Mind Capsules – The Clone Conspiracy #1 and Doctor Strange #12

The Clone Conspiracy #1

Writer – Dan Slott
Artist – Jim Cheung, Ron Frenz
Inker – John Dell
Colours – Justin Ponsor, Edgar Delgado
Letters – VC’s Joe Caramagna

Before Dead No More is finished and thus signals the beginning of Dead No More in The Clone Conspiracy #1 by Dan Slott and Jim Cheung. It begins with the funeral of Jay Jameson, the man having died of natural causes in the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It is a sad affair and Jonah is perhaps a little more upset than anyone and blames Peter for everything. While the book starts off in tragedy, Slott soon transforms it into mystery and finally into action as Peter and Anna Maria try to discover just what it is about the New U technology that sets Peter’s spider-sense off. The investigation eventually leads to New U’s headquarters and it is obvious that simply knocking on the door will not get any answers which is where Spider-Man comes in. As it is, Spidey gets a little more than he bargained for, but discovers just what it is that he was looking for when he sees Miles Warren. Additionally, there is a backup tale which is also by Slott with some wonderful artwork by Ron Frenz. Those who have been reading Spidey’s monthly book will have noticed that Gwen Stacy had returned as well thanks to the Jackal and this second story is all about her and in a very unique way as well. It begins during those last moments of her life and the thoughts that were running through her head and then shockingly, to the moment where she wakes up as if no time has passed at all. It is a story full of sadness and latent anger and it all leads up to the moment when Gwen decided to follow the Jackal with a little surprise thrown in for good measure. If there is one common theme throughout this book it is that factor of surprise and even more so, that dead does not always equal dead. Slott has been crafting a fantastic tale these last number of years and it all leads up to this almost throaway villain – The Jackal, who has been a thorn in Spider-Man’s side for many years and now, he is taking his game to an all-new level. Involving friends and foes alike, the Jackal means business this time and by the end of it all, the way that Slott has been going, there is no telling what will happen. With a cliff-hanger that has been years in the making, Peter is going to have his hands full if he even lives to tell about it, though one thing is for sure and that is the fact that the next issue cannot come fast enough. A great start to the next big event in Spider-Man’s life.

4.5 out of 5

Doctor Strange #12

Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Chris Bachalo
Inker – Tim Townsend, Richard Friend, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba, John Livesay
Colours – Antonio Fabela
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit

For the last eleven issues, Jason Aaron has been describing the cost of magic and then its eventual near-loss which was only stopped by a very inventive and desperate Doctor Strange. This issue begins the rebuilding of it all, but does so with some villainous returns to Stephen’s world and a lot of trouble. The first is the darkness that was locked away in Stephen’s cellar, now going by the name of Mister Misery. The second is Baron Mordo who was shown last issue to be in full command of his powers. This, as we soon learn is thanks to his master, the one and only Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension. Mordo is up to his old tricks again, namely wanting to kill Strange for all the perceived wrongs of the past and it is only by the intervention of another returning villain that Stephen survives at all. While you would have thought that Aaron would have given the good Doctor a bit of respite, he instead continues to throw Strange into the thick of things and now, with the loss of most of his magic and he no longer being the Sorcerer Supreme due to that fact, his survival is no longer a certainty, or at least less than it would have been. What is a little funny is that all those around Strange seem to have more power than he does for one reason or another and you have to think that if this is so, Aaron will not wait too long to get Strange back to the same level he was at previously, if not at least close. Chris Bachalo provides some stunning art once again with quite a bit of help, but be that as it may, the man is defining Strange for a new era and he looks great. Also nice to see are some redesigns for some of the villains, who look just as menacing, if not more so, than they ever did before. The last storyline was quite exciting with the Empirikul and for now they are out of the picture, but this latest entitled Blood in the Aether looks to continue that trend and you could not pick a better time to be a fan of Doctor Strange than right now.

4 out of 5

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