes off his mask to reveal himself as a clone, with a nice veiny scar right across his face and his lip pulled down, too. You'd think that'd cause issues with him speaking. In fairness, I do actually like the idea of Kaine as another failed clone. It was explained in the "Life of Reilly" interview that Kaine's abilities are just extensions of the regular Spider powers. His "Mark of Kaine" is an enhancement of his ability to stick to walls, the precognitive visions he would have are an evolution of his Spider Sense, he's got even greater strength and agility than Peter, etc. However, as I've said before, the problems are that he's an idiot, his appearance and name are very generic and unimaginative, and ultimately, he suffers the same problems as every character in the Clone Saga at one point or another. Woe is me! Not that the people don't have legitimate reasons to complain, but that doesn't make for compelling drama when they just won't SHUT UP ABOUT IT!! Anyway, Peter feels sorry for the murderer, since he's still a good person, but he has to help Ben escape from his potential fate. As such, Peter decides to reveal his identity in the court and talk about this whole mess to try to finally sort things out, regardless of the consequences. Naturally, Kaine won't stand to let Peter's life be ruined like that... (low voice) Again, didn't seem to stop him when Peter Parker was put on trial for murder... (normal) and instead confesses in the courtroom that he committed the murders to frame Peter Parker, using his Mark of Kaine on a table to reveal his fingerprints that he altered to resemble Peter's. However, Kaine's still a douchebag when it comes to Ben Reilly, so the issue ends with him leaping at Ben to try to kill him.
Linkara: You really got to imagine how confusing this whole thing must be for the poor law student in the back of the courtroom who was just trying to do a case study for a class.
Linkara (v/o): We end with "Spectacular Spider-Man #226", whose cover is nice and simple, with Scarlet Spider versus Spider-Man, promising the revelation of who the real Spider-Man is. And of course, things go off the rails right from the first page, with terrible scratchy inks and dark brown, murky coloring. Ach! I will never understand how this happens in the editorial process, that people actually looked at this page, or this artwork in general, and said, "Yep, this looks good!" Several cops pile on Kaine to try to stop him, but Kaine defeats them with the power of crotch thrust. Ah, the Die Hard maneuver. I mean, I guess, anyway; that's the best I can figure out with this artwork. Also, his cape is now torn and barely covers his shoulders. When did that happen? And now it's time for more of Spider-Man's physics-defying punches. This one appears to have Spidey running at Kaine and punching him so hard that he ends up behind Spider-Man. However, the fight finally comes to an end when Detective Raven holds a gun to Kaine's head. Recognizing the guy, Kaine surrenders, but thinks to himself that he can escape anytime he wishes. I also noticed that, like, all of these cops have very large assault rifles and shotguns. I can understand maybe not wanting to risk accidentally hitting a civilian, but I would have thought they'd all be cleared out of here by this point. And so, the charges on Peter are dropped, which leads us over to the Daily Bugle, where everyone is celebrating the fact that Peter was exonerated. Hell, even J. Jonah Jameson celebrates privately.
Linkara: (as Jameson, holding index finger and thumb close together, as though holding a cigar) An evil clone of Spider-Man was responsible? Ha! Not surprised at all! Although, "evil Spider-Man" is a redundant statement.
Linkara (v/o): And then over to the Jackal. As a reminder, this takes place before "Maximum Clonage", and we're also seeing Spidercide working for him before he got his own costume, which, ironically, despite this clone being a shapeshifter, he still had a costume more like Spider-Man's than Kaine. And then over to Kaine in the interrogation room, where he's making an official statement about his various murders. And of course, he still has his mask on. I'm guessing, at this point, with as many superheroes-as-villains running around, that's just standard operating procedure now.
Linkara: You'll also notice that this is part four of "The Trial of Peter Parker", we're less than ten pages into this finale... and the trial is over. There have been more scenes of Kaine and Spider-Man hitting each other than there have been of the titular trial.
