Spider-Man Is Adding a New Chapter to a Clone Saga Marvel Rivalry

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #78, on sale now.

Both Peter Parker and Ben Reilly's history has had them facing everything from monsters to clones. In that time, each encounter teaches them that no two enemies are alike, and even if they appear similar, tiny differences can make them even more deadly. With Ben Reilly currently saving New York City as Spider-Man, he is about to learn this the hard when a new enemy comes calling. However, this foe's origins call back to another instance where the hero was in the sights of another skilled hunter during the "Clone Saga."

Following his run-in with Morbius in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (by Kelly Thompson, Sara Pichelli, Jim Towe, Nolan Woodward, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Caramagna), Ben finally has some time off to enjoy with his girlfriend, Janine. However, before the issue closes, readers are shown that he's being followed by Kraven the Hunter, who seems confident that Spidey's days are numbered. What makes this appearance such an exciting tease for the battle yet to come is the connection both characters share, even though they've never met.

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For decades, Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, was cursed with immortality after a botched resurrection. Desiring to die, he had cloned sons created to carry on his legacy. However, of the dozens made, only one emerged after killing his siblings for believing they were weak. Kraven would then train this newfound son in his techniques, grooming him to be the one to take his life at the conclusion of the "Hunted" arc of The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, the last son of Kraven has taken his father's mantle and is setting up a clone showdown. However, this new Kraven isn't the original's only son, and a previous fight may be primed to continue in a modern setting.

During the "Clone Saga," Kraven's son, Vladimir Kravinoff, ventured to New York to hunt Spider-Man as the Grim Hunter. However, instead of facing Peter, he crossed paths with Ben Reilly in Spider-Man #54 by Howard Mackie and Tom Lyle. Rather than fight to the death, Vladimir left, realizing he wasn't the real Peter Parker. The two would meet again in Spider-Man #55 by Howard Mackie and Mike Manley, but Vladimir would also have to contend with the more aggressive clone of Peter Parker known as Kaine.

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Unlike Ben, Kaine is more focused on putting a stop to the Grim Hunter because he believes he is the one to kill Mary Jane in one of his many visions of the future. However, Ben's only goal is to stop Kaine from killing, which forces him into a three-way battle. What makes the battle and Ben and Kaine's dynamic so interesting is how they're clones of the same person but have two very different beliefs on right and wrong. The Grim Hunter serves as a great example of these conflicting ideologies because he has the aggression of Kaine but the focus of Ben Reilly. Eventually, Kaine and Vladimir give Spider-Man the slip and find themselves in Central Park, prepared for a final showdown. But, in the end, Kaine emerges victorious, and the Grim Hunter is left to die in the cold, held by his mentor, Gregor.

While this new Kraven the Hunter isn't Vladimir, his origins as a clone and his desire to hunt Spider-Man make him a ghost of the past waiting to strike. Now, two clones stand on either end of the playing field, ready to fight for a legacy that isn't truly theirs. Though he isn't the Grim Hunter, the Kravinoff bloodline will finally give Reilly the attention he's slipped away from for years, and a battle that never ended between them will finally continue.

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About The Author
Nicholas Brooks (1044 Articles Published)

CBR Features Writer Nick Brooks has been writing for over ten years about all things pop culture. He has written for other sites like Animemojo.com and Gamefragger.com. When not writing you can find him with his lovely girlfriend, cooking, reading comics, or collecting any new Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legend, or Transformer. For more of his thoughts on pop culture check out his blog, The Next Panel with Comic Brooks.

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