Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Hero for Houston

A Hero For Houston
Review of Scarlet Spider #1 & 2
By: Andrew Hines

Let’s take a jump into the Marvel Universe. We will begin in the middle of what I like to call the Spiderman Family’s tangled web. From 1975 to 1996, there was an overly convoluted mega storyline, which came to be known as the Clone Saga. From this, came two particular members of the Spiderman Family: Ben Reilly and Kaine. Ben was the good clone, who dyed his hair blonde to distance himself from Peter Parker and became the web-slinging hero Scarlet Spider. Kaine, the scarred and degenerating evil clone often battled his “brothers.” Unfortunately Ben died at the end of a 4-part epic in 1996, when the Green Goblin’s glider impaled him, thus ending the run of the Scarlet Spider. This past year, we found Kaine getting a second lease on life after his degeneration was reversed and his scars healed. He also seems to have gained some semblance of a conscience and created his own spider costume.

Now on the run from a legal system that barely knows of his private existence, he was headed for Mexico before he landed in Houston, Texas. He now has a new look and a new identity as the Scarlet Spider, Houston’s own costumed vigilante. A man who never asked to be a hero, Kaine discovered a human-trafficking operation. After nearly killing the men responsible for the smuggling of these people, he managed to save the lone survivor, a young woman named Aracely. At the end of the first issue, it seems Aracely’s life may come back to haunt her and Kaine as a deadly new enemy, the Salamander makes himself known. Scarlet Spider must now embrace his new life with “all the power, none of the responsibility” that comes with membership in the Spiderman Family. Now with this newest threat, he must continue to fight his killer instincts. With the lives of everyone in the hospital at stake, he must fight for their lives as well as his own.

Writer Chris Yost may be best known for co-creating the female Wolverine clone, X-23 and co-writing the current X-Force title. He brings his clone knowledge to the table and pumps the “awesome” dial up to 11. Yost puts two decades of Clone Saga into two pages of comic book goodness, though there’s also a better history in the back of issue 1. Using Peter Parker’s voice as Kaine’s new moral compass, there could be no better explanation for his sudden bout of conscience. As mentioned, he even gives the new Scarlet Spider something and someone to fight for in the form of Aracely, the young woman he saved in the first issue. This is a wonderful jump into the realm of arachnids for Mr Yost.

Ryan Stegman does a wonderful job as the first artist for Scarlet Spider. He brings both humanity and an impressive flair to the pages. Despite the fact that some of the pages are a little cluttered, we as the readers get a greater sense of action than most Amazing Spiderman books can give us. Likewise, he gives the Salamander a more menacing light than most Spiderman villains, short of Venom or Green Goblin, generally get. From Stegman’s artwork, we don’t just see Peter Parker with a buzz cut. You see a man truly attempting to find a way all his own and actively living for the first time in his life. By their powers combined, Yost and Stegman earn a 9.4 out of 10 for the first two issues, though officially just the second.

Cover of Scarlet Spider #1:

Cover of Scarlet Spider #2:

No comments:

Post a Comment