Spider-Man: Dead Man’s Hand Review

I was just tinkering with some ideas and thought it was high time we covered this retcon of a retcon of a retcon

01

Story

In a laboratory, some scientists burst in on one of their peers who is on fire, as is the corpse he was examining. He disappears into thin air.

Peter Parker for his part is getting introspective although MJ helps bring up his spirits. Peter learns that someone might be copying the actions of his old enemy Carrion. Originally Peter believed Carrion to be a clone of Miles Warren/the Jackal, but later found out he was actually just someone mutated into the hideous corpse-like form by a virus Warren created.

After a tip from Robbie, Peter goes to check out the apparent copycat. At the scene he finds ‘Carrion’ controlling an army of mindless zombies. Carrion disappears and Spidey tries to subdue the zombies.

S.H.I.E.L.D. then shows up and knocks the zombies out before telling Spider-Man Carrion is really Doctor William Allan. Allan transformed into Carrion after he was exposed to the Jackal’s corpse (he seemingly died back in Maximum Clonage Omega) and has been spreading this zombie disease far and wide, creating more and more zombie victims.

 

The Tinkerer then appears and demands to see his son who is one of the previously mentioned victims. However he promptly teleports away when S.H.I.E.L.D. tell him they’re not responsible for what has happened to his son. Spidey follows Tinkerer and persuades him that they are on the same side. With Tinkerer’s help Spidey is then transported to the High Evolutionary. He tries to convince him to help, but the Evolutionary feels it isn’t his problem and transports Spider-Man back home.

Spider-Man figures out that Warren’s old journal (which the High Evolutionary edited to convince the world Warren hadn’t created any clones) might hold the key to saving the people Carrion infected. He has the Tinkerer deliver the journal to S.H.I.E.L.D. whilst he goes to fight Carrion and his zombies at the Empire State Building. Allan’s mind and that of Miles Warren’s are in conflict but ultimately Spider-Man defeats Carrion.

Later the High Evolutionary shows up, having found a cure to the disease Carrion was spreading. Somewhere in all this we learn that the first Carrion (from the 1970s Bill Mantlo stories in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man) was a clone of Warren after all.

 

Review

 

This story is something of a companion piece to the Osborn Journals one shot insofar as they both exist to tidy up some loose ends hanging over from the Clone Saga.

Does it do this well? Kind of.

 

The story moves at a nice pace and isn’t dull exactly so much as it is…pedestrian. What really elevates it though is the really good art by Darrick Robertson and Dan Lawlis. It’s not the best thing Robertson has worked on in regards to Spider-Man but it’s still good.

The explanations and retcons flying through the air require you to really sit down and think about it for it to work. I fully expect that given the time you or I could figure it all out, but for now the basic outline is this.

Miles Warren created clones using knowledge gleamed from the High Evolutionary. The first Carrion was a clone of Warren that was altered and was supposed to release the Carrion virus we saw in Maximum Clonage. That clone was awoken too early and died. The second carrion was not a clone it was a genetic virus which transformed people into a creature which looked like Carrion, had Carrion’s powers and had Warren’ memories. So…Warren could clone people AND had a genetic virus I guess. I don’t know. It’s confusing but the issue unto itself isn’t as convoluted as other stuff in the Clone Saga.

 

What is most interesting though was the fact that we saw the Jackal’s corpse burning, to put him to rest permanently. Spider Island obviously changed that though it’s one retcon I don’t mind because Warren sending a clone of himself into battle makes sense. So I can buy that the Jackal who died in Maximum Clonage was a clone (Hell it makes his plan make a bit more sense).

 

The Tinkerer’s involvement was surprising, though I guess it was logical given that it was just there to serve the needs of the story, and he is technically speaking a classic Spider-Man villain.

 

Overall I don’t have too much to say about this. The only thing which stands out is the fact that a pivotal scene occurred on the Empire State building which is where in the Clone Saga proper Aunt May revealed she knew Peter was Spider-Man and where the Jackal convinced Pete to join forces with him. It’s a deliberate yet nicely subtle reference for the story if you pick up on it.

 

Beyond that, this is just kind of there, you don’t have to read this but there isn’t really much wrong with it, either. It exists to perform some clean up duty and it does so…mission accomplished.

 

B-

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Author: Alex Evangeli

I’ve loved Spider-Man, Spider-Girl and the Clone Saga since I were but a wee lad living in the United Kingdom. Glad to be here!

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Profile photo of Alex Evangeli

Alex Evangeli

I've loved Spider-Man, Spider-Girl and the Clone Saga since I were but a wee lad living in the United Kingdom. Glad to be here!

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