Given a reprieve months ago by the Assassins Guild who agreed to leave Kaine alone in exchange for the former killer doing one job for them in the future, the new Scarlet Spider’s time runs out when he’s contacted with his target – Wolverine. Unwilling to let her friend march into the Jean Grey School School for Higher Learning alone, Aracely dons a her brand new super-hero costume and Kaine trades in a Spidey-stealth suit for his Scarlet Spider costume and heads straight into the lion’s den.
The story works well, as the Guild honestly doesn’t care who wins he fight between Kaine and Logan as long as one of them turns up dead. Aracely’s help gets Kaine through the students (by largely underestimating her own powers) for Kaine’s one-on-one brutal fight with the headmaster that leaves one of them dead on the floor.
Scarlet Spider #17 continues to make use of the fun relationship between Kaine and Aracely as well as the self-deprecating narration of our hero. This issue is full of action as “Red Ninja Spider-Man” takes on Beast, Ice Man, Kitty Pryde, before his fight with Logan. Best of the week.
After the disappointing last couple of issues where the series seem to loose its sense of fun for a far darker turn things pick up when Kaine is dragged to the rodeo against his will by Aracely and his new friends and the new Scarlet Spider is forced into action against a giant drunken lovelorn hero who shows up win back his girlfriend. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds.
Christopher Yost has terrific fun with Kaine’s narration here as his day gets more and more unbelievable. Hell, he’s even forced to ride a horse and try and lasso the out-of-control Armadillo, and he’s left speechless when the scene plays out far differently than he expected.
Aside from the ridiculously awesome circumstances, Scarlet Spider #16 continues laying groundwork for ongoing stories including Kaine finally giving into his feelings for Annabelle, and a dire warning to Kaine to leave Houston which the hero never receives. Hopefully the foreboding won’t infringe too much on the glorious insanity the comic delivers when it is at its best. Must-read.
Thankfully the Kaine evil super-spider creature storyline comes to a quick end with Scarlet Spider #15. By the end of the comic things are pretty much back to normal with the former assassin restored to his human form and still unsure if his new role of hero truly suits him.
There’s plenty of action here, including the Kaine creature ripping off one of the arms of Carlos Lobo in order to save Aracely from the werewolves. It’s a little unclear whether Aracely somehow mystically causes him to revert back to normal or if her words cause Kaine to consciously return to form.
Other than adding new enemies for Scarlet Spider, this short arc merely restated the comic’s main theme (hero or killer) that’s so ingraned in the series it really didn’t need to be reintroduced so forcefully. I’m glad human Kaine is back, but far less sure of the Vertigo-esque path the comic appears to be going down (which, from comic’s last few pages, looks sure to continue in the coming months). Hit-and-Miss.
The Scarlet Spider comic makes a couple of big changes with issue #14, changes I’m not on-board with and hope are temporary. The comic begins with the death of Kaine at the hands of Carlos and Esmeralda Lobo who continue to chase Aracely through Houston. The comic ends with Kaine’s rebirth as something… new.
As Aracely runs across the city and gets a local gang to take on the werewolf siblings on her behalf for encroaching on their turf, Kaine is stuck in limbo talking with Ero who agrees to bring Kaine back to life if he stops acting like a man and embraces his true nature. Willing to risk anything to save Aracely, Kaine agrees to the bargain only to come out of a cocoon looking far more monster than man. My reaction can best be summed up in a single panel.
I really hope Kaine’s transformation lasts only and issue or two as I’m far less interested in reading about a spider-monster assassin than Kaine’s attempt to redeem himself and do honor to the name of the Scarlet Spider. Even a short cameo by Ben Reilly can’t save this one. Pass.
This is a comic about a deranged faulty clone of Peter Parker given a second chance as a hero in Houston by using the moniker of the man he spent the better part of his life hunting and torturing. But Scarlet Spider #13 is where things get a little weird.
The comic returns to the story of Aracely, the telepathic young woman Kaine saved at the beginning of the series. As Kaine systematically works through destroying the human trafficking ring that brought the young woman to Houston those in charge of the operation, Carlos and Esmeralda Lobo, show up to retrieve their property.
Between Kaine taking out the smuggling lowlifes and fighting off the werewolves who have come to collect Aracely (yeah, this one has werewolves) we get a bizarre dream sequences of the telepathic young woman full of Mayan imagery and predestination. But we’ll have to wait at least a month to figure out what it all means and just how a bloodied and beaten Scarlet Spider survives being eaten alive by werewolves. Worth a look.
