Scarlet Spider #1


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Scarlet Spider #1


  • Words: Chris Yost
  • Art: Ryan Stegman
  • Inks: Michael Babinski
  • Colors: Marte Garcia
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 11, 2012

Chris Yost gives Kaine a violent and dark debut as Scarlet Spider.

The Scarlet Spider makes his return to comics, but this time it’s Kaine under the mask instead of Ben Reilly. The name of the game for Chris Yost’s debut issue is “different.” He has slightly different powers than Spider-Man: night vision, no spider-sense, and webs that come out of his arms instead of web-shooters. But what really separates this man from the original is his attitude: he was born as a pawn in the Jackal’s sick game for power, and now that he is out on his own, he is struggling to understand his violent nature and find a purpose for his life.

For example, when Spider-Man sees an old woman walking out in front of a van, he would swing in and carry her off to safety, make a silly joke, and then continue his day saving people in need. When Kaine is put in that situation, his solution speaks volumes about his mindset. Instead of removing the woman from danger, he lands on the hood of the van and crushes it. The woman got saved, but it came at the expense of the van and the man inside it, who flew out the windshield and sat writhing on the pavement covered in blood and glass. If Yost succeeded in anything this issue, it was showing that his protagonist is brash, violent, and perhaps mentally unbalanced.

Does this make Kaine a likable character? After one issue, it is hard to say, but the best part about Spider-Man was always Peter Parker, the down-on-his-luck jokester. Kaine is a mentally deragned clone who is humorless and aggressive, which are usually traits for a villain. Whether Yost can make his character relatable or engrossing enough so that it does not matter will be the true test of this title.

For such a hardcore character, Ryan Stegman offers some slightly cartoonish pencils for this story. His work is of sound quality, but a few more hard lines and rough character designs would go a long way to sell the downtrodden, brutal story of Kaine. One of his signature moves is to scratch thugs across the face, so a more serious visual tone is needed to sell that as cool and not silly. Stegman does get big props for displaying the opening credits during the introductory scene like a movie. With this new title refreshing an old character, more unique images like that will only help to give it its own unique style.

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