Review: Scarlet Spider #1

WTF this book was really good! Why didn’t any yell at me to review this book? Okay for starters I liked the “Clone Saga”, so eat shit if you didn’t. That clusterfuck mess they made was well thought out and if they had stuck to their guns we wouldn’t have had “One More Day.” If anything OMD was just part two of the “Clone Saga.” That was Marvel’s first attempt at resetting Spider-man, but it didn’t work because the fans hated it. This was back in the day when Marvel listened to the fans. At any rate this is not the same Scarlet Spider that spun out of the clone business only to be pushed aside and never used. That really caught my attention quick. The story opens up with a deal going down on the docks of Houston and narration of who we think is Ben Riley. He talks about a drunken man that’s lead him there and who he plans to rip off. Soon enough the Scarlet Spider is beating the shit out of criminals and ready to scoot with their money. That is until he hears a grasshopper chirping on a shipping container. He decides to check it out even though he’s not sure why. Instantly upon opening the door he smells death and decay as the container is filled with dead illegal immigrants. He throws up and wishes he had never opened the door until a small hand reaches up from the dead. He digs out a little girl and rushes her to the hospital.

Scarlet_Spider_Vol_2_1_2nd_PrintingThere he drops her off and screams for assistance. A cop that’s there for another case instantly gets in his face and pulls his gun on him. He doesn’t take kindly to that and web shoots the gun out of his hand then picks the cop up one-handed. He tells him where to go for the bodies and then takes off leaving the girl with the doctors. With his stolen money he stays at a top of the line hotel for the night and splurges on everything the bribed hotel staff can cook him. After a long shower he comes out and cuts his beard and hair off revealing the face of a healed Kaine. He was once a villain for the Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man and is the first true clone of Peter Parker, but more of a failed super powerful version.

Jaws drop and we’ll see you next time! Not really because this issue is double sized and worth the money. The story goes on and we see just how different Kaine is from Peter. The first thing is that he’s not afraid to kill, but something has been telling him not too lately. I really enjoyed the inner workings of Kaine as he’s not trying to be Peter Parker and yet still finds himself in these situations where he can play the hero. Hopefully Yost keeps the balance of Kaine discovering himself and what he wants to do with the powers and doesn’t force him to just follow Spider-man’s path. I think it would be very interesting to see where this goes if Kaine continues to make his own mistakes and have his own agenda. Also kudos to Yost for getting him out of New York that place is still crowded with costume loons! What happened to the Initiative program huh?

The art is great. I loved it and felt that it complimented the story very well. I do wish that they had left Kaine with the beard and long hair as that made him really stand out from Peter. Giving him a clean shave and crew cut just makes it seem like he’s trying to be Peter, rather than being his own man. At any rate, Ryan Stegman has a fresh style and take on the spider powers. I loved the addition of actual spiders thrown into the mix and just the movement of the story and action. There were still some classic Spider-man poses in the book, the over the top legs above the head type stuff, but it was tolerable. Stegman’s style is very clean and detailed and easy on the eyes.

I have to say I was really surprised by this book and I’m looking forward to the next issue. This is in fact the first Marvel title that I’ve been excited for in a year and hopefully they don’t screw it up. If it stays in this bubble away from the rest of the Marvel Universe and especially the Avengers and Spider-man then it has the potential to be really, really good. It’s so good and I really enjoyed reading a Spider-Man-esc book again and actually liking it. They may have changed the Scarlet Spider and totally fucked up Peter Parker, but I’m really like this new take on what’s become a throwaway character.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Christopher Yost Artist: Ryan Stegman Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/11/12