The Clone Conspiracy #5 released on Wednesday, closing out the main segment of the epic Spider-Man event. However, the finale left some loose thread dangling, and one may lead to the return of a controversial Spider-Man idea from earlier in writer Dan Slott's run.
SPOILERS for The Clone Conspiracy #5 follow.
The final issue of The Clone Conspiracy brings everything that Ben Reilly – Peter Parker clone and former Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man – had built up in his time as the new Jackal crashing down around him.
While a deadly frequency is killing every clone or human carrier of the carrion virus, including Reilly himself, Reilly is locked in combat with Doctor Octopus, who was returned to life by Reilly's cloning technology and is who is fighting to defend the honor of his love/obsession, Ana Marie Marconi.
Eventually, with the help of Marconi and Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man is able to begin broadcasting a frequency that will cure the clones and the carrion carriers. The frequency should have saved both Ben and Doctor Octopus, but Doc Ock destroys that Webware on Reilly's wrist, the only technology in the laboratory that was playing the frequency. Reilly is stunned at Doctor Octopuses suicidal move, but Doctor Octopus only maniacal invites Reilly to "Melt with me!"
When Spider-Man and Marconi return to the lab they find only piles of dust and clothing that seem to indicate that Doctor Octopus and Ben Reilly both crumbled to death as their clone bodies degraded. However, Marconi notes that the "Ultimate Template," a biologically perfect "proto-clone" that Doctor Octopus had been working on, was missing.
Is this a hint of things to come? Did Doctor Octopus and Peter Parker clone Ben Reilly actually melt their minds together and somehow inhabit a shared body, thus recreating many of the circumstances from Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man comic? Could this be the premise of the upcoming Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider comic book series from writer Peter David and artist Mark Bagley?0comments
ComicBook.com asked Slott about the possibility during an interview. He would only say, " You are going to have to read Amazing Spider-Man #24! Not spoiling that in this interview, sir."
We may not the answer to what really happened to Ben Reilly and Doctor Octopus, but now at least we know where to look for one. Amazing Spider-Man #24 goes on sale Feb 22, 2017.