Linkara (v/o): But of course, the issue is not over yet, though I'm gonna give you the Cliff Notes, since it's all stuff we've covered in other Clone Saga reviews. Basically, everybody is happy in the Parker household. Peter's acquitted, and Ben can move on with his life without always looking over his own shoulder with all the crap that happened with Kaine. But then Ben's pal, Dr. Seward Trainer, calls in to suggest that Peter might be a clone. So they perform lots and lots of tests and reveal that his is a clone and Ben Reilly is the real one. Dun-dun-DUUUUH... Yeah, it's complete bullcrap. They retconned it later that Norman Osborne screwed around with the results because the guy is a dick. What bugs me about this, though, is the way it's presented. Peter has spent this entire storyline standing up for Ben Reilly; talking about how he's his friend and comrade; about how noble of a guy Ben is, too, for being willing to take his place in jail; and immediately Peter thinks it's all a scam by Ben and Trainer, thinks the absolute worst of them for the mere suggestion. And then the stupid narration has to try to spell it out for us because subtlety was as rare as good artwork when it comes to the '90s.
Narrator: Once again, Peter Parker is on trial for his life... and the lives of those he loves! And this time a final verdict must be reached and rendered-- without prejudice-- or any hope of appeal!
Linkara: (exasperated) Stop trying to justify your stupid titles! You had the trial! If you couldn't deliver on it, just make this the epilogue of the story instead of another part of it!
Linkara (v/o): And yeah, Peter immediately starts a fistfight with Ben about this, claiming he's trying to steal his life and has just been manipulating him. What a crock. I mean, yeah, I can see how this would be emotionally devastating, but it's just an excuse to shove in an action scene when it's not necessary, not helped by the piss-poor artwork that looks depressing and half-finished. Aaaand here's where we come to a controversial part: Peter starts choking Ben, and Mary Jane runs over to stop him, but in his rage, Peter backhands her. Naturally, this caused some controversy at the time, though honestly, I'm not too upset about it. Dude was acting like a raging lunatic and didn't realize what he was doing. I'm more surprised the baby survived her getting flung halfway across a room. Peter, naturally upset about what he's just done, runs off into the night. And so, our comic ends the Jackal, naked for some reason, setting up the events of "Maximum Clonage", which was still considerably worse than this story.
Linkara: I have reached a verdict... (He takes out a scrap of paper and looks at it closely, then looks up, frustrated) THESE COMICS SUCK!
Linkara (v/o): Aside from the fact that the trial itself is so badly handled in all the scenes we do see of it, the crap with Judas Traveller and the faux trial with Carnage is so unnecessary and intrudes on this whole thing to prove nothing except that Kaine wants Peter to be happy, which we already knew about! It doesn't advance anything except that Judas Traveller yet again tries to convince us we're supposed to take him and his stupid two belts seriously. And then of course, there's the trial of Peter Parker itself, which consists of opening statements, the prosecution questioning one witness that should not have been on the stand, and then the prosecution's closing statements. That's it! For crying out loud, The Trial of Billy Jack had more trial scenes than this! The writing is redundant, and the fights, while pretty epic at times, are really just padding this to four parts. The artwork is mixed at best, with lots of overblown shots of punches and twisting and turning and saying entire monologues while performing a single action. The larger controversy that spawned from this story, aside from Peter striking MJ by accident, was the revelation of Peter being the clone. It was a decision immediately regretted by the editor, and many other writers didn't like it, primarily for the same reason the audience didn't: the implication that, for the last twenty years, they have not been following the real Peter Parker. How do I feel about it? Well, while I understand the anger, at the same time, what bugs me about stories involving clones is how characters are so quick to disregard them as people because of the nature of their creation, ignoring the fact that they're STILL HUMAN BEINGS. They've blood and flesh and feelings of their own. They're still people! And while you can try to argue that all the mistakes Peter had made before the Clone Saga started were the result of him not being "the original", that's naive at best. He still had all of the original's memories and feelings. He had the same experiences and beliefs to draw on as Peter. He was Peter Parker, and I honestly doubt things would have been in any way different if they had been in the other's shoes. And frankly... yeah, I'm perfectly okay with Ben being the original and Peter the clone. The idea was to let Peter and MJ have a happy ending and retire with their child, and a new Peter Parker could come in and not be married, and we wouldn't have to deal with "One More Day" several years later. It's not like he'd have to permanently be Ben Reilly. The audience would get fickle, and knowledge of the Clone Saga would fade from the minds of everyone, and Ben would be Peter again, only mentioning the clone stuff later for the occasional continuity nod or in-joke for the longtime readers.
Linkara: But that's just my own feelings on the matter with the benefit of hindsight. You're free to have your own thoughts on it that differ.
(Suddenly, Pollo speaks into Linkara's communicator on his wrist)
Pollo: Linkara? Linkara, can you hear me?
