With all the hoopla surrounding the Spider-Man reboot and the decision to unite the books under one writer, it is easy to forget that current scripter Howard Mackie has been working on the wall-crawler since before the Clone Saga. In an interview published in Wizard #84 (August 1998), Mackie had some interesting things to say about that time. ("It was conceived as a six-month storyline. In. Out. Done. It had a definitive ending and there was a back door. But we encountered problems after the story began...") But he also said, "I realize the Clone Saga sucked, but it was a story. And a story that is now well over. Can't we move on?"
OK, so we've moved on. The new titles debuted over a year ago. With that perspective and with the above quote in mind, I thought it would be fun to compare the storyline that "sucked" and the one to which we've moved. (Clone in bold print, Reboot in italics.) Here's an extremely unscientific examination.
Aunt May is: killed off, born again, and I don't mean she found religion.
Pretenders to the Webs: Ben Reilly in new costume, Martha "Mattie" Franklin in padded costume.
Doc Ock creates: Stunner, Spider-Man.
Enemy Law-Enforcers: Detective Raven, Senator Ward.
Leading to: The Trial of Peter Parker, The Return of the Sinister Six and the revelation that Senator Ward has some kind of weird energy powers.
Unnecessary Spider-characters: Spidercide, the New Spider-Woman.
My how you've changed (men): Kaine, Shadrach.
My how you've changed (women): Stunner, Captain Power.
My how you've changed (world): The virtual world of the Master Programmer, The Perfect World of Mysterio.
More Transformed Villains: Doc Ock becomes the Master Programmer, Crown becomes Hunger.
Weren't you a guy?: Doc Ock II.
Weren't you African-American?: Rocket Racer II
And finally... villains that we thought were dead for almost thirty years, back again and deciding to engage in risky activities completely unnecessary to their plans and well-being: The Jackal returns just in time to concoct a completely ridiculous plan to kill thousands of people even though he could write his own ticket with his successful cloning operations, The Green Goblin takes over the Daily Bugle in his guise of Norman Osborne and yet decides to risk everything in the Gathering of Five ceremony on the 20 percent chance that he will be the one who receives ultimate power. Good thinking, guys!
So, how do the storylines compare? You make the call!