Spider-Man has a long and convoluted history with clones. Dating back to 1975, Spidey dealt with Professor Miles Warren, aka the Jackal, and his crazy obsession over Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Despite the Spider-Man clone apparently dying, he returned 20 years later in the Clone Saga story arc which resulted in the character taking on the mantle of the Scarlet Spider.
The Jackal has returned, yet again, and is causing more havoc in Spider-Man's life with the current Clone Conspiracy storyline. Several deceased characters have returned, but that isn't much of a surprise in a Spider-Man story. The big shock came when the wall crawler came face to face with the well-dressed Jackal.
Warning: Spoilers for The Clone Conspiracy #3 below.
Prior to this encounter, Spider-Man discovered there were more dangers resulting from Jackal's new breed of clones. The clones require a pill every 24 hours in order to prevent their bodies from decomposing. Some of Spider-Man's allies discovered that clones were created on other Earths across the Multiverse. On these other worlds, the new clones became infectious, zombie-like creatures.
Spider-Man managed to discover the location where Jackal would meet his agents with another dead body to resurrect. The surprise came when Jackal was able to put up a fight and match Spider-Man's speed.
Jackal removed his mask and revealed his true identity: Ben Reilly.
Ben Reilly died in action at the end of the Clone Saga story. As a result of being a clone, his body soon dissolved. Spider-Man questions how Ben could be alive. Reilly's response was he could remember burning away in his arms. Because he was able to come back from that, the possibilities for mankind were big. Anyone could be brought back from the dead with his research, including their dead Uncle Ben.
Scarlet Spider was a fan-favorite character among readers. Writers fleshed him out, giving him his own identity and supporting cast members. He was killed off when a plot point of the Clone Saga dealt with Peter being the clone and Ben being the true Spider-Man. Reilly's death gave closure to the identity confusion.
The big question is: How did Ben return from the dead if he's the one behind all of this? There has to be someone else behind the curtain. Apparently Ben won't think of himself as a villain. Writer Dan Slott mentioned during a phone press conference that Reilly had been the Jackal for years, going back to 2011's Spider-Island arc.
The Clone Conspiracy #3 is on sale now. Questions raised here will be answered in Amazing Spider-Man #22, on sale December 21.
You can read more on Ben Reilly's death here.