(Smiling, Linkara looks into his communicator)
Linkara: I read you, Pollo. Go ahead.
Pollo: We have arrived in the King of Worm's realm. Are you all right?
Linkara: I've been better. I'll start transmitting a distress signal in a minute. Home in on that, and get ready with guns blazin'!
Pollo: On it.
Linkara: And make sure you have a way of transferring out. I have a feeling our assault is not gonna go as well as we'd hoped.
(Suddenly, the room is bathed in light as a door opens, revealing Jaeris wearing a platinum mask)
Jaeris: The King has ordered your presence. You will accompany me.
Linkara: And no room service before the end? (takes his coat) I must say, this has been one of the worst hotels I've ever stayed in.
(He gets up and walks out of the black area. He is escorted by Linkara to the King of Worms, pushing buttons on his communicator, readying the upcoming attack. Eventually, Jaeris stops and shoves Linkara rudely in front of the King. Linkara is annoyed by the rude behavior. He adjusts his coat and turns toward the King)
King of Worms: Are you sufficiently prepared, human?
Linkara: Why do you ask me that when you're just gonna do this regardless of my answer?
King: Your discomfort may make this probing more difficult.
(The screen distorts with static briefly as the King stares at Linkara. This happens on and off as the King and Linkara speak)
King: If I push too hard, you may become damaged and the information I want... lost.
Linkara: So I can say, "No, I'm not ready for this"?
King: No, I just needed to know how hard to push it first.
Linkara: Well, before you do begin, Your Majesty, (holds up communicator to launch the signal) I have something to say to you–
(But before he can push the button, the King reaches out a wire that catches Linkara by his neck)
King: Humans chatter so much. I can see your fears, human. I can lighten your fears. They are... small.
Linkara: (choked voice) All I was going to say...
King: Silence! Now, what is your secret?
Linkara: ...was that (holds up communicator) you really shouldn't have let me keep my equipment.
(He pushes a button on his communicator and a force field appears around him. The King is repelled by this. The Pollos spot a beeping)
Pollo 1: Position located. Advancing on target.
King: What was that? Speak!
Linkara: (taking out his magic gun) Just a little force field, Your Highness.
(He fires his gun at the masked Jaeris, who falls over. The King looks to see where Jaeris fell, as Pollo comes up)
Linkara: And a little distress call! (calls out to the army of Pollos) PARTY TIME, EVERYBODYYYY!!!
(Linkara fires his gun at the King, while the Pollos all shoot their weapons at the King as well. But the King holds up his arm to block the attacks)
King: Your arrogance and presumption would be amusing if they were not so pitiful.
(He deflects the robots' attacks back at them. Linkara's magic gun blast hits him, too, knocking him down)
King: You are only human. I am a king. I am a god! (Linkara looks up weakly) Now, human, it is time to shred your soul and know your secrets!
(Clutching his head, Linkara screams silently as the King of Worms probes his soul. There is a bright flash, and we see as the King looks through Linkara's soul, seeing the various villains he has had to combat over the years before suddenly stopping when he sees an image of the Plot Hole. Suddenly the scene changes to show Linkara preparing for a review, in just his white button down shirt and pants, as he checks the camera and script. Suddenly Linkara stops what he is doing, looks up to see he's on camera, and starts laughing. Then a version of Linkara appears dressed in his vest and tie speaking gibberish as another Linkara laughs in the background, which turns into an insane cackle. Suddenly Mechakara appears)
Mechakara: Those who are dead are not dead...
(The vested Linkara begins to cackle as well)
Mechakara: (screaming) WE ARE INSIDE WITH YOU! YOU WILL NEVER GET AWAY! YOUR PAIN WONT END!
(As Mechakara continues, the montage continues as images appear of Linkara being killed by Vyce and Jaeris before Harvey and The Entity (possessing 90s Kid) start laughing, too. Suddenly, the Entity stops laughing and glowers at the camera. Then we cut back to the King of Worms, who recoils in shock and horror at what he found)
King: (screaming) NO! IT CANNOT BE! IT CANNOT BE! (Linkara, clutching his head in pain, looks up to see the King writhing in pain) I DID NOT KNOW, PLEASE! I DID NOT KNOW!!