I put Marvel’s .1 issues in the same unnecessary column as DC’s Zero issues and foil comic covers. Marvel has no problem releasing multiple comics for a paticular title during the same month (hell, it’s become common practice for Marvel NOW!) and slapping a .1 on the cover (which originally meant a reintroduction to the character) doesn’t really mean the same thing anymore because of the sheer number of these the House of Ideas has pushed out.
That said, Scarlet Spider #12.1 is an interesting read. I’d call it a one-shot, featuring Houston’s hero taking on white slavery, but the fact is the comic lays the groundwork for huge changes for our killer turned hero (which, when you think about it, is kind of a dick move for a .1 issue to do).
While tracking a killer whose mark reminds Kaine of his past, the Scarlet Spider takes on the gangs of Houston and The Hand who have shown up to make their presence known in the port city. And, if that news isn’t bad enough for our hero, the Kingpin appears to have major plans for Houston as well. Worth a look.
With the events of Minimum Carnage finally done (and best forgotten) Kaine returns to Houston with plans to throw in the towel, stop playing hero, and leave the city for good. His quick getaway is halted by a drunken slumber (which may or may not have been brought on by the telepathic abilities of Aracely) and his hotel being robbed by a gang of machine gun wielding Santas.
I’m glad to see the comic deal with the events of the (again, best forgotten) crossover and move on quickly with Kaine getting some good advice from one of his new friends and then throwing on his costume to kick some serious Santa Claus ass. It’s also nice to see the comic give us a single one-off story rather that jumping directly into a new multi-issue arc.
The comic continues to tease the abilities of Aracely, play on the guilt of our main character, and provide plenty of opportunities to prove to everyone (including himself) that he is indeed a hero. (And the cover’s pretty cool, too.) Merry Christmas. Worth a look.
“The Second Master” concludes with the Scarlet Spider joining forces with the Rangers to battle Mammon, the monster Roxxon has unleashed while attempting to control an ancient, and sentient, power source that grows more powerful with each human host it takes control of.
Once again writer Christopher Yost and artist Khoi Pham provide lots of action with the smart ass style of humor (Kaine understanding he doesn’t know what he’s doing and plotting Peter Parker’s demise for trying to make him more responsible) we’ve come to expect from the new Scarlet Spider. Although Kaine does a little bonding over the course of the issue, we don’t have to worry about the loner joining the Rangers (or another other group) anytime soon.
The twist at the end involving Zoe Walsh (the woman Kaine saved, slept with, then discovered is all kinds of crazy) is also well thought-out, creating a beautiful but volatile enemy who knows Kaine’s face and has a reason (albeit a crazy-ass one) and near limitless resources to plan her revenge. Worth a look.
Finding himself in the ridiculous position of trusting an obviously mentally unstable woman he saved, then slept with, then learned she created the explosion he saved her from, leads the Scarlet Spider to trespass on Roxxon property and threaten the CEO when a group of heroes show up to stop him. All-in-all, he’s had better days.
Battling the Rangers, Kaine manages to escape with the young woman who convinces him once again that her father is truly up to no good. This leads him to break into another of Roxxon facilities only to find no evidence to support the woman’s claim (cursing his decision to believe Zoe), and once again be ambushed by the now even more ticked off Rangers.
Of course that’s not the end of the story as the ensuing battle uncovers the awful truth about what Roxxon is really up to and creates an unstable new situation the Scarlet Spider and Rangers will have to work together to stop. Here’s hoping the conclusion is filled with as much action and humor as this issue. Worth a look.
Although we don’t get the appearance of Kraven (which was teased last issue) things are hardly quiet for the Scarlet Spider who saves a falling beautiful young woman from an explosion in a high rise only to find out later, while in bed with her (in a terrific opening), that she was the one responsible for the explosion.
The fact that the woman disappears without a trace and the man whose building she blew up sweeps the whole matter under the rug leads our hero to initally try and forget the matter, but (as Aracely points out) he can’t. The Scarlet Spider’s investigation into the company Roxxon leads to the discovery of another explosion in Galvaston which was hushed up months ago.
His attempts to get some answers from the CEO of Roxxon do lead him to the identity of the distrubed young woman but also find him squared off against the Southwest’s mightiest heroes – The Rangers. Worth a look.