(Sensing the King is weakened and distracted, Linkara grabs his magic gun)
(Linkara fires his gun at the King and the Pollo army fire their beams at him as well. The King flails around as he is fired upon, exuding large quantities of blood in the process)
King: THERE'S NO FEAR! I NEED HELP!
(The King falls over, his mask falling off before he disintegrates. The mask lands on the floor, blood trickling from the left eye socket before also disintegrating)
Linkara: (dazed) Whoo...
(He falls over, exhausted. We then cut back to Linkara's home, where he puts a Pokeball on the shelf)
Linkara: (sighs) Well, all in all, that could've gone worse.
Harvey: "Could've gone worse"?! Some robot's been walking around (points to his face) with my face for a year doing my concerts! The rest of us got masks shoved on our faces! I can't even remember what happened!
Jaeris: Well, it's probably for the best. On the plus side, there don't seem to be any linger side effects from fancy headgear. And the King of Worms is dead.
Eliza: I'd say that's score one for the good guys myself.
(The Cybermat beeps. Then Allen walks out)
Allen: Which I and my superiors seem inclined to agree. We're just happy that the King of Worms is dead.
Linkara: And I'm assuming your robot duplicate didn't cause any trouble?
Allen: They figured out he was an android pretty quickly. We have protocols for this sort of thing.
Linkara: The government has protocols for dealing with androids?
Allen: Of course we do. We're the government. They kept an eye on him, they didn't let him in on anything too important, and he didn't try to circumvent anything. Looks like he was just around as an additional spy on you. He dropped dead as soon as the King of Worms went down. Now I get to go home and get a nice, long debriefing.
Linkara: Well, you have fun with that.
Allen: Oh, I will. And they want you to make a full report about it, too.
Linkara: I think I liked fake you better.
Allen: Accept no substitutes. (walks off) I look forward to hearing your report. Toodles! (leaves)
Harvey: Well, I suppose I should just look on the bright side. (looks at broader-brimmed hat) This is a very snazzy hat that my twin had.
Linkara: Still, in the end, Anti-Entity tech did in fact work. Remind me to thank Vyce after we find him. And before I exile him again.
(Then Dr. Linksano comes into the room, with blood on his gloves and a worried expression on his face)
Eliza: Whoa! Are you okay?
Dr. Linksano: No. No, I-I-I am not.
Linkara: What's up?
Dr. Linksano: I, um... I just finished the autopsy for the King of Worms.
Harvey: Do I even want to know what's under the skin of a monster god from another dimension?
Dr. Linksano: Well, to answer that, just... organs. You know, standard-issue organs, some I didn't recognize, some more complex and semi-mystical. Just overall, not all that much different than any other living creature. It did not take me long to figure out its biology.
Jaeris: Then why do you look so spooked?
Dr. Linksano: Because... in discovering its biology, in studying its anatomy... I discovered something.
Linkara: What? What did you find?
Dr. Linksano: Linkara... our weapons didn't kill it.
Dr. Linksano: You didn't even singe it.
Linkara: Then what the hell did kill it?
Dr. Linksano: I'm... not entirely sure. My best guess, given its anatomy... the equivalent of a heart attack. A panic-induced one, born of absolute dread and fear. It was literally scared to death.
(Linkara, Jaeris and Harvey look around in confusion and fear)
Linkara: But... if that's true, then... what frihgtens a god?
(The screen turns blue, revealing it's being shown on a screen, which is then turned off. The screen belongs to Lord Vyce)
Vyce: The answer's staring them in the face and they don't know. You have overestimated their skill. I could have slain the King of Worms in a single strike. Instead, just like the King, they are letting their own fear control them. I say we attack now, get it over with, and put an end to all of this.
(The person he is addressing steps up: 90s Kid, still holding the Absent Grimoire)
90s Kid: Patience, dude. You, of all people, should know not to wig out about these things. (flips through pages of the book) When the time is right, we will strike. Hopefully, they'll stand with us and not against us.
(To a dramatic sting, the screen goes black, and the end credits roll)
Doctor Octopus has died at least three times in comics. The only people who die and come back more than superheroes are supervillains.
Unlike previous storylines, the King of Worms arc isn't based on any particular franchise.
Well, except for the cybermats that are the property of Doctor Who, I guess.
(Stinger: A snippet of Linkara's battle with the King of Worms is shown, as Linkara holds up his magic gun)
Linkara: Just... (he drops his gun accidentally) Just dropping my gun.